When you consider leadership and what it means to be effective, part of what you must do is look inward. Leadership is about awareness of ourselves and others. We move too quickly away from core effective behaviors because we get busy. We stop engaging. We stop building relationships. We get caught up in the tasks of our jobs. Reflecting on what it means for you to be most effective requires taking an honest look inward.
What behaviors do you practice?
Leadership is behavioral in nature. At least, that’s the part others see and experience. Think of the best leader you’ve ever worked for in your career. What behaviors did they practice which made them most effective? Take an honest look inward. How many of those behaviors do you practice consistently? Where is there room for improvement?
Your capacity to think like a leader dictates what sort of behaviors you’ll use. If you trace back behaviors to their origin stories, you’ll find attitudes and beliefs just below the surface. Do a little internal digging. Take each behavior you identified as having room for improvement. Can you trace back to the attitude and belief that may be holding you back?
Take off the blinders
No one has perfect vision when it comes to seeing their own strengths and limitations. Sometimes we sell ourselves short, and sometimes we are overly confident. Understanding the perception others have of our leadership is critical when taking that honest look inward.
Formal accredited assessments, like MRG’s Leadership Effectiveness Analysis 360, can be useful tools for getting feedback on how others perceive us. Contributing to feedback when you know your specific answers will be confidential gives people freedom to be really honest without worrying they’ll hurt your feelings.
Sometimes all people need is permission. Letting those around us know we’re working on our development and interested in their perspective can be all they need. If you were to ask five colleagues to give you honest feedback about your leadership, would they?
It all comes down to a willingness to take an honest look inward. Remember, leadership is about awareness of ourselves and of others. How can you be aware if you don’t stop to reflect?