Many people jump into the business world, believing that it is fundamentally about building products and selling to customers. A few years in, though, they have a revelation.
All the stuff that they thought would take up their time – like marketing or product testing – is actually a small part of the job. The biggest task (and the most important) is leading others.
Being a leader, however, is only partly about having management skills.
The best leaders invariably have a deep and profound sense of who they are as people. In short, they know themselves on a basic level. And they use that understanding to improve their relationships with others.
#1 What Does It Mean To Know Yourself?
Believe it or not, but most people don’t know themselves particularly well. They have a general sense of what they like and what they don’t. But usually, they don’t understand where those preferences and impulses come from. It is a mystery.
Knowing yourself is all about understanding why you think the way that you do. Once you have a better understanding of who you are, you can predict how you will perform in particular situations.
It turns out that you don’t have to work in isolation. You can quickly find out what your Enneagram type is by taking a simple test online. You just answer a few questions, and then it’ll spit out your archetype – the character traits that most closely resemble you as an individual.
Knowing yourself, therefore, means understanding your motivations and drive. Once you have a clear picture of who you are, you’re able to distinguish between things that are you, and those that are not.
#2 How Your Understanding Yourself Affects Leadership
People who understand themselves invariably make better leaders. The reason for this is that they know the limits of their strengths and weaknesses. They’re able to delegate tasks to others that they know they would be able to do better.
This understanding of their place in the world is a fundamental advantage for business leaders. It means that they can focus on the areas where they can create the most value and then pass other tasks onto their subordinates.
Knowing yourself has another advantage – you learn your hangups. We all have issues with our personalities. None of us are perfect people. Some of us are too quick to anger, while others are too eager to please. Leaders who understand themselves, however, can modify these inherent aspects of their character to become more effective.
Nobody wants to work for somebody who flies off the rails at the slightest transgression. Likewise, leaders can’t be effective if they continually avoid conflict with those around them.
Getting to grips with personal inadequacies gives you a better appreciation of how others perceive you. It provides insight into which leadership style you should adopt and frames all your interactions. Ultimately, knowing yourself helps you understand other people better, which, in turn, makes you a better leader. You can see yourself from their perspective and in context.