As an executive coach, and adjunct college professor, I see a lot of personality types and talk with a host of people from across various industries and jobs. I’ve done this long enough now that I’m not surprised by most of what I see or hear, but what I’ve always found most challenging and rewarding about the profession is helping others reset expectations of themselves, for better or worse.
For me, it’s about providing them with tools to make them more self-aware. Good leadership starts with self-awareness. It starts with understanding who you are, what your key strengths are and recognizing how you’re perceived by others.
The most difficult part of my role is getting people to reset their expectations. The most difficult coaching conversation is getting people to recognize that frankly, they’re not great at everything. It’s a reality that is hard for some people to accept, but the truth is that none of us are great at everything we do. It’s just not possible.
As professionals, we need to focus on our signature strengths, highlight them and play them up for others to see. We also need to recognize that it’s ok to not be great at everything. There’s a reason we work in teams.
The sign of a great leader is someone who is able to recognize where they have limitations and build their team around that to compensate for where they are weak. This isn’t possible if you’re first not aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and limitations.
This is a good time of year to reflect on what those are, but you need to do it honestly and it’s best for you to find others that can help. It can be a friend, a colleague, a boss, or a spouse/partner. You need to take inventory first on your own, and then you can start validating with others what your strengths truly are, where you may have some blind spots and where you may have some areas for improvement.
This isn’t always an easy exercise, but the reality is that it’s extremely helpful in building your own personal brand and yourself awareness. Identifying aspects of self are an important component of leadership. To truly lead others, it’s first necessary to lead yourself.
This is only possible through self-reflection, self-critique and self-awareness.
Ultimately, it all starts with a look at self!