My lack of leadership self-awareness
Near the end of 2018, I started a journey to become a published author. I joined a book writing mastermind led by The Book Professor Nancy Erickson and dove into the process of writing. Chapter 22, titled Dive into Uncharted Territory, focuses on a tool I offer clients to help them develop greater leadership self-awareness.
Before I shared the tool with clients, though, I experienced it myself. Here’s an excerpt from my book The Checklist Life: Breaking Free from a Life of Obligations:
“A couple years after my venture into corporate training, I saw a LinkedIn post from Lee, a man who’d been in my training certification class with me. Lee now coached executives. He shared that he always started clients with a behavioral assessment and asked if I’d like to take it. ‘Sure!’ I replied. ‘I love that kind of stuff.’
A few days later we reviewed my results by phone while I sat in a coffee shop with the results pulled up on my laptop. Lee verified some information I already knew about myself. I like things to be structured rather than off the cuff. I have a strength in developing others. Patience comes easily for me. Self-esteem is not a strong attribute of mine. Wait. What?
But that wasn’t all. Self-assessment, self-confidence, and self-management all showed up at the low end of my scores. As Lee continued to explain my results, I began to choke up. I looked up from my computer screen to find an elderly man at a table about six feet away, holding a book without reading it. He looked over the top of his reading glasses at me, the strange woman in the coffee shop with tears flowing down her cheeks.
I wiped the tears away and told myself to stop. I needed to hear this information. Lee asked, ‘When you finish a training session with a group, and some of them come up to you afterward to tell you how much they enjoyed it, how does that make you feel?’
‘Incredible, ‘I replied. ‘Like I made the right decision to get into this field.’
‘And then when you hop in the car to head home and you berate yourself because you skipped something you’d planned to say or messed up a quote you shared…’
How in the world did Lee know that even when I got praise from training groups, I still beat myself up on the way home? He wasn’t at those training sessions with me, and I knew he didn’t live in my brain. I felt like I was on Candid Camera.
Lee could see in my assessment results that I excelled from an external standpoint. The outside world saw Tracy perform well. Inside, however, I questioned my every move, every word, every mistake. It was normal to beat myself up.
And then Lee said, ‘You can make the decision to stay the same as you are now, or you can make changes to have the business and life of your dreams. Which is it?’”
My path to leadership self-awareness
That discussion with Lee took place almost seven years ago. It reflects the thoughts and feelings I had at the time about the results of my Attribute Index, one part of the ADVanced Insights Profile that measures how one thinks and makes decisions. Notice how resistant I was to the results. That resistance equates to a low level of leadership self-awareness.
My conversation with Lee solidified my belief that I had work to do when it came to my leadership self-awareness. Ultimately, I decided to hire him as my first coach, and in our work together, I built that crucial self-awareness along with self-esteem, self-assessment, self-confidence, and self-management. It was important work that continues to help me both personally and professionally.
A tool for my clients’ leadership self-awareness
After my first experience with the assessment Lee offered and my subsequent coaching with him, I began offering this leadership self-awareness tool to my own clients. In addition to the Attribute Index, the ADVanced Insights Profile includes a Values Index which measures one’s motivational preferences and the DISC Index which measures one’s preferred behavioral style. Essentially, this leadership self-awareness tool measures the what, why, and how of a person’s behavior: what natural talents the person has, why the person is motivated to use them; and how the person prefers to use them. It’s valuable information for all leaders to know.
I’ve intentionally focused for three months on leadership self-awareness tools I offer my clients. I began with the Positive Intelligence® methodology, then moved to the Working Genius model, and now am rounding out this series with the ADVanced Insights Profile.
Each tool is a valuable piece of the leadership puzzle that makes up who you are as the leader of your business, your team, and yourself. The more you know, the more you grow.
Now that you’re aware of these three leadership self-awareness tools, you get to decide where your journey begins. How will you take your current level of self-awareness and ramp it up to the next level? And then the next… and the next? I’m here to help when you’re ready for that first step.