Transitioning to Senior Leadership: Leading with Awareness

So, what does this shift of being smart to being aware look like? It will seem easy on the surface, but it’s a lifetime of work. And it’s comprised of 3 parts:

1.    Self-observation – It is the ability to understand how you impact others. To observe the wake that you leave behind as you lead others. It’s also about understanding why you react to others in the way that you do.

2.    Choice – It is the ability to maintain composure in the face of chaos and complexity so that you can make the most of your interactions with others. Most leaders can do this after-the-fact. They have the ability to relflect on how they responded after a meeting and identify ways in which they could have done something differently. However, truly effective leaders have developed the ability to do this in the moment. To understand themselves well enough to observe their own emotions and behaviors, reflect on how they want to be, and then respond in a way that keeps dialogue moving forward.
3.    People Outlook – It is the ability to see other people as human beings and interact with them as people. According to work from the Arbinger Institute, when we don’t see people as people and instead see them as objects, we tend to marginalize them in the workplace.  From there, our thinking get’s distorted and we begin to justify our less than productive behaviors.

Moving to this higher state of awareness sets the foundation for everything that senior leaders have to do. Leaders who do not make this shift will never achieve their potential with any of the other three shifts we’ll explore in future posts.

So, how can you tell if someone has made the shift or not? Stay tuned for the next post.