Sustainable Leaders Know Themselves
If we don’t know who we are, will always put up an artificial front and have a lack of authenticity.
Socrates said, “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom”. I’m a firm believer that we are created unique with unique talents and gifts. When we operate from a position of self-knowledge and acceptance, we unlock our true potential. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses can allow us to prioritise our time on things that are productive for us, and therefore allocate time to others to exercise their strengths. But front and centre for this is self-awareness.
Finding ways to know ourselves can help us become more productive. If we operate in our true strengths as authentic leaders, we are much more sustainable, the pressure is less, and the results are better. There are many ways we can know ourselves better. I really like Gallup’s Clifton Strengths Finder, I find it very intuitive and those that I take through the programme universally find likewise. My personal top two strengths are ‘strategic’ and ‘competitive’, whilst useful as a CEO they can be out of balance playing monopoly with a 12-year-old. Which was pointed out to me, in a constructive manner. Being comfortable with who we are can help us exercise our strengths in the right environment.
I’m a certified Forum facilitator for YPO, the world’s largest leadership organisation. Part of the forum programme is teaching people how to become more self-curious. Taking the time to understand our emotions and the memories that come up for us when hearing other people’s experiences, can lead to high level of self-revelation. If it works for the best in the world, then we should give it due consideration.
I think we can also learn to be kind to ourselves; to give ourselves some grace. Whilst I believe in self-discipline and productivity, there is a need to treat ourselves well, to be kind to ourselves, to give ourselves space and grace when we need it.
Another way we can become self-aware is by listening to others and by a willingness to become vulnerable and open to criticism or observation into the areas of our own blind spots. They can be sensitive when we first when they are first exposed. However, an openness to learn and grow in these areas can lead to personal development, self-awareness, and ensure we become better people and better leaders, serving those around us. That makes our leadership much more sustainable.