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Yesterday my daughter told me that she’d set herself a new (school) year’s resolution “to be less bossy”. She went on to say that although she was only ever just trying “to do the right thing”, she was aware that this is often interpreted by her peers as bossy and may be leading them to not like her. Whilst this may be self-awareness merely for the sake of social acceptance (we’ve had words about this!), what struck me most about this conversation was how a 9 year old could be so aware of their behaviour and the impact it has on others when there are so many adults out there who are failing to do this.
For leaders in particular (whose role it is to inspire, motivate, develop, support and encourage others in the pursuit and achievement of individual, team and organisational goals) self-awareness is critical to their success. In the workplace we have become more aware of this and there has been a dramatic shift in the direction of leadership development programmes over the last 10 years. Now, as well as focusing on developing those leadership skills and capabilities that are ‘missing’, attention has turned to the impact those behaviours and characteristics ‘already present’ are having on the effectiveness of the team, with high Emotional Intelligence now widely recognised as being critical to a leader’s success and as being arguably the most important skill a leader can have.
For leaders (unlike my daughter!) the priority is not about getting people to like you, it’s about building trust and gaining respect and credibility, so that the team want to go on the journey with you. Engagement heightens success, but a team will rarely engage when they have a leader for whom they have no respect or trust.
Leaders wanting to grow, develop and improve need to take a good hard look at how their actions and behaviours impact on those around them and how this in turn directly impacts the successes and achievements of those people.
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