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The Magic of a Single Moment of Self-Awareness and Its Effect on Leadership

Posted by Samantha Mikos on April 30, 2017

Leaders take many shapes of character. There are the strong and bold, the brave and courageous, and even sometimes there is a quiet, guiding leader. Every leader is unique. Each one has a different background, motives and ideals. And while I have experience in multiple leadership roles, the one question I continue to ask myself is this: what does it take to be a good leader?

Oftentimes, leaders are assumed to be the strongest element in their companies. They may be the foundation that the company was built on, or they may be a seasoned executive and brought in for that particular expertise. Whatever the case may be, many of these leaders have a heightened sense of self-awareness.

Self-awareness is more than a concept of understanding one’s own emotions. I’ve heard this phrase at The Junto Institute about self-awareness in companies: “What got them to where they are may not get them to where they want to be.” It can be hard for a company to come to grips with the idea that their troubles might be due to their own leadership team.

When a leader recognizes that s/he may need help to guide their company along the right path, that self-awareness can be golden. In my experience, it is this self-awareness that allows leaders to be malleable to the tides of business. At The Junto Institute, we enable this path of self-awareness to unfold through various parts of the program.

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For instance, in our Mentor Team Meetings, we have companies discuss issues that they are currently facing in their businesses. I recently observed the CEO of a company go through an exercise in self-awareness within a two-hour session and the result was remarkable. At the end of the session, the CEO acknowledged that he had a predetermined idea of what the outcomes of the meeting would be; he thought he knew what shared experiences the JuntoMentors would have and, in turn, that blocked his perspective of the topics. That self-awareness, to me, was magic. By opening his perspective, the CEO put himself in better position to lead.

And if he was limiting himself during a Junto session, when else might he do the same? And how likely is it that he notices and acknowledges it?

I always knew that self-awareness was a process in my personal and professional development but I don’t think I ever grasped the magnitude of how much it can impact a business. Every leader goes through road bumps. But in order to cope, manage, and overcome those obstacles, we must first have the self-awareness of what defines our success as leaders.

I still don’t know the complete answer to my question nor do I think I will ever fully solve the puzzle. What I do know is that every shade of leader I have met since working at Junto has had a strengthened sense of self-awareness, and I will choose to continue following that guiding light.

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