Self Awareness Leadership

Truly Effective Leadership Comes With Self-Awareness

Would you want to work for you? Self Awareness Leadership

Asking yourself this question can greatly improve your leadership skills. Why? Because it’s a first step toward greater self-awareness, which has been proven to be an essential trait of effective leaders.

Self awareness helps leaders to know their natural dispositions and preferences so they can improve upon or compensate for them as needed. It also improves the bottom line. A 2013 study by Korn/Ferry International discovered that “public companies with a higher rate of return (ROR) also employ professionals who exhibit higher levels of self-awareness.”

Wherever you are on the spectrum of self-awareness, consider taking a fresh look at how it can transport your leadership skills to new heights.

Self Awareness Leads To More Emotional IntelligenceEffective leadership

Being self-aware, according to Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, is “one of the core components of emotional intelligence.”

And strong emotional intelligence can give you the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others. You can then use that awareness to better guide your own behavior and your relationships with self and others — which makes you a leader that people want to follow.

World renowned researcher who coined the term “emotional intelligence,” Daniel Goleman, elaborates on this concept in a recent business article from The Telegraph. He explains, “If you think of the worst and best bosses you’ve ever had, it had nothing to do with their title or degree, but everything to do with the kind of person they were – for example, whether they were emotionally intelligent or not. People want to work for a person who is.”

If this all makes sense to you, then you’re ready to commit to gaining greater self awareness.

Try These Strategies to Improve Self-Awareness

Here are some easy ways to start down the path to heightened self awareness.

  1. Use one of the many tests available to better understand your behavior and mSelf Awareness Leadershipotives. Some good ones include:
  • Leadership Circle ProfileNot only tells you what is or is not contributing to a leader’s effectiveness, but also tells you “ why” this is so. It gives the leader causational insight into what is happening beneath the surface.
  • Myers Briggs – Reveals your “sweet spot” personality for working and communicating with others, which may or may not be the optimal approach in your work with others.
  • CliftonStrengths (formerly Strengthsfinder) – Shows you your “natural strengths,” which the test defines as your thinking style or the type of work you thrive on.
  1. Learn what triggers your behaviors. What particular drivers make you react a certain way—and why? What are your personal or professional blind spots? Identifying and understanding your triggers can help you achieve more productive interactions with others.
  2. Practice mindfulness. One of the key benefits of practicing mindfulness is a direct increase in self-awareness. The Harvard Business Review recently cited their work with a global IT company from Silicon Valley which showed that “even just five weeks of 10 minutes of daily mindfulness training enhanced the participating leaders’ self-awareness up to 35%.”
  3. Ask for feedback. This can sometimes be tough to hear, so choose someone you trust to share their view of your typical interactions. Be open to what they have to say – and be willing to implement changes if they are in alignment with your priorities and values.
  4. Be easy on yourself. Remember, you’re a work in progress! Look at your successes and what you’ve learned objectively, acknowledging what you did well – and what you might do differently next time. Learning from our mistakes is a key component of gaining self awareness.

Along with the tips above, there’s one more thing for self-aware leaders to practice…

Strong Leaders Combine Self-awareness leadershipSelf-Awareness With Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is simply being aware of how your behavior impacts those you lead and then making adjustments as needed. This proves to your team that you want to bring out their best, without being intimidating or negative.

Leaders with both self-awareness and self-regulation skills set a positive example for their team members to follow, building teams that are more motivated, productive, and willing to courageously grow in their own right.

As a leader, could you ask for anything more?

Looking for more strategies on how to be a leader who is courageously self-aware? Sign up here to access my free Weekly Bold Move.

Transformational leadership | Transformational leader | Leadership

Are You Simply A Leader – Or Are You A Transformational Leader?

Are you satisfied with the leadership style you currently practice? Does being a leader come easily to you – or do you feel you have to work at it more than others? Whatever your answer, here’s some good news: there’s a way for every leader—at every level—to achieve greater levels of success for themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

How? With transformational leadership.

Let’s start by taking in a little background on transformational leadership. Then, I’ll walk you through the traits you can employ to become a successful transformational leader.

What Is Transformational Leadership?

This technique was first put forward by James MacGregor Burns, a presidential biographer turned leadership expert. Burns stated that transformational leadership happens when leaders and followers help each other reach higher levels of motivation and success.

Burns’ ideas were later expanded by researcher Bernard M. Bass, who stated that effective transformational leaders earn respect, admiration, and trust from the people they lead.

Transformational leaders aren’t just business smart. They have a passion for their work and the ability to transfer that passion to the people they lead. They’re focused on helping every member of their group succeed and can inspire positive changes in those who follow them.

Although this sounds like a tall order, it’s really quite easy once you understand the basic principles.

The Four Basic Leadership Principles

Bass outlined four basic components of this leadership style, and they help bring home just how effective it can be. If you’re not already, consider how you might incorporate these components into the way you lead…and how you may use these to inspire those around you.

