What does it mean to be a good leader? Organized, confident, knowledgeable, and good listeners are some commonly listed leadership traits. All of these traits funnel into one word: self-awareness. Self-awareness is the key ingredient to any great, inclusive leader.
Self-awareness allows leaders to understand their own emotions and feelings, which allows them to understand and empathize with those around them. This is why self-aware leaders make good inclusive leaders. They are in tune with the diversity in their organizations, and they pay attention to their employees concerns if there are inclusivity problems.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking that you aren’t as self-aware as you could be. Does this make you a bad leader? No. In fact, there’s good news—it is possible that, with practice, you can be on your way to being a more self-aware, inclusive leader!
Anthony K. Tjan gives us some tips on how to better our leadership skills in his article “5 Ways to Become More Self-Aware.”
1) Meditate. Taking the time to think about your actions and living in the moment will make you more self-aware. Meditation doesn’t have to be a long, structured process, but rather just a few minutes to focus on your breathing and reflect. Tjan suggests thinking about these questions when focusing your thoughts:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- What am I doing that is working?
- What am I doing that is slowing me down?
- What can I do to change?
2) Identify your top priorities. According to Tjan, “one of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to write down what you want to do and track your progress.” Consider documenting your goals, the traits you alreadyhave that will help you reach these goals, and the traits you still need in order to meet your goals. In doing this, you can better measure your success in both reaching your goals and measuring whether your self-awareness has increased or not.
3) Take psychometric tests. Though this may seem silly, these tests are beneficial in learning about your own leadership strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of your weaknesses will give you a starting point for becoming a more inclusive leader.
4) Ask your peers. The people who know you best are the greatest resources when you’re trying to change your behavior and be more self-aware. If they have noticed you show the types of behavior you want to change, ask them questions about your personality. Though it might hurt to hear the truth, know that their feedback is crucial if you’re trying to lead an inclusive workplace.
5) Get feedback at work. This might be the most important step in becoming more self-aware. If you want to have an inclusive workplace, your employees need to know their feedback is valued and accepted. Tjan suggests bringing in an outside consulting firm to collect the feedback; this will protect the anonymity of your employees and remove any bias.
Lastly, self-aware leaders are an example for their employees. If they see you are trying to be more self-aware in order to be inclusive of others, they will likely follow suit.
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