A leader’s performance is more than their academic background and business experience. Instead, there is an entire package that includes soft skills, and most importantly, self-awareness. Thankfully, the power of self-awareness is a skill that can be taught through researched-based tools, resources, feedback, and reflection.
Benefits of Self Awareness
Self-awareness allows us to know who we are and how others perceive our actions. To challenge our assumptions, it is paramount that we become aware of the internal dialogue that guides our choices. Awareness of why we do what we do allows us to understand how we impact our world, organization, peers, team members, and partners. Being conscious of how we see ourselves and how others see us is at the core of any good manager, leader, or team.
Building Better Teams
The first step is for leaders to better understand themselves. The second step is for leaders to better understand their teams. An effective leader sets the context, creates a vision, inspires the team, and provides clarity. By doing this, their team will embrace the organization’s vision and recognize the impact of their work which leads to greater job satisfaction. However, in order to inspire a team, leaders must not only be aware of their own actions but must learn about their team’s inner world, perspectives, communication style, and motivators. Through this understanding, leaders can effectively build the bridge between vision and inspiration.
The Bottom Line
The third step is for individual team members to develop self-awareness. Research shows a direct correlation between high self-awareness and better team performance. (Source: Erich C.Dierdorff and Robert S.Rubin, published on HBR in March 2015). When there was a large difference between how an individual team member perceives their contribution to a team versus how their teammates perceive it, performance is greatly hindered. Therefore, investing in the development of self-awareness for leaders and teams alike is pertinent to the profitability of any organization.
It Starts With You
As leaders in our organizations, the path to success starts with us. Adopting the habit of observing our behaviors, instead of acting and reacting using our unconscious mind, is the first step. The advantages of becoming more self-aware include:
· Uncovering blind spots
· Improving communication efficiency
· Adapting to difficult situations faster
Developing this skill in our leaders will instill a culture of self-awareness in the rest of the organization.
Using DISC as a Tool for Self-Awareness
Thankfully, there are useful instruments to help leaders and teams develop self-awareness. One such tool we recommend at ORCA HR is DISC, a 4-color framework based on observable behavior: Dominance (challenge), Influence (contacts), Steadiness (consistency), and Compliance (constraints).
The DISC framework evolved from Carl Jung’s study on Psychological Types, where he identified four types oriented by thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. Following Jung, William Marston published Emotions of Normal People in 1928, where he identifies four categories: Dominance (challenge), Influence (contacts), Steadiness (consistency), and Compliance (constraints). In 1948, Walter Clarke launched the first version of a professional assessment that later would evolve into DISC.
Used By Millions
Today, the DISC study is sophisticated and enriched by a database of millions of completed assessments, allowing executives to understand their behavior, learn how to observe others’ behaviors, and build efficient communication bridges. The result will be a success at the job and in society at large.