It is probably one of the least discussed leadership competencies; however self awareness is one of the most valuable traits a leader can possess. Self aware leaders are conscious of their strengths and yet, they will be the first to admit they still have a lot to learn. Leaders at this level of aware hold themselves accountable and willing will admit when they don’t have all the answer and take the blame vs. the credit when the time arises.
To most, this type of honesty may seem to be out of the norm in many cultures. There are many leaders who feel it is weak to admit character faults or to appear to not know everything. Many still believe that have to save face vs. being honest. The fear is rooted in being seen as “less than” to others when in fact this type of behavior only leads to question their own leadership even more.
If you can be honest with yourself, you can be honest with others. Simple right? But so many miss this point. The lack of honestly, truth, we tell ourselves, the less we can trust others. Those who try to hide their weakness actually shine a bigger light on them and create the perception that they lack integrity.
When we own up to ourselves, we benefit all. The more self aware we are, the better the relationships we will build, the better leaders we are to all. We gain credibility, effectiveness in our leadership. We let others know that we are not perfect and hold ourselves to example of being the leader who isn’t afraid to be human.
It’s easy to see how pretending to know everything when you don’t can create situations that can be problematic for your entire organization. On the other hand, when you take responsibility for what you don’t know, you benefit both yourself and your organization.