The trademark quality of any great leader is not knowledge, an outgoing personality or presentation skills. Sure, these are very good attributes for a manager to have, but I’m talking about top notch leadership.
There is a quality that some people have and others can learn to a certain extent. A quality that empowers the owners to often effortlessly feel and know exactly what approach different people and situations need, leading to tailor made solutions.
I am talking about Self Awareness. The quality that allows a person to (self) observe in a critical manner while staying confident.
The ability to tap into ones own experiences, emotions, thoughts and pains to really empathise. The competence of observation and self-observation over a longer period of time, allowing for the collection of many social data sets. Because data is the starting point for analysis.
The competence of change and self-change. To suit different situations, different contexts and different goals and different people. The willingness to use vulnerability and to continually tweak ones perspective on the changing world around us.
We often appoint the best achiever to be a leader, don’t we? Because we think that that person knows best and will be the best driving force and decision maker. Let’s stop doing that.
Let’s choose most of our leaders based on the skills of unlocking potential in our environment, of empowering others, of bringing people together and of creative encouragement. Because that’s what inspires people. The raw truth, a human manager. Somebody who gives the right example regarding vulnerability.
So next time you are selecting one of your future leaders, just ask your potential candidates to tell you about their personal journeys and what they have learned about themselves. A potenially great leader will have thought about their qualities and will have the guts to be honest about their flaws.
Dont get me wrong, we can’t choose solely on the basis of self awareness. But I do think it’s one of the largest potential indicators of a great leader.