I have to be honest; I don’t like looking inside myself. Being introspective can be a very scary thing. It’s much easier to play the blame game; blame my team, blame my boss, my co-workers, other departments. There’s no shortage of people or things to blame if you really want to.
But, this is the thing; when we blame we lose power. We become victims. Where do you go from there? I’d rather place myself in a position of control rather than being a victim.
The key is to being more introspective, as scary as that may be. When we learn to practice being introspective and move into a place of discomfort, that’s where the growth happens. We need to take the time to read and understand our own emotions, our triggers, how we respond to others and how others respond to us. When we assess what we say, how we say it and what we do, we become more aware. We can begin to understand why we are / aren’t influencing people to choose the behaviours we want.
Let me explain this to you another way. If your success depends on the cooperation of another individual or group, then you have no choice. You must practice self-awareness and accept personal accountability for achieving the results you want.
Before you play the blame game, ask yourself these questions:
- What are my blind spots? We all have them. Ask for feedback.
- Do my values and beliefs connect? For example, I may value autonomy, however, I believe my team cannot execute tasks to my standard, therefore I micromanage.
- How do I respond to people with different values and beliefs? Do I show understanding, or do I tend to push my ideas and values?
- Do I have a positive mental state? Or am I cynical and negative when things go wrong.
- When was the last time I learned something new? Am I discovering new ways of thinking so I can inspire?
- Do I truly listen? Am I present when speaking with others? Or am I thinking about what and how I am going to respond?
When you get the answers to the questions above, you may discover an uncomfortable truth.
But, what I know, is that when you spend the time to build true awareness of yourself, you can become the Leader your teams really need.