What is the most important characteristic of a leader? Some might say it’s integrity while others may say a leader needs to be a good motivator. Leading researchers cite self-awareness as the most important capability for leaders to develop. Successful leaders know where their natural inclinations lie and use this knowledge to boost those inclinations or compensate for them.1
Self-aware leaders recognize their personality, emotions, and skills helping them to understand their leadership strengths and weaknesses. Leaders who know themselves:
- exhibit expert interpersonal skills,
- engage as more effective partners, and
- ensure team members feel comfortable and safe at work so that they can contribute to the best of their abilities.
The importance of self-awareness in leaders lies in how it fosters psychological safety to invite self-exploration. Team members aren’t afraid to be themselves, express new ideas, or ask for help when they’re supported by an in-tune and self aware leader.