Why leaders must be inspiring ... but also self-aware

Why leaders must be inspiring … but also self-aware

Self-awareness could be the last quality people will look for in their leaders. Employees would rather – surely – look to their leaders for inspiration. But it seems effective leaders need an equal dose of self-awareness and inspiration?

The value of self-awareness

Being self-aware means you understand how other people perceive you. In other words, it is the measure of how well you comprehend how your actions affect your organisation and influence those who look up to you. However, this important quality is often overlooked; only a measly 10% of leaders are self-aware, according to Harvard Business Review. 

Self-awareness is an important trait that does more to leaders than simply helping them address and debunk expectations. It can bring in the following benefits:

  • Improved communication. Understanding how your subordinates and colleagues see you can lead to better communication in the language that they understand best, allowing you to come up with decisions that work for everyone involved.
  • Better accountability. Being self-aware allows you to evaluate how your actions align with the values of your organisation. This lets you set an example that sets the foundation for a more accountable workplace.
  • Closer relationship with your team. Self-awareness is just another form of empathy. It lets you build deeper relationships with people who look to you as a leader, allowing you to manage them better based on a good understanding of how they behave. 

Inspiration: the other side of the leadership coin

The truth is, that self-awareness is not enough to lead. And many of us probably know that. Leaders also need to inspire their team members. This can be possible through the relationships and understanding built upon the leader’s self-aware disposition. Uninspiring leadership, regardless of its level of empathy, can only bring harm to any company, as illustrated by their dismal engagement and productivity rates in this Forbes report.

Inspiration is the quality that enables leaders to rouse their followers into action – in other words, it motivates people to get things done. Besides that, here’s how being inspiring can benefit a leader:

  • Greater employee engagement
    Inspiring leaders inculcate a sense of purpose in their team while encouraging them to explore their full potential. The result is a team of engaged workers committed to their work.
  • A more motivated team
    Leadership by inspiration can drive employees to love their work. It urges them to give their best to the organisation and become part of its drive toward success.
  • Higher team productivity and effectiveness
    Workers motivated and inspired by their leaders eventually find passion in their work. They get to do more without burning out, increasing their productivity and efficiency at getting the job done.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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