The title of this post certainly raises an interesting question. What’s your choice of attributes? Why?

Here are excerpts from an interesting discussion on this topic by Andrea Thompson, a partner at McChrystal Group (an advisory services firm):

“What’s the one thing I should know to be a better leader? My answer remains the same: Know who you are, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Self-awareness will be that ‘extra something’ that boosts you up the corporate ladder. As we move up the ranks in our careers, our technical skills are usually the primary reason we get promoted. We closed the most deals or sold the most product. But as we develop as leaders, functional excellence is no longer the main component required to be high-performing and succeed as a senior leader. Self-awareness plays a much more prominent role.

“We’ve all worked for ‘that’ boss. He/she made a lot of money for the company—a real mover and shaker. And then they got promoted. Unfortunately, for those on the team, this new boss doesn’t have the necessary leadership skills to lead them. What went wrong? Why didn’t the successes of the past lead to success in the new environment? In my experience, it came down to self-awareness. Self-awareness is that critical skill that will help influence how you relate to others, how you communicate your guidance, and how you process input from others. Self-awareness underpins all that we do. It’s the difference between good and great.

“Those leaders who soon recognize that their own behaviors and emotions have a domino effect on their team—and adapt accordingly—build stronger teams. Self-awareness is that ‘multiplier’ that not only makes you a better leader, but those on your team better leaders, too.”


16 Replies to “What One Factor Separates Good Leaders from Bad Ones?”

  1. Love your post, Dr. Evans.I have used a number of ways to induce and cultivate self-awareness among consumers and it would be interesting to study it on leaders and entrepreneurs.

  2. I agree with Andrea Thompson that self-awareness is a really critical skill to have. When it comes to leading or managing the people that work for you, it’s important to assess who you have around you, how they behave and what they’re capable of doing, and then adapt your attitude and leading style to match your employees. Even if you’re the smartest person in the world, if you’re unable to communicate or act properly, then its very hard to lead a team and get things accomplished.

  3. The example they provided is interesting. It makes you think about the role of leaders in a corporate environment. That sales person who did great things for the company and sold the most product, were they great because of their personal skills? Or were they great because of proper leadership from their superior. A lot of what a leaders job is not only leading their team in the right direction but also getting the most out of each one of their members. It morally feels right to give that sales person a promotion but all factors need to accounted for on why exactly they did so well.

  4. I personally agree with the whole point of this post. Self-awareness is, actually, not only vital to great leaders, but also crucial to everyone. As we ‘marketers’, the top thing we should market is ourselves. So it is important for us to do a SWOT analysis of ourselves. That is to say, we have to know clearly know our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities as well as threats. Therefore, whoever should all have clear self-awareness.

  5. After reading this blog post, it made me ask myself the following questions. What am I passionate about? what am I good at? what are my strengths and what are my weakness that I should try to build upon? Answering these critical questions, I believe would make me a strong leader. I agree with the statement based on the domino effect because to have a strong team, a strong leader precedes this. Self awareness and how you communicate with your team, as well as focusing on the strengths of both the team and yourself, proves having a successful group doesn’t become that difficult.

  6. Indeed, self-awareness is critical skill that a success person should possess. Once you figure out who you are and your current strengths and weaknesses, you can better improve yourself. And when you know your style, you can see clearly what your employees’ styles. Self-awareness is an attitude that can influence each others. If you have self-awareness, your fellows would have too. Then you can better cooperate with each other and make a better team.

  7. I fully agree with the points that are relayed in this post. I agree with Andrea Thompson. Self-awareness is a very important thing to have, and not many people have it. Having self-awareness helps a person work on their weaknesses. It is a lot easier to fix something if you know that it needs to be fixed. Knowing strengths and weaknesses of yourself is very important to succeed. I think self-awareness is not something that just comes to you. It takes a lot of different experiences and situations to know how you are as a person. Self-awareness comes with time.

    1. I agree with you to certain extent that self awareness comes with time and experiences. However, self-awareness can be either a situational factor or a trait. More importantly, marketing literature has shown there are ways to situationally induce self-awareness in people, although the effect can be short-lived but quite effective nonetheless.

  8. I’m currently in management 101 and my teacher constantly stresses how important emotional intelligence is. The three components of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-control and empathy. All of these are significant for different reasons, but I think self-awareness is the most important. Self-awareness consists of knowing your goals, emotions of yourself and others and what motivates you to succeed. If you want to be a good leader you need to be able to pick out your strengths and weaknesses so you know what you personally need to improve.

  9. This post definitely relates to our assignment on self branding. I think that knowing who we are is highly important, not just in the business world, but in life. For business, the easy part of the job is closing deals or getting the most sales. The hard part is becoming a leader; and getting your employees to listen and respect you. Having self awareness helps with dealing with employees, customers, stakeholders, etc. If we recognize our good and bad behaviors, we can grow from them and develop not only ourselves, but the company. Self awareness truly differentiates good leaders from bad leaders.

  10. There is one more point. As the article written by Sandra Liu, Lucette Comer and Alan Dubinsky, in some areas of China, women leaders have more necessities to prove their abilities than male managers in order to earn respect from subordinates. It is unfair, but in some regions, it’s the truth.

  11. In my mind, good leaders should be the ones who can lead other teammates to do the work together, rather than asking others to make an effort but don’t do the job by themselves. A good leader should have a bigger blueprint than other teammates, he or she should be responsible for more than others. Good leaders should have passion and can motivate others.

  12. A good leader may only need to have excellent workability, but a great leader needs more. A leader’s emotions and behaviors can easily influence others. A querulous, irritable leader can affect employee’s enthusiasm, tense leader-member relationship and decrease their work effectiveness. A leader who does not keep his/her word. The employee may also become unreliable. Great leaders have self-awareness, so they can be aware of their emotions and behaviors and control them.

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