  • Intellectual Stimulation– Transformational leadership means encouraging those you lead to be creative, challenge the status quo, and discover new learning opportunities. This is the opposite of the more “technical” leadership style that dominated the late 20th
  • Individualized Consideration– This style means offering one-on-one support and encouragement to followers. It requires open communication styles so all feel free to share ideas, and intends for leaders to recognize each person’s unique contribution to the group’s success.
  • Inspirational Motivation– Leaders are able to create a clear vision of success, communicate it to their groups, and generate the passion and motivation needed to achieve goals.
  • Idealized Influence– In all cases, transformational leaders are role models for those they lead. Because of their trust and respect for their leader, groups will model and internalize that person’s ideals.

How To Be A Transformational Leader

Building on the ideas above, there are five ways that transformational leaders set themselves apart and drive success for everyone they lead. How many of these do you routinely practice?

  1. Practice Personal Accountability – Research says this is the biggest element for success. Transformational leaders can ask themselves what they need to do better or can recognize what is or isn’t working well. They don’t place blame on external circumstances and don’t wait for those circumstances to change to move forward. Does this ring true in your leadership practices?
  2. Connect With Your Values, Strengths, and Purpose – Write down your values and spend a few minutes each morning deciding how you will bring your full, authentic self to your workplace. Knowing your sense of purpose makes you more confident and flexible when facing stress, changes, and challenges. Who doesn’t want that?
  3. Be Willing To Try New Behaviors And Actions – When old behaviors aren’t working, transformational leaders are willing to try something new, to be more flexible in different situations. Try asking yourself, “Who’s the best self I can be in this particular situation?” and then decide on your actions. How might this kind of agility help you succeed, both in your professional and personal life?
  4. Exercise Curiosity Versus Judgement – We’re hard wired to take the shortest path to our goal, but this also means we can lead “by habit,” making unconscious judgements or assumptions without even realizing it. A good reflective question is “How can I look at this situation differently so we can all achieve ultimate success?” or “What assumptions am I making that I could see differently?”
  5. Find Opportunity In Change – Rather than wasting energy fighting change (in project scope, resources, etc.), transformational leaders ask themselves what’s good about the situation or what can be learned from it. Look for ways to develop something new from the change. It’s not always easy, but it can reap big rewards. How could you apply this right now in your leadership role?

According to Burns, transformational leadership simply tries to answer the essential questions: What is the ultimate goal of leadership and why should someone become a leader?

It’s a very different technique than “My way or the highway.” And it reaps better rewards for everyone it touches. How would practicing transformational leadership make a difference in your organization?

Looking for ways to be a transformational leader who can inspire everyone in your organization to reach higher levels of success? Sign up here to access my free Weekly Bold Move.

Career advice for leaders , Smart leadership strategies , Career achievement moves for leaders

Leaders, Try These Smart Strategies to Reach Your Goals

Strong leaders spend a good deal of time focusing on the success of the people who work for them – sometimes at the expense of their own career achievements.

If your leadership abilities alone are not taking you where you want to go in your career, try incorporating the following smart strategies to reach your goals.

Career Achievement Moves for Leaders

Shift Your Leadership Focus – Just like the people they supervise, leaders are more effective when their work feels meaningful. Have you lost the drive for your work? Look for actions you can take to create more meaning in what you do.

Try “job crafting,” says Yale professor Amy Wrzesniewski in a recent article on successful leaders. This means being proactive about adding meaningful tasks – however you define them – into your workday and making them part of your job.

Don’t Wait To Be Ready – Even the best of us can create excuses about why we’re not where we want to be. Yet, putting off your career goals means waiting that much longer to actually achieve them. Take some common sense advice from a career advice article and “ just go for it” – even if you don’t feel ready. Now that’s what I call a bold move!

Lead by Building Up Others – While this may seem like a given, it often takes conscious effort. When you show your confidence and trust in others, you make them stronger and build relationships that can help you reach your career goals. A win-win!

Leaders Practice Accountability – According to a 2015 study done at Dominican University of California, over 70 percent of participants who sent weekly updates to another person accomplished their goal or made steady progress – compared to the 35 percent of participants who didn’t write down or share their progress. As a leader, demonstrating strong accountability skills sets a strong example for your team.

At Authentic Leadership International (, we partner with leaders around the globe to develop effective ways to improve your leadership skills – while keeping your own unique career goals in mind.

Words of Wisdom from Successful Leaders

While we each have our own path, it’s often good to hear how other corporate leaders have achieved success. Here are a few quotes to inspire you from the site:

  • Richard Branson: The Virgin Group founder asserts, “The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me… a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”
  • Emily Hughes:  A business consultant for Google Fiber, Emily’s advice is to talk to a lot of people. “It was a way for me to recognize what skills I had, and also what skills I wanted to learn to be able to do what I wanted to do.”
  • Sheryl Sandburg: “Believe you can do anything. This is important for everyone and especially for women. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t have both a meaningful professional career and a fulfilling personal life. When you hear someone say you can’t do something, know that you can and start figuring out how,” affirms Facebook’s COO.
  • Jim Whitehurst: The Red Hat CEO states, “Find a rhythm where you can have enough time for family and friends, feel satisfied emotionally, and still excel at work, because building a great career is a marathon, not a sprint.”

