The Most Important Leadership Skill

Leadership Competencies

Leadership Competencies Poll Results

A few years back, we ran a poll on which leadership “Selfie” people felt to be the most important for leaders in business/the workplace. The above image shows the responses we received.

  • 70% felt self-awareness was most important
  • 20% felt self-direction was important
  • 10% felt self-confidence was most important
  • Self-regulation received 0% of the vote

As you can see self awareness tops the poll significantly.

We have to say that we weren’t really that surprised at the responses. Perhaps a little surprised that self regulation received no votes.

In-depth “Leadership Selfie” Poll Results

We did some follow up with some of the people we knew had completed the poll and they gave us their views in a little more depth.

They told us that it is important to know yourself [be self aware] in order to understand your strengths and weaknesses, BUT – more importantly – to know the impact you have on those around you in order to relate effectively and influence.

By influence they explained it’s important to be able to motivate teams, and impact with vision and credibility on those we wish to do business with or decision-makers NOT to coerce.

The poll and feedback got us thinking!

Self awareness is actually THE key to unlocking ALL of those other “leadership selfies” in our poll.

Why is Self Awareness THE Most Important Leadership Competency?

To take an Abba song:

Knowing Me, Knowing You!

Self-Confidence from Self-Awareness

Knowing ourselves [self awareness] gives us self confidence on so many levels:-

  • in our communication with others.
  • knowing our strengths and weaknesses to target opportunities, or delegate the things that are not within our area of expertise.
  • to choose and direct because we know ourselves.
  • to know our best collaboration partnerships and,
  • how to build better teams because we understand the strengths that complement our own.

Self-Direction from Self-Awareness

When we know and understand our strengths and weaknesses we can be self directed in our learning; aware of the areas for improvement.

Self awareness drives our vision of success and our determination to pursue it; knowing where to target our energies to maximise our potential. We can understand our own contribution to the business better and direct ourselves and others with a sense of strong, clear vision for achievement.

Leaders with strong self direction bring clarity and focus within their teams. They tend to be self assured, confident and are able to instil confidence even in the midst of most challenging times.

Self Awareness Creates Self-Regulated Leadership

Put simply, self regulation is knowing how to behave to achieve a desired response, or even simpler just knowing how to behave. If we understand ourselves [self awareness] we know how our communication, style, demeanour impacts on others. Self-aware leaders know how to motivate their teams.

Understanding what drives us, what angers and frustrates us, and most importantly how the recipient will respond to us, means we can adapt and change to get the best out of people and situations. Leaders can influence others better because we know when we need to be more or less concise in our communication, or when we need to be direct or persuasive – self awareness enables us to regulate our behaviour and responses we need to engage others.

So for us it was unsurprising self awareness came top in our poll as we believe it underpins everything needed to be successful in leadership.

That doesn’t detract from self confidence, self direction and self regulation being important leadership competencies in their own right – you need all four “selfies” to be truly successful – but self awareness allows us to be confident, clear, and able to manage our behaviour.

Ultimately great leaders are self aware and unafraid of using their self awareness honestly. It’s no good being self aware if you can’t be honest with yourself and others.

Why not give us a call to explore leadership “selfies” further for you and your business.

Or let us know below which “Leadership Selfie” you think is most important.