“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” Lao
The best managers are curious — curious to understand themselves better and curious to understand their team members better. In fact, without developing our self awareness, it’s very difficult to grow as a manager.
This involves asking ourselves important questions. For example; what are my values and drivers? What are my natural strengths? How do I work best? What drives me mad? Where are my blind spots?
It also involves having the curiosity to understand others. What are the motivators for others in the team? How can we combine our strengths and offset each other's weaknesses?
Why are self-aware managers nailing it?
People who see themselves clearly are better performers, according to research:
- They’re more promotable and make better leaders
- They’re better communicators and influencers
- They have stronger relationships
Research also shows that when people are in doubt about what behaviour is appropriate, they copy others—particularly those who have power and status. (This is why the best leaders model the behaviors that they want to see in return). So self-aware managers make for a self-aware team; one that keeps emotions in check, shows curiosity towards others and plays to their strengths.
So, who are you really?
Who am I? This is one of life’s eternal questions. It’s an interesting philosophical question - if you like that kind of thing! But it’s also hugely practical. If you want to be a better manager and colleague, you need to have a clear understanding of yourself.
What’s more important - nature of nurture?
Brian Little describes three components that make us who we are:
- Nature - we are shaped by our genetic and physical make up, we are naturally programmed to react to different stimuli since birth.
- Nurture - we are shaped by our environment. We decide what we ought to do based on social convention. The culture of the country we live in, the organization we work in or the team with whom we work.
- Free will - we are shaped by our own freewill to decide what we are passionate about. What personal projects we want to pursue.
It follows, that we can become more self aware if:
- We recognise our biogenic nature - out natural strengths...
- We understand the culture in which we work and how this shapes or nurtures us..
- We exercise our free will by being intentional about the projects we wish to pursue...
“Every person is in certain respects like all other people, like some other people and like no other person”.
What can we do to know ourselves better?
There are a number of different approaches to understanding ourselves better
Use a profiling tool
Personality and values surveys are a great way to kick-off some self-reflection. We have a couple that you can get started with
- Personality tests. Our house tool is the Big 5 .
- Our values. We have a survey to understand values
Find out more about our psychometric surveys here.
Complete a personal profile
It's a summary of your strengths, weaknesses, motivations, preferred ways of working etc. Written by you but designed to be sharable with your team to help them learn who you are and how you work. Essentially a cheat sheet or user manual on you as a person. Answering the questions in a personal profile is a great way to reflect on who you are and how you work with others. If you’ve already completed a personality survey, it can help you complete your profile.
You’re not a finished piece and neither is your personal profile! It should always be a work in progress.
Here's an example of a personal profile you can use to get started with. Feel free to adapt it, add or remove sections to make it your own.
Develop an appreciation and an understanding for how other people see us. This is best developed through regular, open feedback. Asking those we work with and our friends and family. Schedule a one-to-one with someone who knows you well and use Saberr's feedback template to drive the discussion.