Being self-aware, understanding how we are perceived by others, and seeking feedback about how to improve our contribution to the business are important components of personal growth and leadership success.
Self-aware leaders have clear knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses and are committed to continually enhancing their skills.
They take charge of their personal growth and development because they know that it will help them maximize their potential in their current role and prepare them for future opportunities.
One of the keys to self-awareness is proactively seeking out helpful feedback from others and keeping your mind open to their opinions in terms of how you could improve your effectiveness in the organization.
The other key is engaging in thoughtful self-reflection—“holding up the mirror,” so to speak—to hone strengths that you can leverage and become more aware of your personal opportunities for improvement.
Understanding both of these areas increases your self-knowledge and has the potential to make a positive impact on your personal performance.
The simplest and most straightforward way to hold up the mirror is to conduct a personal SWOT analysis. Use the following framework and questions to guide your personal inquiry:
Conducting this analysis will help you gain a better understanding of your current strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats you are facing. However, having a complete list of your personal SWOT doesn’t mean you should try to tackle everything at once!
Instead, take things more slowly and focus in on a few key areas. Use the questions below to help you prioritize and narrow your list to the things that will help you gain immediate traction. This will help you focus your growth and development efforts on the right areas:
- What is the most critical improvement needed for me to be successful in my current role?
- What is the most important strength I have that I can leverage?
- Do I need to gain other skills/knowledge or make other improvements before the targeted improvement area can be effectively addressed?
- What are the areas that I can begin to improve upon immediately?
- Which areas support my development and align with my career aspirations?
- In which development area(s) will I receive the most support and resources?
Simply knowing what your strengths are and the ways in which you need to improve isn’t enough. You have to use this knowledge to take action and make the choice to learn and grow in ways that will enhance your short- and long-term success in the business. Because the pace of change continues to intensify all around us, it’s imperative that we engage in self-reflection and continuous learning.
No matter what your job is in your specific organization, having strong self-awareness and a commitment to growth and learning will help you as you maximize your performance in your current role, prepare for future opportunities, and use your strengths to work through your weaknesses.
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