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Successful Leadership Depends on Self-Awareness: What Does It Mean and How to Achieve It?

By Dr Doron Gil Phd

Much has been written throughout the years about Leadership: what makes a good leader; what training is available for potentials leaders; is "leadership" a "born" characteristic or can be developed, and so on and so forth.
As part of such writings, much research had also been done about "Leadership characteristics", trying to predict what makes a leader succeed or fail.

According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School in 2017, 75 percent of those who take upon themselves a leadership role in a new venture fail. Some of the reason given are:
Lack of focus; motivation, commitment and passion; unwillingness to see or listen to others or taking advice from the wrong people; lacking general and domain-specific business knowledge, organizational and marketing skills.

On the other hand, studies which examined what contribute to leadership success mentioned, among other, the following traits:
Leaders are driven by passion and commitment; they are willing to adjust; they practice patience and persistence; they are willing to observe and listen; they have general and domain specific business knowledge.
Some of these "traits for success" are 180 degrees opposite of those traits which lead to failure.
Thinking about these "good" and "bad" leadership characteristics, a good leader must ask himself/herself: how do I rank myself on the above - as well as other - traits and characteristics which lead to success? And why do I think that, in spite of the statistics which show a 75% failure! - I can succeed?
If you find yourself in a leadership position or intends to become a leader, you need to sincerely and honestly answer these questions. In order to do so, you need to know yourself and realize how self-aware you are.

What does it mean "to know yourself"; what does it mean to be Self-Aware and why is it important for achieving success?

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will enable you to decide which leadership skills you might have - or should develop. You may also need to consider, among other, what professional qualifications as well as personal characteristics you possess (such as: do you/they know how to get well with others; are you willing to ask for advice, etc.). In addition, when it comes to selecting personnel to be working with/for you, you also need to consider the professional qualifications as well as personal characteristics your prospective personnel possess.

In addition, knowing yourself also means, among others:
* Realizing whether you are a control-freak or would you be able to delegate to others on your staff;
* Being able and ready to listen to advice;
* Not insisting that "your way is always the way";
* Being able and willing to take responsibility for your failures as well successes, rather than blaming others;
* Being aware of your organizational skills (or lack of) and your willingness to count on others;
* Being aware which organizational and management skills you need to develop;
* Know whether you can control your emotions or do you burst with hate, anger, etc, - which might damage your relationships with your subordinates as well as others outside of your own organization;
* Become aware and acknowledge your communications skills (or lack of), and decide how to improve them, if necessary.
In addition to all these, you also need to give yourself a true account of how knowledgeable you are in the field you intend to become a leader of; how familiar are you with others in the field - or related fields; whether you have a planned strategy which will enable you to expand the organization when the time is right; and so on and so forth.
Being Self-Aware, or developing your Self-Awareness, is therefore a vital condition to become and succeed as a good, efficient leader.

Dr. Doron Gil is an expert on Self-Awareness. He has an extensive professional career in a variety of organizations, including universities, medical schools and mental health services. Throughout the years Dr. Gil was involved with teaching, research, program-design, staff-development and consultations. His book "The Self-Awareness Guide" is rich with real-life situations. Each chapter includes self-awareness exercises which enable you to develop your self-awareness and thus pave the way to finding and cultivating the relationship you wish for and/or the leadership skills which will help you successfully lead your organization.

Hi! I research topics such as self-development achievement and mental health. I have a passion to use my life experiences and research to help others reach their full potential.