Organizations gain a lot more from leaders who take responsibility for what they know they don't know than from leaders who pretend to know everything.
What recently occurred to me in an "aha" moment is this: self-awareness is one of the most valuable leadership competencies, yet it is one of the least discussed. In an effort to appear task-focused and "business-like," organizational feedback often gravitates toward hard skills and competencies that are more easily measurable.
Have You Thought About This?
People who don't know their strengths and weaknesses actually tend to overestimate themselves. Research literature and my own coaching experiences have shown that poor self-awareness leads to poor performance and, frequently, termination.
We live in a highly competitive culture. I've watched more than a few leaders and leader wannabes try to appear as if they know everything all the time. They believe that if they don't, people will question and even challenge their capability, undermining their leadership effectiveness. In fact, the opposite is true. Whether you acknowledge your weaknesses or not, those around you still see them. The result: trying to hide a weakness actually magnifies it, leading to a perceived lack of integrity and, ultimately, trust.
Knowing yourself helps you use your strengths better, develop where you can, and avoid or compensate for areas where you are unskilled or just plain unsuited.
The simple truth: People who know themselves better do better.
Helpful resource: Chris Musselwhite was ruminating over similar issues back in 2007, and wrote a terrific article on Self Awareness in Inc. Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/yj2st6x
A quick note on comments: Due to a heavy travel and speaking scheduling, plus the holidays, I've been remiss in responding to comments in a timely way. My apologies to all who have taken time to weigh in and add to the conversation. All Things Workplace has always been a forum for discussion. I'll be getting caught up this week and we'll get the conversation rolling again. Thanks to everyone who has added their expertise and thoughts in the comment section.