Leaders come and go – some are forgotten after their reign, while others are remembered long after their term leaving a legacy of great leadership. But why? What is it that makes a leader great? What is at the core of effective and inspirational leadership?
The answer is simple — self awareness — pure, vulnerability-based reflection and awareness of self. Not just once in a while, but as part of a daily routine – a habitual tendency.
Leadership is best cultivated from the inside out – looking inward, gaining an understanding and sense of self, and being aware of the impact on others. This can be accomplished in many ways – through leadership development, assessments, intentionally exposing vulnerability, or simply having ‘a good look in the mirror’ perspective.
When asked in a 2011 Forbes Magazine interview about the most important abilities that distinguish the best leaders from average leaders, Daniel Goleman (author, psychologist, and science journalist) stated self-awareness is one of the top three most critical. He believes that the ability to manage yourself through self-awareness is the very basis of managing others.
Bottom line…if an individual is effective at the core, i.e., self aware, emotionally intelligent, authentic and comfortable with vulnerability, then what comes next will be truly effective leadership with great followership that is long remembered by those impacted.
To read about how leaders can increase self-awareness, this brief article from Inc. Magazine provides practical advice.