If you aspire to be the kind of leader who uses their head to manage and their heart to lead, getting your interactions with others right depends first on getting you right. And getting you right requires both introspection (casting a caring yet clinically objective eye on your interests, skills, qualities and values) and self-awareness (a non-judgmental understanding of how you respond, react, engage and interact).
Know your early warning signs for being over-stressed. Do you withdraw? Shout? Reach for chocolate? Be alert to your reactions and take control of the situation before you go into melt-down (and lash out at others or eat six candy bars).
You cannot prevent the birds of worry and care from flying over your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your head. ~Proverb
Know if you over- or under-estimate your capabilities. Whichever way you lean, build the appropriate variances into your schedule and viewpoint. Give others a heads-up on your natural inclinations (or maybe they already know from past experience!) so they’re prepared.
Know your default settings. Is your natural preference one of straight-forward telling? Asking 20 questions? Advocating? Writing rather than talking? Is your default a strength, or has it become a weakness due to over-use? Ask folks around you and find out.
Know your style of humor. Whether your humor is subtle, sly or raucous, know what makes you laugh. And do it often.
Know your fears. Poke around in what makes you afraid and understand why you fear it. Is your fear rooted in a lack of confidence or knowledge or loss of control? Can you (and others) live with it, or must it be tackled and tamed?
Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it. ~John Putnam, Jr.
Know your passions. Glory in those things that make your heart sing and your eyes light up. Share them, too!
Know your idiosyncrasies. What little quirks make you unique, or could possibly make people crazy? I love pens - old ones, new ones, luxurious ones, cheap ones. I’ve never met a pen I didn’t like and have baskets full of them, a constant source of good-hearted amusement (thank goodness) for my hubby.
The point of getting to know yourself is not to be self-centered, but rather to build an emotionally intelligent foundation for working and interacting effectively with others. Let’s make it so!
(You’ll find more insights in part one here.)