Know thyself– Socrates
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom– Aristotle
To grow yourself, you must know yourself– John C Maxwell
There are a plethora of quotes flooding the internet on leadership and the characteristics of a successful leader. But regardless of the attributes these quotes highlight or identify, good leadership all begins with a greater understanding of yourself.
Here are Just Three Things successful leaders do:
- They are Self-aware
Successful leaders know that before they can begin to lead others, they must know themselves. They know that developing a greater understanding of self is not just about being aware of their own personal strengths, but it’s also about being aware of the room for personal and professional growth. Such leaders are open to exploring more facades of themselves, which is why they place great value on processes such as coaching, or the use of models like the Johari Window, for indicating blind spots and working to “close the gap” in certain areas. They are aware of what they allow to consume their headspace and recognize their own saboteurs when they show up.
- They Practice Self-Management
Successful leaders know that no one else is responsible for them but themselves. They don’t give other people the keys to their happiness or indeed the passwords to their frustrations. As a result, a mark of a successful leader is their willingness to be accountable for the choices they make and the behaviors they choose in a given situation. Successful leaders are emotionally strong people; this doesn’t mean they don’t experience uncomfortable emotions, it simply means they have the ability to sit with those emotions and deal with them instead of sweeping them under the carpet. As strong self-managers, they set healthy boundaries for themselves, knowing they have a responsibility to self—physically, mentally and emotionally.
- They Continually Learn
Being a successful leader doesn’t mean getting it right all the time, but it does mean continually being in that process of growing and learning; of moving from being unconsciously incompetent to being consciously competent. While effective leaders give constructive feedback to others, they are also open to receiving such constructive feedback themselves, seeing it as an imperative part of their own learning. Successful leaders don’t just learn, they actively seek to learn; they read voraciously and possess growth mindsets which allow them to reframe any setback as an experience and opportunity to learn.