As a leader, focusing on your personal career goals is never wrong. In fact, it sets an amazing example for your team members on what to do right to succeed.

Looking for new and bolder ways to manage your teams while making steady progress in your own leadership career? Sign up here to access my free Weekly Bold Move.


Image courtesy of freedooom at

Redefining The Smart Business Team

When building or re-working a team, don’t assume that people with high IQs or extroverts automatically make the best team members.

Shared in a recent New York Times article, two corroborative studies by professors at Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, and Union College revealed some eyebrow-raising results on what constitutes a smart, well-functioning team.

The Big Three

  • Equal Contribution – The study showed that in smart teams, all members of the group contributed equally to discussions – rather than the group being dominated by only one or two people.

Did you know? With their quiet presence, introverts often make highly effective listeners, are open to suggestions, and come up with creative insights for improvement. These qualities can bring a grounding presence, particularly to more “vocal” teams, according to an HBR piece covering the many advantages of quiet leaders.

  • Emotional Intuitiveness – Members of smart teams scored higher on a test called Reading The Mind In The Eyes that measured the ability to “read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.” To use a more current phrase you may already be familiar with, team members had increased emotional intelligence.
  • A Higher Percentage of Women – Results showed that teams with more women performed better than those with more men. Study authors think this is partly because on average, women are better than men at “reading the mind” as explained above.

These three factors are key whether members are working face to face or come together from remote locations via web meeting tools. If team members can consistently “consider and keep track of what other people feel, know and believe,” the group will thrive, according to the study.

At Authentic Leadership International (, we can help you not only create smarter teams – but increase their levels of success through effective leadership approaches.

A Secret Ingredient

On the site, a study by Professor Alex Pentland, director of the MIT Connection Science and Human Dynamics labs, showed that building social capital also created strong, intelligent teams.

Building social capital simply means investing in the connections among team members to create a climate where team members trust each other—even if they don’t necessarily like each other. The focus is on everyone performing to their optimum level for the good of the organization as a whole.

High levels of trust generate a climate of safety and honesty, making it easier for team members to share knowledge, support each other, and ask for help when needed. They’re also secure enough to present the “out of the box” suggestions or probing questions.

With these factors in play, your smart team will forge the way to success.

Looking for new and bolder ways to manage your teams, including how to select smarter team members? Sign up here to access my free Weekly Bold Move.


Image courtesy of Ambro at

How To Recognize And Defeat Decision Fatigue

While the act of making a decision seems simple enough, too much of it for too long can lead to something known as decision fatigue. By definition, decision fatigue means that after long periods of decision making, it’s harder to make good decisions.

Yes, it’s a real condition and if not recognized and controlled, it can wreak havoc in both your business and personal life.

Recognizing Decision Fatigue

A recent article on described how a business owner or anyone in corporate leadership could recognize the onset of decision fatigue.

  • Becoming a “bottleneck” to the smooth operation of your business or department. This can happen if either purposefully or by default you’ve become “the answer person,” i.e. the one that everyone comes to with every possible question or concern.
  • Making even simple decisions, like granting an employee’s request for time off, takes longer than is really necessary.
  • Continually putting off a big decision that needs to be made. According to the article, “Whether it’s spending money on new equipment or new employees, you’re probably facing several decisions that could have profound effects on your business. If you’ve been vacillating over these decisions for weeks or even months, decision fatigue has taken hold.”
  • Noticing that your behavior is more impulsive than what’s normal for you. Examples could be spending money (or more money) on unnecessary items, binge eating, or extended time playing games on your phone.

We at Authentic Leadership International ( have a plethora of effective tools and strategies to keep decision fatigue at bay.

Controlling Its Effects

An article on the Forbes website presents three steps preventing or overcoming decision fatigue:

  1. Determine whether or not the decision you need to make is consistent with your core values. If it isn’t consistent, rework your decision.
  2. Consider the worst-case scenario and its outcomes. If you believe you can live with those results should they happen, then choose that course.
  3. Figure out how the decision will impact you in terms of time, people, and money. If the benefits are worth the costs, go ahead with your decision.

We don’t like to think so, but our mental energy is a limited resource that’s easily depleted. Today’s myriad of choices can drain us before we even realize what’s happening, so it’s critical that we learn to recognize decision fatigue and repair it before it causes too much damage in any aspect of our lives. describes this new way of making decisions as “making decisions that free us from making more decisions.”  In other words, delegate. Empower employees to make decisions within their scope of control so that you no longer have to be “the answer person” for every issue.


Looking for a way to build bold leadership and to reduce decision fatigue? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at