Self-Awareness and Growing Your Leadership Skills

Chandler was new to his leadership role. It was a big step for him and he was determined to get things right! But it seemed that the harder he tried, and the more closely he managed his employees, the worse things got. Mistakes were made. Work had to be redone. Deadlines were missed. People were getting short-tempered and defensive. Nothing was going right!

Fortunately, part of Chandler’s promotion included an engagement with an executive coach. Executive coaches are very good at helping clients recognize their behaviors and — more importantly — understanding the mindset through which they see the world, the “why” of their behaviors, and the steps needed to change behaviors and achieve their goals.

On the surface, Chandler was micro-managing his staff. In his desire to get things “done right,” he had inserted himself in every step of the work and second-guessed every decision made by his employees. Once identified, there are several approaches to help leaders reduce their inclination to micro-manage (read Arden Coaching’s blog, “Build Leadership Skills with 4 Keys to Effective Delegation”). Working with his executive coach, Chandler began to apply some of these tips and techniques.

However, Chandler’s coach encouraged him to push further and look deeper. Lots of new supervisors fall into the micro-management trap. Why was HE micro-managing? 

Emotional intelligence is a major characteristic of successful leadership (read “Lessons Learned: Emotional Intelligence is Essential”). Self-awareness is one of the four elemental areas of emotional intelligence. And self-awareness means knowing why you think a certain way, how people react to you, how you respond to others, and what motivates you to do certain things. What was Chandler’s underlying motivation? 

After discussion and some soul searching, Chandler realized that what was motivating his tendency to micro-manage was self-identity and ego — an underlying desire to demonstrate to his new employees that he can still “do the work” — that he still has as much, or more, knowledge and subject matter expertise as they do.

As a result of this insight, Chandler is striving to self-identify as a leader, and develop a mindset that emphasizes the value and importance of his being a “leader” over being a “subject matter expert.” For more about mindset, read Arden executive coach Kevin Ciccotti’s5 Steps to Cultivating a Strong Mindset.” Having a leader mindset helps him clear the path for prioritizing time and effort to pursue the development of vital leadership characteristics.

How Self-Aware are You?

How well do you understand your mindset and what truly motivates your behaviors and habits? It’s hard to take a look in the mirror and see what’s really there. A great start may be to take an Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0). Based on more than 20 years of research, its rigorous reliability and many validity studies make this assessment the most widely used emotional intelligence assessment tool in the world.

Chandler is getting his micro-management habits under control, and more importantly, is focused on growing his leadership skills — he’s beginning to see himself as a leader, realize his full potential, and contribute significantly to his organization’s success.

To learn more about how executive coaching can help you develop your self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.