Only when you know who you are can you influence others
If you lack self-knowledge then you will never be a great leader. In fact, if you lack self-knowledge then you will struggle to have any level of sustained success in business.
Perhaps, you will get lucky and experience short-lived wins. If you do then don’t confuse that with success. Without self-knowledge the wins will soon disappear. They will disappear because sooner or later, likely sooner, followers will recognize the leader’s shortcomings.
Quality people – good followers – lose interest in a leader when:
- the leader fails to illustrate intelligence or
- the leader fails to illustrate self-control or
- the leader fails to illustrate focused drive.
Good followers want to vent their strengths. They want their talents, knowledge, and skills to be linked to opportunities. Good followers expect their leaders to generate those opportunities. Good followers also want to be part of something successful…if they sense the leader is exercising poor judgment then they will interpret that as a sign of weak intelligence, if they see the leader stray from the goal-path then they will interpret that as a sign of weak self-control, and if they see the leader lose energy or ambition then they will interpret that as a sign of weak drive. These are just a sample of the many ways a leader can lose quality followers. And, there is no question, the quality followers will be the first ones to leave.
When a leader develops the skill of understanding self the leader can use that skill to understand others. Yes – this is far from an exact science. It takes concerted, life-long effort to understand self. It takes even more effort to improve skill at understanding others. But – do not let that dissuade or discourage you. Small improvements in understanding others result in huge payoffs. Huge payoffs? Yes – most people do an extremely poor job of understanding others. Anyone who makes an effort to understand others stands out as ‘a good listener’ or ‘a good communicator’. Because it happens so rarely, people quickly register positive feelings and thoughts when someone actually listens to them or illustrates the ability to empathize with them.
So, simple steps to leadership success…
- Work at self-knowledge: every day, take the time to think about what you think and what you do
- Use your self-knowledge to work at understanding others: observe, ask questions, listen
- Use your knowledge of self and others to build business strength:
- Strategize: set vision and goals
- Build relationships with people, influence performance, & execute action
- Develop and use your strengths
- Develop and use others’ strengths to augment your strengths
- Develop and use others’ strengths to offset your weaknesses