Over the past week and a half, I was in Cocoa Beach, Florida for a work trip. I was attending an advanced professionals pilot course for professionals in the Equal Opportunity field. The course included a couple of group projects and as you can imagine with all of the personalities, experience levels and personal goals, there were definitely some interesting moments.
With that being said, while being there I had to make sure I incorporated some of the things I have talked to you about earlier in previous posts. You know, being confident around seasoned professionals while making sure they were aware of what I brought to the table. I also made sure I took breaks when I felt overwhelmed and had to remind myself that my opportunity to take the course is a part of God’s leadership plan for me so I can lead others.
While teams were being formed for these projects, it was easy to see what type of leader people were. It was also easy to see leadership traits people needed to work on. As I sat back and observed I wondered how many people periodically reviewed their leadership style or their blind spots. This is something I believe has to be done often because situations that you encounter as a leader can change you over time without you realizing it. Some people needed to work on how they talked to others. Some people were not flexible in their way of thinking. Others had a hard time working in a group setting and others had a hard time being a follower. For me, I realized that I needed to work on my outlook when it came to my strengths and weaknesses. During a small group discussion, I was asked the question, do you prefer to focus on your strengths and make them an irresistible asset, or to focus on your areas of improvement? I immediately responded, my weakness…my strengths are my strengths, I don’t feel like I need to focus on those. Another person in the group disagreed and stated it is important to focus on and work on both because if you didn’t your strengths could become your weaknesses. At that moment a light bulb came on. They were exactly right. I had never thought of it that way. I was appreciative for the insight and internally made my checklist. I had work to do. Self-reflection and the ability to accept feedback are so crucial when leading others. If you are not aware of your strengths and weaknesses you can definitely damage your team or the work environment for your office.
There are many tools available to assist you in revealing your strengths and weaknesses if you are unsure of what they are. They can also help confirm what you already know to help you create an improvement plan. One tool you can use are the people around you (family, friends, colleagues, etc.). Believe me their realtime, honest feedback can help. Another tool you can use is an actual assessment. Assessments can be taken by people at all levels within your organization. Personally, I have taken the following assessments to help me become a better leader, follower, and communicator:
- Four Lenses (Personality Temperament)
- John C. Maxwell (Personality, Leadership Assessments)
- Disc (Self Awareness Assessment)
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Extrovert, Introvert, etc.)
*I am not getting paid to give them a shout out.*
Some of the assessments are free and some of them may cost a fee. You can also check with your organization to see if there are certified instructors who can facilitate the assessment for you and your personnel. If there are opportunities to become a certified facilitator I suggest getting the certification (I am certified to facilitate the Four Lenses Assessment). Not only will you be investing in the people in your organization, but you will be investing in their personal development. Don’t be afraid to invest in your personal growth and use your assessment results in your daily life as growth is good for the soul.
How often to do take the time to self reflect? Has your leadership style changed over the years? What are some of your strengths and/or weaknesses? How do you choose to focus on them?
If you have taken any of the self assessments mentioned or one that wasn’t mentioned, what did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know? I would love to hear from you. Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.