The Unaware Leader

Last week I read and then shared via LinkedIn and Twitter, an article in the Financial Post that stated 35% of employees would give up a raise to see their leader fired. As the article went on to explain, a study of more than 35,000 leaders from over 120 countries, found there is an enormous gap between the way that leaders perceive themselves and how their direct reports perceive them.

The study, undertaken through collaboration between Harvard Business Review and Rasmus Hougaard (founder and managing partner of Potential Project), found that while 77% of leaders surveyed felt they were doing well engaging people and creating productive employees, 82% of employee said their leaders were not good in this space. This significant gap in perception, suggests a deficit of Self-Awareness.

In my work as an Emotional Intelligence (EI) Practitioner, I often talk with people about the competencies of EI and, in particular, the foundation skill of Self-Awareness. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat across the table from someone who has assured me that they are ‘very’ self-aware. Sadly, the reality is often quite different. This is not just my opinion; research by Dr Travis Bradberrry (Author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0) has found that most people are not Self-Aware most of the time.

We can all enhance our levels of Self-Awareness and become more mindful leaders, employees, partners, parents and friends. The really good news is that enhancing our Self-Awareness can be done quite easily. It is just a matter of focusing on it. As a suggestion; set yourself a reminder for three times a day over a period of four weeks, to stop and reflect in that moment, and ask yourself three questions:

  • What am I feeling?
  • Why am I feeling it?
  • Is this helping or hindering me?

If what you are feeling at that moment is helping, that’s great. If what you are feeling at that moment is either hindering you or hindering others (think of the impact your emotions are having on the people around you), then you can make a decision in that moment to shift.

As those of you who have participated in any of my programs have no doubt heard me say; ‘Awareness enables choice’.

Once we are aware of something, we then have a choice as to whether we want to do something about it. Start now by asking yourself those three questions and continue cultivating your Self-Awareness.

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