5 Reasons Self-Awareness is Critical to Your Success

One in 292.2 million.

Those are the recent Powerball odds that had an entire nation not only captivated by the potential of landing a record $1.4 billion jackpot, but also shelling out an estimated $2.6 billion for tickets since November in hopes of fast tracking the way to financial success.

When it comes to achieving and maintaining success in the business world, however, there’s a lot more at risk than the $2 it costs to buy a lottery ticket. And with highly-personal stakes like image and reputation in play, it’s not surprising that most professionals are far less willing to gamble with their careers.

So what if you were told the majority of business leaders are still neglecting one key focus area that’s crucial to maintaining success and accelerating growth potential? And that if the same executives who spend endless hours analyzing their business landscapes could learn to study themselves with the same critical eye, they would begin to garner positive results almost immediately? Do you think they would do it? Seems like a no brainer.

So why aren’t they?

Maybe it’s because while vision, confidence, authoritativeness, and strategic thinking are often touted as key leadership competencies, self-awareness has historically been labeled a softer skill and erroneously thrown into the “nice-to-have” column.

But before you make the mistake of overlooking a vital initiative, here are five key reasons you should take active steps toward becoming more self-aware starting today:

It Builds Trust and Credibility. As a leader, it’s easy to think you need to be perceived as having all of the answers to instill confidence in your organization. In actuality, however, both understanding and acknowledging the areas you’re still learning can not only earn you trust and credibility from others, but also lay the foundation for a more transparent culture that rewards honesty and promotes continual learning and innovation.

It Makes You a More Effective Manager. Even the most successful leaders are often kept awake at night trying to understand why their employees are behaving a certain way. Perhaps you’ve noticed teammates who appear unmotivated, or are tentative to dive into new initiatives you’re spearheading. While it’s easy to direct blame outward, developing a holistic understanding of your own motivations, emotions, and behaviors—as well as how they impact those around you—is often an enlightening exercise and the first step toward resolving issues and establishing a more productive work environment.

It Allows You to Evolve as a Leader. In 2010, a study was conducted by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations examining 72 executives at companies with revenues from $50 million to $5 billion. A key finding: “a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.” Why?  The argument could be made that by the time you’ve reached executive management, you’re well aware of the skills that got you there. But to propel yourself forward, you must always be exploring and leveraging previously untapped areas of growth potential, consciously working to evolve personally and professionally to best position yourself for long-term success.

It Leads to More Strategic Hiring Decisions. Hiring subordinates without an acute awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses is much like grocery shopping without knowing what’s already in the pantry. There’s a good chance you’ll end up with unnecessary duplication in some areas, while coming up empty on the ingredients you need the most. Instead, aim to first better understand yourself, and then use that knowledge to seek out and recognize candidates who will truly compliment your skill set while simultaneously filling critical voids on the team.

It Positively Impacts Financial Performance. After a robust study involving 486 publicly-traded companies, analysts at Korn Ferry were able to pinpoint a direct relationship between the financial performance of an organization, and the self-awareness of its leaders. The study, as described by Kevin Cashman in Forbes, measured the frequency of blind spots (disparities between leaders’ self-reported skills and peer ratings) with stock performance over a thirty-month time frame, and found “public companies with a higher rate of return also employ professionals who exhibit higher levels of self-awareness.”  Said another way—it literally pays to be self-aware!

So what does this all mean?

To be a successful leader, becoming truly self-aware is no longer a nice-to-have. Rather, it’s a crucial exercise with the power to both accelerate you along your career path and positively impact your organization.

So as you put together your list of priority initiatives for the coming year, don’t gamble by focusing all of your attention outward. Place a bet on yourself as well, and enjoy watching it pay out throughout 2016, and beyond.

What does hitting the jackpot in 2016 look like for you both personally and as a leader? What is your plan for ensuring you’re poised for success? If you need help getting started, give us a call today at #708-738-5040 or visit our websites at RRGExec.com and SearchWorksllc.com.  download pdf