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Self-awareness a clear understanding of your personality and how others

perceive you is an essential tool for successful leadership, and a trait all
good managers should strive to attain. In a survey carried out among
members of Stanford Business School, self-awareness was rated as the
penultimate competency for effective leadership. Self-awareness among
leaders can help them build tools to capitalize on their strengths and
confront their weaknesses. This helps shape credibility and strengthens
relationships since they inculcate mutual trust and respect. Leaders who are
self-aware remain open to new ideas and inquiry and take constrictive
criticism on board.
A good example of this would be the leaders who are the anti-thesis of being
self-aware. And example would be CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner. There was
a huge coup by the board members who brought Eisner to the fore at Disney.
When Roy Disney (nephew of Walt Disney) and Stanley Gold resigned they
wrote a scathing commentary about Eisners leadership traitsor lack
thereof. Eisner is a textbook case of what people call CEO Disease. Eisner
was accused of developing political bases rather than leaders and became
notorious for filling the Disney's board of directors with cronies. These people
would be unlikely to make any criticisms of his performance and he could act
almost dictatorially. It would be risky for an executive to criticize Eisner's
actions or choices at the risk of his or her own job, so Eisner would continue
on in his style of management unchecked and without the constructive
criticism a CEO needs to improve his or her performance.
Such leadership styles are the kind to stay away from. Being self-aware and
open to criticism spells good sense for employees and for the company.
Leaders who practice self-awareness model the same values for employees
and the organization as a whole. The organization represents employees that
are credible and loyal and through them gains credibility and respect. It is
open to change when necessary, and flexibility, inquisitiveness, and
innovation become buzzwords.
Thus it is apparent that one needs to practice inculcating self-awareness. The
most effective way for me is to have a checklist or a roadmap of what values
I need to be aware of and identify to be more self-aware. The foremost will be
being open to criticism. As this class has also taught us, feedback is a very
important step in seeing how a person is perceived. I will ask my colleagues
(peers and subordinates) to participate in 360-degree feedback i.e. provide
anonymous opinions on your strengths and areas in need of improvement;

especially at the end of a project. Asking for feedback creates a sense of

accountability in the organization and encourages honest communication.
Another key step is to utilize existing tools such as the Big 5 to understand
how my personality traits lie and what the key areas I can work on are. While
these wont provide an exhaustive picture I can use these tools to sense my
reaction in a situation e.g. I know I find it tough to delegate since I believe in
thoroughness, and if I have been assigned a team of a 100, it will be
unfeasible to be one-on-one with them all the time, hence I need to
anticipate my reactions.
A good and self-aware leader also needs to be willing to admit mistakes and
take responsibility when something is not as expected or goes wrong and not
try to shift the blame. He is also aware of others and of different
communication styles present in his or her team to streamline
communication more effectively.