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Self-awareness is a foundational aspect of effective, healthy leadership.

In my work with leaders in optimising their mindset, I love watching the transformative power of developing greater self-awareness as a catalyst to their evolution and success.

Understanding our strengths, areas where we can improve, and especially the impact of our actions on others, is obviously essential for effective leadership.

What’s sometimes not so obvious is that heightened self-awareness is also a key element in elevating your executive presence.


Cultivating true self-awareness as a leader is a multifaceted journey.

Here are some tips:

  • Reflection: Regularly take time to reflect on your actions, decisions, and their consequences. Ask yourself at the end of each day – how was I perceived by others? Was there anything I reacted to really well or not so well?
  • Feedback: Actively seek honest feedback from peers, mentors, and team members. Use the feedforward method: Ask “What one thing could I do to be a better leader?”
  • Empathy: Developing self-awareness naturally enhances empathy. When you understand your own emotions and responses, you become more attuned to the feelings and needs of those you lead. You listen to understand. This fosters better connections and trust.
  • Executive Presence: Self-awareness plays a pivotal role in shaping your executive presence. I am amazed to watch some leadership meetings when a leader is not aware of their impact on others and how they show up in the room. Slowing down and self-awareness practices enable you to project confidence, authenticity and authority.
  • Mindfulness: Further to above, find techniques that work for you, so that you keep present in the moment. This space allows you to observe your thoughts, emotions and reactions as they occur. This heightened awareness extends to your interactions with others, making you a more effective and composed leader.
  • Embrace Vulnerability: A bit of a buzzword, however I do believe healthy leadership involves acknowledging mistakes and vulnerabilities. By doing so, including saying sorry in a timely manner, you create an environment where others feel safe to do the same, leading to a more open and adaptive team.
  • Get Coaching: Coaching works*. Engaging with a leadership coach or mentor can provide valuable insights and guidance on your self-awareness journey, including increased self-confidence, improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills. Bottom line – two heads are better than one!

Remember, self-awareness – like all personal development and growth – is an ongoing journey, not a destination. There’s always more to refine your leadership effectiveness and impact.

(*See multiple evidence-based research on the effectiveness and ROI of coaching in International Coaching Federation, Institute of Coaching)

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