Feedback and self-awareness is at the core of success. Feedback is also the breakfast of champions.
When you understand yourself, how others see you and how you fit into the world you are far more likely to succeed. We all know the co-worker who thinks they are brilliant at presentations while putting everyone to sleep. Or the boss who has an open-door policy yet yells and screams when they get feedback they don’t want to hear. What about the manager who thinks they are approachable and yet the team is terrified of approaching them.
As quickly as you criticize others for being unaware of their own behaviors, how often do you ask this question of yourself. How self-aware are you? Do you really understand how others see you? If not then this could be an impediment to success.
Self awareness is a key to success
There is very strong evidence that people who are self-aware are happier, make smarter decisions, are better at interpersonal relationships, are more confident and make better communicators.
Imagine if you had a boss, co-worker or employee who was highly attuned to how others see them. It’s likely they are better performers, less likely to lie and cheat, they make more effective leaders and lead more profitable companies. And you – would you be happier working for them or under them?
What if you worked alongside someone who is not self-aware? How would they impact your own performance?
Lack of self-awareness is risky at best and can be disastrous. For example, you might think you are dad of the year despite being divorced three times because you were always working. Or the mother who prides herself on being there for her kids yet is constantly on her smartphone oblivious of what the kids are up to. Next time you are near a playground check how many parents are fully engaged with their kids.
Lack of self-awareness brings down team performance
Your success in the workplace depends on how you come across to others; your customers, employees, co-workers, other team members, peers and the greater community at large.
Research has shown team members who are not aware of how they come across and how others perceive them reduces quality decision making by an average of 36%. They hurt coordination by as much as 46% and increase conflict by 30%. Imagine the impact team members who have no self-awareness have on a business.
You have probably worked with people who have no idea how they come across to others. Worse still, you may have a boss who has no idea of the effect they have on you. Not only do people who have no self-awareness have a major impact on you, they have a major impact on all they come in contact with. A leader with no self awareness can bring down a business.
The 6 distinct attributes of people who are self-aware
- Self-aware people understand their values and they live by them.
- They aspire to better themselves – and what they want to experience and achieve.
- They love what they do and bring passion into their life, job or business.
- They also demonstrate a consistent pattern to their behavior and the way they think.
- They understand the impact they have on others.
- They tend to fit into the environment around them are energized and engaged.
The higher up the corporate ladder, the more self-aware you need to be. If you run or own a business, the more self-aware you need to be. Unaware leaders who tend to thrive on chaos are far more likely to derail. As their power increases, research tells us so does their level of confidence increase to the point where they over-estimate their abilities and refuse to listen to the opinion of their trusted advisors. Here’s an example.
In 1971, Pehr Gylenhammer took over as chair of Volvo. He had no interest in maintaining a low profile, in fact he did the exact opposite. He drove a custom car painted red complete with a red interior. He liked his cars to be cheeky and provocative just like him and that’s how he ran the company.
In the early days he basked in success which seemed to work. His people called him the emperor after the story the emperor with no clothes, He was over-confident and refused to take advice from anyone. This led to Gylenhammer pursuing risky deals with paltry returns. As the years went by Volvo began to report losses and as a result plants closed down. He loaded the board with friends therefore decisions went unchallenged.
In 1993 Volvo announced a merger with the French Automaker Renault. The problem was, Volvo managers were not on board and they were convinced it was a poor business decision and they were being sold down the river. Gylenhammer ignored their pleas and upped the projections from 4.8 billion to 7.4 billion with no data to support these inflated figures.
Minority shareholders began to speak up including his father who ran Skandia insurance – Volvos largest shareholder. Gylenhammer made it abundantly clear he wouldn’t listen others opinions. It became as an utter shock to Gylenhammer when Volvo investors eventually banded together to put pressure on the board. As a result, the board withdrew the proposal for the merger. Gylenhammer was blindsided and resigned. He didn’t realize he had so many enemies. His inability to see himself as others saw him and accept feedback was his downfall. He attributed his failure to a personal vendetta and not to his inability to receive and accept feedback.
The Ostrich Syndrome
Imagine if your manner scared off prospective customers. Your leadership style meant you couldn’t hold onto talented employees or your brashness put people off at networking events.
When a single person provides feedback, it’s a perspective – their perspective. The same feedback from two people becomes a pattern. The same feedback from three or more people becomes more of a reality and closer to the fact. When multiple people tell you the same thing, it’s difficult to explain it away.
On a final note
If you stick your head in the sand like an ostrich – you too risk being blindsided. It’s far better to seek feedback and hear it on your terms not on someone’s else’s. For some, it’s easier to choose self-delusion over self-awareness.
By opening yourself up to feedback on a regular basis, you will continue to grow and prosper.
In a Nutshell
- Feedback and self-awareness is at the core of success.
- Do you really understand how others see you? If not then this could be an impediment to success.
- Self-aware people are happier, make smarter decisions, are better at interpersonal relationships, are more confident and make better communicators.
- Lack of self-awareness is risky at best and can be disastrous.
- Lack of self-awareness brings down team performance.
- It’s far better to seek feedback and hear it on your terms not on someone’s else’s.