18 Habits of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
Habit #1 – Self Awareness
Over the next 18 weeks, we are excited to introduce 18 habits that separate emotionally intelligent leaders from the rest. These habits fill the gap between mediocre, good, and great leaders.
Let’s dive in.
Habit #1 – Self-Awareness: Strive to learn and master emotional triggers – we all have them!
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness refers to the ability to introspectively recognize and understand oneself—your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, behaviors, and characteristics—as a separate and distinct individual. It involves having insight into your own mental and emotional states and recognizing how you perceive yourself in relation to others and the world around you.
Self-awareness encompasses two primary aspects:
Self-knowledge: This involves having a deep understanding of your own personality traits, values, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. It involves recognizing your emotions and being aware of how they influence your thoughts and actions.
Self-reflection: This aspect involves observing and examining your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an objective and non-judgmental manner. It involves taking a step back to evaluate yourself, your actions, and your experiences, gaining insights and learning from them.
We’ve heard the research. Most leaders believe they are self-aware, but in reality, they are not. And it is easy to understand why. The level of introspection required for true self-awareness is not easy to achieve. To completely complicate matters, it also requires a desire for extrospection.
Why is Self-Awareness Important?
When leaders lack self-awareness they:
1. Fail to recognize their personal triggers, allowing themselves to continue reacting to the triggers that can stunt the growth of any team.
2. Struggle to communicate in a way that will achieve the desired outcome. Communication challenges such as lack of listening or failure to develop a culture of inquiry becomes accepted and expected.
3. They have difficulty building trust with the team. When people don’t trust who you are, they will not perform at their best.
4. They resist growth. They believe their current state is the destination. It often sounds like, “I’m fine. Or, I don’t need coaching. Or, we don’t need this training.” This mindset fails to recognize the immense value inherent in seeking to move beyond what we “know.”
Read on to view strategies for improving self-awareness.
In the spirit of never sharing a challenge without offering a solution, here are some strategies to consider in striving to improve self-awareness.
This video-based solution comes from our program, The Leadership Mentoring and Coaching Academy, Module 7 – Emotional Intelligence.
The Academy offers a self-paced, virtual learning program. Contact us to learn more.
Regarding self-awareness, no one way offers the perfect solution. Instead, we focus on a combination of approaches to help leaders make the most progress in the shortest period of time.
How to Improve Self-Awareness
Strategies for improving self-awareness include:
Examine how others respond to your behavior – reflect and acknowledge
Look for patterns – we all have triggers
Honestly evaluate your thinking and beliefs – your thinking precedes your action
Gather feedback to expand blind spots – seek feedback and say thank you
Skillfully decide when to get in the game – everything does not require an immediate response; pause when necessary
Stay curious – use inquiry vs judgment
We are all emotional beings, and self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. The journey to improving emotional intelligence begins here!
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