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Talent Dynamics RSS Feed Blog Archive: May 2010

Jan's Corner: know thyself — as relevant in business as it is in life

A sign at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in Greece reads Nosce te ipsum or Know yourself. More than 2000 years ago, philosophers like Socrates knew that a meaningful life and a successful, prosperous society was based on deep self-knowledge.

What has knowing yourself to do with business in the 21st Century? Everything. Businesses exist for people and with people. More then ever before, people seek to discover and express their passions, talents, values and aspirations — to live a meaningful and fulfilling life — as customers, business owners and employees.

Those businesses that allow self-knowledge be an integral part of their philosophy and practice witness real magic.

How does that work? Knowing yourself and others knowing themselves allows for an unusual alchemy to happen, not just in business. Everyone sees their unique value and is appreciated for what they bring to the table. Differences are celebrated and effectively used. New opportunities and synergy is created when unique perspectives, natural strengths and passions are melded with those of others in total self-awareness of what the process is. Excitement is pervasive and no vision is out of reach.

Invest your time in knowing yourself, and understanding others below the surface, and you’ll be surprised at what happens.

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Are you enabling, or preventing, great performance?

Self-knowledge is vital to a leader

Your Leadership Style has a direct impact on business results

According to the CIPD: “…before people can become successful leaders, they do need certain attributes… self-knowledge, to understand their own strengths and weaknesses… these attributes will help to develop trust, without which, leaders will not command loyalty”.

It is widely accepted that if you want to improve your leadership capability and your business, a hugely important aspect to improve is yourself.

When we are coaching leaders or working with teams, we often find that improving a leader’s self awareness — through a Talent Dynamics Profile debrief or one of our 360 degree measurement tools — will have a dramatic impact on their and the team’s performance. Whether that be something as obvious as improving relationships with clients, understanding what motivates your team, or less direct blocks such as improving productivity or creating more efficient systems.

Sometimes leaders are trying to carry out a role in a leadership style that isn’t their most natural, which makes it harder to do. Other times, they are using their most natural style but finding it isn’t having the same ‘natural effect’ on their team as it’s a style the team don’t enjoy being led with.

Aware of your leadership style?

Take the Creator Profile, someone we have been working with, who has been trying to lead the team as a Supporter Profile. He has been so out-of-flow and finding it so challenging, and not in the least bit enjoyable. Guess what, neither has his team! Increasing his self-awareness is allowing him to start to play a very different role in the business, in a much more effective way, and is allowing members of the team to do the same.

How can I improve my self-awareness?

There are a variety of ways you can gather feedback and increase your self-awareness. It’s not the tool you choose, it’s what you do with the feedback that’s important!

Talent Dynamics Profile

We always start with the Talent Dynamics Profile Test, debrief and report, which gives you very specific self awareness and can be used in conjunction with coaching to really drive your performance. It has a very specific strategy related to each of the Profiles and so is extremely practical.

Recently a leader told me that, as a result of understanding his Profile, becoming more aware and implementing some strategies, he saw a 20% increase in turnover.

360 degree feedback

Gathering some feedback from those you work with can be incredibly powerful. Why not try and ask your colleagues some specific questions like:

1. How am I doing right now?
2. What do you enjoy about my leadership style?
3. What do you find challenging about my style?
4. What should I stop/start/continue doing?
5. Where does my style create the best results for the business?
6. How does my style inhibit the growth of the business?
7. How can I enable you to be even more effective?

Even just asking these basic 360 degree questions will be a great start and you may get some very interesting feedback. You can add some specific questions of your own as well.

When you ask the questions, ask at least five or six people. Encourage peers, direct reports and leaders to give you feedback. Always ask one person who you know will give you some challenging feedback – remember, there’s a reason why they will be challenging and perhaps increasing your self-awareness with that person could drastically improve that relationship!

Click here to see a short video on the benefit of using Talent Dynamics Profiles

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