Why Self-Awareness Matters to Managers

In a recent blog I wrote about the qualities managers most admired in leaders but sadly don’t see these very same qualities in themselves. http://coachingpotentials.com/2015/07/14/managers-are-your-really-coaching/ In this post I put forward the case for why self-awareness matters tremendously to managers. If you are managing, leading and or developing people I will say right off the hop, you’d better be coaching them. If your objection to coaching is you are already coaching your employees think again are you really coaching? Or maybe your objection is based on ignorance you are not familiar with coaching or you might have taken a brief coaching course but don’t have the time or confidence to implement what you learned these are all excuses that are costing you a great deal in your most valuable organizational asset your human capital. This is why self-awareness is so important to your success as a manager.
If you hold certain beliefs about people, work, titles/positions and roles within an organization these can hinder or assist you in being the best darn manager you were intended to be. In fact, this could cost you your own job! Survey of newly hired managers found that between 35-50% fail as managers and end up being either demoted or flat-out fired.

There are two important factors the survey results put forward for this high failure rate:
1. Managers lack self-awareness
2. Managers lack adaptability /flexibility
This aspect of emotional intelligence is one that will win many battles both on the work field and in the personal field of life. One can’t argue that this is an invaluable attribute to have. It stands to reason that if you are going to lead or manage people, having a high sense of self-awareness would be a characteristic that runs high on the must have list of traits. This is not the case for many managers according to results from various surveys.
What exactly is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is tied to your ability to speak the truths about yourself first to yourself and then to others. This means being fully aware of your perspective, your world view-how you see the world. This then comes down to your beliefs and deep-seated notions about the myriad of events, people and situations that go to make up life. To truly be self-aware a manager will need to start first by getting to ‘know themselves’. This getting to know yourself is the key to being aware of whom you are, what you are likely or not likely to do in certain situations. It is the key to how you interact with people it tells you why you are comfortable and at ease around others while you can’t wait to exit stage left when around others.
Self-awareness lies buried in the recesses of our brains. It is in this mental pillar where we tend to hold file folders filled with files that shape our interactions with ourselves and others. Managers are no exception to this rule. They too have these file folders in their mental pillars and without the proper process of learning how to 1. Face these files and their content and 2. Be brave enough to accept that they have these less than stellar aspects to their persona coupled with the awesome aspects they will fail as managers and leaders of others.
What are the typical content of these file folders? 6 Basic Fears

The great thinkers of our time have attributed six basic fears humans tend to harbor. These fears shape the content of our file folders and the degree of our self-awareness. Overall, they shape our success or failure in the arenas of work and life in general:

1. Fear of failure/ success
2. Fear of rejection /criticism
3. Fear of the truth (discovering one’s own flaws, weaknesses, strength etc.)
4. Fear of the unknown (growing older, new career, new work initiative etc.)
5. Fear of loss (love, money, a loved one, health, career etc.)
6. Fear of death/ill-health

If managers are not aware of the role one or more of the above fears are playing in their personal and professional lives, you can see how they are controlled by this ignorance. The reality is what we are unaware of controls us. The consequence is they are either demoted or fired.
How to develop self-awareness

The purpose of a coaching approach in any situation whether at work or at home is to keep people moving forward. Coaching allows managers to bring out the awareness of themselves by using the powerful tools of coaching to support the manager. When one feels supported and safe, you are better able to turn inwards to notice the internal factors that distort reality and detract from truly living and working at your best. A high sense of self-awareness leads to a heightened sense of reality.

Reality brings greater clarity and focus especially where organizational goals are concerned. This leads to managers knowing how best to develop and lead their employees.
Developing self-awareness requires daily investment and a coach is able to work with the manager to help bring out their true potentials via recognizing and knowing who they are.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to learn more emotional intelligence techniques, check out our webinar on March 17th about how to shift perspective and how it will help you become a more effective manager. http://ultimatepotentials.com/form-view/16

I would love to hear from you, please drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on what I’m sharing with you.

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