The Role of Self Awareness in Heart Centered Leadership

The Role of Self Awareness in Heart-Centered Leadership

May 23, 20243 min read

“EQ is often more important than IQ.” - Mike Nemergut

The Role of Self Awareness in Heart Centered Leadership

 Given the substantial changes in workplace interactions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with ever increasing demands on leaders, managers and employees, the need for Heart Centered Leadership efforts have never been stronger and is ever increasing in importance for individuals, teams and organizations to realize their full potential.

Heart Centered Leadership or HCL is often characterized as placing more emphasis on the human element of organizational operations than the goals and deliverables to achieve a higher level of performance via an empathetic, collective and aligned approach.

Self-awareness is a critical element within an HCL approach and is an area for which I personally had to develop as I took on leadership roles of greater responsibility entailing larger teams, more complex operating structures and global scope. Self-awareness involves having a deep understanding of one’s strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and vulnerabilities aka blind spots. This is the Internal side of self-awareness. Self-aware leaders also understand how their actions affect those around them and can adapt their style accordingly. This is the external side of self-awareness. The alignment between the internal and external components of self-awareness is what ultimately supports the overall HCL approach as it facilitates creation of a positive work culture that empowers and nurtures employees, leading to increased morale, trust, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Finding alignment between internal and external self-awareness isn’t as easy as you might think. Harvard Business Review estimates that as few as 10% to 15% of people are truly self-aware—despite a majority self-reporting that they possess the trait.

EQ is more important than IQ

During the initial time in my first executive role, I was walking back to my office following a meeting with our business unit leadership team and my global services director paused me and said Mike, “EQ is often more important than IQ”. This simple statement stopped me in my tracks as I really listened to what he was saying and the message completely resonated with me as I realized that although I had an extremely deep understanding of our business, I did not always need to be the smartest person in the room and have all the answers as I had a great team around me and supporting me. I just needed to be more open with them, acknowledge my limitations and foster an environment of collaboration and as time would demonstrate they would achieve incredible accomplishments as a unified and aligned team.

Typically, when we start our careers we are in individual contributor roles and there is greater focus on hitting your individual number, goals, metrics, etc.  As our careers progress, and we transition into managerial and leadership positions, our roles sharply transition to that of a mentor and coach whereby our emotional intelligence and ability to connect with our teams and colleagues at a deeper level becomes far more crucial in achieving success at a wholistic level.

Self-awareness is one of multiple key  attributes that will allow leaders to facilitate an HCL style in which strong relationships are built based on honesty, transparency, and mutual respect. By embracing our own vulnerabilities and openly acknowledging mistakes, we create a safe space for others to do the same.

If creating a positive work culture where individuals feel safe to take risks, share ideas openly and reach their fullest potential is attractive to you I would suggest that you embark in a program to leverage your self-awareness as there are specific exercises and business simulations to aid you in your journey.

HCLLeadershipEmotional intelligenceAwareness
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Michael Nemergut

Tap into your heart-centered leadership to inspire people to achieve and be all they can be.

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