Self-aware leaders tend to be more effective leaders, certainly over the long haul. For example, some leaders can push or almost bully other people into getting the things they want to be done, simply by the force of their personality. But, over time, I don’t think that’s very effective.
When you’re self-aware, you understand your strengths and know what will work well for you. You’re also aware of the things that don’t work well for you. You can’t and shouldn’t be all things to all people. So being aware of those areas helps you as a leader and helps you avoid lots of pitfalls.
Unfortunately, one of the things we repeatedly see is people, including leaders, who have been told they should be doing something in a particular way, and they think it makes sense because it worked for the person who told them. So, the person guesses that’s how they should be operating or leading, or doing a project. If they aren’t aware that it’s not a suitable method for them, they can spend a great deal of extra time and energy. It’s not that they can’t get things done when they operate outside of the natural way they should. They can, but it’s more stressful, takes more energy, and typically takes more time. When a person knows their strengths, then they can avoid that pitfall.
It seems like it’s really easy and that everybody would avoid working outside of their strengths. But, it’s not that easy. So many times, we don’t understand who we are and what our strengths are, and we will follow someone’s advice that seems really good. After all, it comes from well-meaning people, and it worked for them – so you guess you’re wrong not to do things that way.
Knowing the strengths of those you lead is essential. Of course, there are still those leaders who push, making others operate in a particular way – and for short bursts, that works. But, truly great leaders know how to get the most out of the people they’re leading. It’s not a matter of “Do it this way because I said so.” It’s about understanding that individual’s strength. I’m going to get the most out of them if I give them suggestions on how to accomplish something in a way that suits them. Also, as a leader, when figuring out which of the 10 people on my team should do which tasks if I understand what they’re good at, I’m going to be better at assigning those tasks. Not just in a small way, but also in more significant ways, on projects or even entire careers. As a leader, I can point somebody in a direction that will make them more successful over the long haul – potentially for the rest of their life.
Great leaders, even without coming to Kolbe or having people take the Kolbe ATM Index, can intuit some of these things. But, using the Kolbe Index and working with us makes that process much faster and takes some of the guesswork out of it. Of course, even people who are right most of the time aren’t going to be right all the time. But, with Kolbe Indexes, you can be right a lot more quickly and way more often than trying to figure it out on your own.
Discover your instinctive strengths at Kolbe.com.