A message from Xan Pearson:
“The more committed you are to building self-awareness, the more empathy and grace you learn to extend to yourself.” – Dr. Tasha Eurich
As you go about your daily life, how much time and energy do you spend focused on yourself? It’s probably more than you think. In her book, Insight, Dr. Tasha Eurich talks about the increasing “cult of self” world in which we now live. One study found that we spend 60% of our time talking about ourselves, and more than 80% when we are on social media.
We have become a self-absorbed society, with a social interaction focus that flies in the face of what had been widely regarded as timeless wisdom. Longstanding adages like “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood,” and “Two ears. One mouth.” and “Listen more. Talk less.” have seemingly been jettisoned from our cultural playbook.
As leaders, we need to shift the narrative from self-absorption to one of self-awareness. Tasha maintains that self-awareness is one of the most critical skills a leader can have, and cultivating humility is an essential, often overlooked tool for achieving it.
The first step in cultivating humility is to understand what it is not. There is a distinct difference between being self-aware and being self-critical. The goal is to be fully aware of ourselves—the good and the not-so-good—and loving the person we discover in spite of our shortcomings. As leaders, it’s important to humbly recognize and accept our weaknesses (as well as our strengths) without fixating on them or hiding behind the façade of perfection. Rather, we choose to accept, understand, and forgive imperfections as we continue to grow on our leadership journey.
Is humility really that big of a deal? It is if we care about being more effective, connected, approachable, and trusted leaders of impact. Consider these powerful benefits of humility in leadership:
Improved decision making: Humility allows leaders to consider multiple perspectives, be open to new ideas, and make decisions that are in the best interests of all stakeholders rather than just themselves.
Better relationships: Leaders who exhibit humility are more approachable and better able to connect with others, which can lead to stronger relationships with employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
Increased credibility: Humility increases a leader’s credibility. People are more likely to trust and respect someone who can admit their mistakes and listen to others.
Increased creativity: Leaders who are humble are more open to new ideas and perspectives, which leads to creativity and innovation.
Better team building: Humility can help leaders build stronger teams by creating a positive, authentic, inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
Better conflict resolution: Humility helps leaders effectively resolve conflicts in their willingness to consider multiple perspectives and finding solutions that are in the best interests of all parties.
So, how do we cultivate humility in ourselves? Here are some simple ways we can practice humility daily:
- Practice gratitude. Regularly taking time to reflect on the things you are grateful for can help shift your focus away from yourself and your own accomplishments, and onto other people, experiences, and things in your life that bring joy and fulfillment.
- Seek feedback. Ask for candid feedback from others, especially those you trust and respect. This can help you see yourself and your actions more objectively and allow you to learn and grow from their perspectives.
- Serve others. Engaging in volunteer work or community service is a great way to develop humility by putting other’s needs ahead of your own and recognizing the value and worth of others.
- Listen more, talk less. Make a conscious effort to listen more and speak less in conversations. Ask curious questions. As Tasha puts it, “Be an informer, not a meformer” when engaging and connecting with others on social media. Taking the focus off you and putting it on others helps you become more engaged and aware of the perspectives and contributions of others.
- Acknowledge your mistakes. Take responsibility for your mistakes and seek to make amends. This shows that you are open to learning from your mistakes and that you value the feelings of others. It models accountability to your employees and instills trust.
- Practice self-reflection, not self-criticism. Take time each day to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Ask yourself how they align with your values and beliefs. Did I actively listen today? Did I seek and acknowledge the value of different perspectives? This can help you become more self-aware from a place of alignment rather than judgement.
As Tasha points out in her book, “The more committed you are to building self-awareness, the more empathy and grace you learn to extend to yourself.” Cultivating humility allows us to better appreciate not only our own strengths, but the strengths of others. More importantly, it allows us to graciously accept our imperfections in ourselves and others.
If you’d like to understand more about how self-awareness impacts leadership, your opportunity to learn from the best is coming up soon. We are excited to welcome Dr. Tasha Eurich to speak at our Spring Signature Event, April 20th from 8:00am – 11:00am at Social Capitol in Arvada, where she will share her wisdom and insights in her talk, “The Power of Insight: How Self-Awareness Helps Leaders Connect & Grow.”
Seating is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot today.