Discover New Truths—About You!
It’s been said that there are several levels of knowledge. Knowing something for certain is the first. The second is thinking you know something. The third is knowing with certainty you do not know something. The fourth is the killer: not knowing that you don’t know something. This last state of knowledge is the most dangerous because if you’re oblivious to what you don’t know, you’re a target for all types of problems. So my question for you today is, what do you not know about yourself that, perhaps, others know too well? As discussed in MAP’s just-released book, The Disciplined Leader, focusing on yourself as a leader and getting a realistic picture of what kind of leader you truly are is a powerful step that can put you on a forward path of improvement. Of course, you’ll have to take ownership of what you learn—the good, the bad, and the ugly—before you can set the right goals and strategies to improve. But it’s totally doable. You have to have courage, be willing to face and embrace hard truths, and build in those habits that will support that new, improved, and ever-evolving version of your leadership self.
Here are three easy ways to get more clarity about who you really are as a leader today and the possibilities for becoming a better one tomorrow:
Get 360-degree feedback. One of the most powerful components to MAP’s 2.5 day executive workshop is the 360-degree feedback we conduct and provide to attendees. With this anonymous querying, there’s no nonsense, no sugarcoating, no rose-colored glasses. Our attendees learn exactly what their professional colleagues think and feel about their leadership and management style and abilities, and it’s almost always a big eye-opener because there’s usually some information or perhaps a whole string of facts that contribute to a moment of truth. Suddenly, people start realizing some key aspects about themselves that they had never considered or believed to be true—yet are. Whether you’re using MAP’s tool or doing this somehow on your own, the key is to ensure the feedback is anonymous. Having a third-party manage the process is also a smart way to go.
Use assessments. At MAP, we like to use DISC®, a non-judgmental, diagnostic tool that helps people learn about their communication skills, work productivity, and, of importance to many of our clients, how well they work with teams. There are other assessments on the market, and each can be a gateway to a journey of greater understanding and awareness of the self. From these assessments, you can formulate strategies on how to become more productive, communicate with greater impact, and be an effective team member and leader. In our experience, these assessments can be a great starting point for important discussions and uncover things that you might not realize about yourself (and how you interact with others) that are either preventing or supporting your leadership potential.
Take classes. It’s amazing how just learning a new subject can teach you not only the topic at hand, but also about yourself, too. For example, a friend recently took a class in meditation and learned all about the history and techniques of this ancient practice. What she didn’t expect was to learn how impatient she was, particularly when it came to self-improvement—a pattern she realized trickled over into her career and professional leadership goals. She wanted instant results, which in many disciplines, is often impossible. Drawn to simply do something new, which she considered fun and different, she learned something she hadn’t known about herself before and took this powerful lesson to heart. When was the last time you branched out and took a class just for fun or for the purpose of doing something new and different?
We’ve all taken classes at some point in our lives, so what did you learn about yourself in a particular class—not just the subject but perhaps a bigger lesson that shed critical light on your professional development?