Self-awareness is the new buzz word. It is cool to be able to claim the ability to be self-aware. Yes, knowing one’s self is not only a growth oriented path to maturity but also it just feels good when you do it right. Learning about yourself is a combination of interesting, confusing and telling. It helps that there is no end to the process of self-awareness. One is never fully self-aware since we are changing daily with whatever life offers us.
Also, as a Coach by profession, my world is basically – self-awareness. I get to challenge people to become their best selves and recognize what that looks like. As such, whenever I speak with professionals about self-awareness there is a general consensus around its value.
I love the concept and reality of what being self-aware implies! I support it, strive for it and encourage others to be in constant continual pursuit of it. However, there is a branch much higher that could be reached. There is another level in the game and loftier goal to be met. We cannot reach it without self-awareness, however self-awareness is only powerful when paired with this particular skill. I call it self-regulation. My friend, Daniel Shoots, calls it Self-Management. Some say self-mastery and others, self-control.
Whatever we call it – it moves us beyond the knowing to the responsibility of doing. No longer is self-awareness sufficient in the presence of self-management. Gone are the days of “that’s just me”, “I know, I’m a work in progress” or “take it or leave it” when excusing the not-so-great version of ourselves for appearing. No more can we admit to “knowing about ourselves” and believing that alone to be enough. To do so is to commit the most egregious act of hypocrisy. And who wants to admit to being a hypocritical leader?
Consider this… As a leader, do you make it your business to attend and ACTIVELY participate in the trainings and personal or professional development opportunities that you require of your teams? When I say actively participate, I am referring to taking a position of learning alongside your team members from the mailroom to the VP (if you are the President, of course). I am specifically not referring to being in-and-out of the room during a training, standing in the back or doing “other work” while present.
If that sounds like you, please pause to consider the hypocrisy that this behavior communicates. What are you rippling out to your organization by showing up in this way?
I believe that most leaders who behave in this way do not consider themselves hypocritical. I believe they have their reasons and that those reasons make perfect sense. And I also believe there is always another way to look at a thing. For those leaders who are already enjoying the learning side-by-side with your team strategy, thank you for challenging the traditional lens on leadership. My challenge to leaders who think or behave differently is to “try on” this approach.