Self-Awareness wasn’t Invented by Dope Smoking Hippies
I used to think self-awareness was invented by dope smoking hippies. But now I see the weight of self-blindness.
You are self-blind, at least partially.
Last night an *80 year old woman said she asked her son if she was a complainer. He said, “Yes.” She doesn’t think of herself as a complainer but someone who knows her well does.
What if you’re a complainer and don’t know it?
Years ago a leader painfully learned he was self-blind to complaining. The feedback felt like a punch in the gut.
As a Director he had one-on-ones with the Chief Information Officer. One day, during their meeting – while he complained – the CIO asked, “Do you like anyone on your team?” It stunned *him.
What if you’re a spiralling vortex of despair when you’re trying to make things bright? (I confess. That’s a little dramatic.)
Be bold before you’re beautiful:
Self-awareness includes learning to see yourself the way others see you.
Try this bold five step project.
#1. List three people who know you well.
#2. Schedule off-site conversations with each. Lunch?
#3. In the meeting, ask for feedback. “I trust you. I’m looking for feedback. I’m committed to developing my leadership.”
#4. Draw a line on a blank piece of paper. At the left end of the line write, “Always.” On the right end write, “Never.”
#5. Ask them to put a mark on the line that indicates their response to the following question.
How frequently do you hear me complaining?
Ask two questions.
#1. Why didn’t you make the mark further to the left?
#2. How might I move the mark further to the right?
Have a conversation. Explore behaviors. Thank them.
In order to manage influence, you must see your impact on others.
How might leaders develop self-awareness?
How might you use the line-tool in other ways?
*The stories in this post are thin slices of life that regard people I respect. Both of them are awesome people. Their stories encourage me when I see self-blindness in myself. The Director is now the CIO.