“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle
We live in the age of digital disruption. Change happens more rapidly, and more often. Business models that worked for many years are made obsolete overnight. But for some, the change may have been like the frog in the pot of hot water that only slowly reaches a boil. The frog does not notice until it is too late. However, the rapid onset of a global pandemic represents scalding water being dumped into the pot all at once. Leaders had little time to react. Only the most prepared and agile leaders do well under those circumstances.
Leadership at any time is challenging, but leadership in a crisis is a special challenge. Even if your industry “pot” is not yet boiling, leaders will face great changes in the months ahead and will have to make many critical decisions. Do you know if you are ready?
Self-Awareness is Key
The foundation of effective leadership is a strong sense of self-awareness and honesty about personal strengths and weaknesses. As the quotes from both Lao Tzu and Aristotle show, the importance of self-awareness is ancient wisdom. It is the first principle of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995). If you cannot accurately assess your own emotions and manage them, how could you possibly understand others’ emotions or build the trust that enables leadership? And being a leader that people trust is paramount during a crisis.
How Do You Improve Your Self-awareness?
If you are fortunate enough to be in an organization that uses a 360° feedback tool you may have received some insight into how your leadership is perceived by others. Another way to learn how you “show up” as a leader is to ask for feedback from managers, peers, or team members. If you have ever attended a leadership development course, you have likely done an assessment or two about leadership style or your strengths and values. There are many of these single-topic assessments. Taking time for reflection on your behavior or journaling are also ways to increase self-insight.
In my experience, there are many businesses and organizations that may be too small to use a 360° feedback system or the system has been designed poorly, yielding little actionable information. It can also be challenging to get good feedback from others. Further, if you have conducted a job search recently, you may have been asked to complete a personality assessment or other tool, as part of the selection process. This is becoming more common. In many cases, as a candidate, you do not receive the results. Wouldn’t it be better to know your strengths and opportunities for improvement so you could address them in the interview process?
The Hogan Lead Series
One of the most popular and respected instruments for selection as well as for assessing leadership potential is the Hogan Lead Series. I consider the Hogan Lead as the “gold-standard” for leadership development. (See box to the right). There are a number or reasons for this:
- The Hogan Lead Series is a package of 3 assessments that complement one another. By identifying one’s strengths, potential derailers, and values, it provides a robust picture of leadership aptitude and challenges.
- The Hogan provides a perspective on how others see you. You answer assessment questions based on your identity, i.e., how you see yourself. The assessment results reflect a picture of how others will see you, called your reputation. Hogan’s 50 years of research data and sophisticated algorithms make this possible. This eliminated the need for 360° feedback.
- The Hogan result are delivered by highly trained and certified consultants/coaches who interpret the results, considering the interactions between the three scales. The coach is there to answer any questions and provide support. The Hogan is a sophisticated instrument that requires this support, in contrast to other, do-it-yourself assessments.
Many of us are experiencing a work slow-down or loss of work at the present time. Why not turn the situation into an opportunity to polish your leadership skills and increase self-awareness? Whether it is digital transformation or pandemic-driven danger, with greater self-awareness, you will be better prepared to lead in a crisis.