The Need For Self-Reflection And How To Do It
Self-reflection is a key skill for leaders who want to steer their business to success. Not only does it allow you to accurately understand your own strengths and play to them to the benefit of your organisation, it also allows you to surround yourself with a leadership team whose strengths fill the gaps in your skills profile (don’t worry, we all have them).
For example, if you are the founding entrepreneur of your business, have a clear vision for what you want your business to do, and are good at conveying that vision to others in a way that makes them excited to take part in your business as an employee, provider, or customer, chances are that you are a Visionary.
The term “Visionary” was coined by Gino Wickman, the entrepreneur behind the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) – a set of concepts and practical tools that help businesses pull together harmoniously to take their company to new heights.
Wickman co-authored a book, Rocket Fuel, with Mark Winters in which the traits of a Visionary person are laid out.
Visionaries, Wickman and Winters write, typically:
- Are the founding entrepreneur
- Are strategic thinkers
- Always see the big picture
- Are creative problem solvers
- Create and protect the company vision
- Inspire people
- Have lots of ideas
- Sell and close big deals
- Manage big external relationships.
They also list a few areas in which Visionaries struggle. These include:
- Staying focussed.
- Having too many ideas, which can sabotage your best ideas
- ‘organisational whiplash’ – a tendency to rapidly jump from one idea and direction to the next, leaving your employees confused as to what direction the organisation is headed in.
- Difficulty with holding people accountable.
- Difficulty with managing the details.
- Poor at developing talent in others.
- Reluctance to let go and delegate.
If this sounds like you (and even if it doesn’t), it is important to understand both what you naturally bring to your organisation and how you may be getting in your own way, inadvertently preventing your organisation from reaching its full potential.
If you are a Visionary, for example, your organisation will be best served by the addition of an Integrator to your leadership team: someone who can understand your vision and put in place the detailed processes necessary to make it a reality.
In Chapter 6 of Rocket Fuel, Wickman and Winters advise that you “map your visionary profile” in order to find the perfect Integrator match for you. They describe the key relationship between Visionary and Integrator as being like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together.
You “need to document the pattern of how you most naturally operate – defining your puzzle piece in this two-piece puzzle,” they say. “This will in turn dictate the profile of your ideal Integrator”.
It’s important to understand here that there is no wrong or right. Every single human being excels in some areas and not in others. The key to success is understanding and embracing the person you naturally are, and playing to your god-given talents.
So how can that be done?
Well, in recent decades a number of tools have been created to help people better understand their own nature.
One of the most well known is the Myers-Briggs 16 Personality Types. Are you a bold, imaginative Commander? Perhaps you are a charismatic and inspiring Protagonist, able to mesmerise your listeners? Or could you be an innovative Logician, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge?
Whichever you are, the Myers-Briggs matrix looks at four different personality metrics to help you make sense of both your inner being and how you present outwardly, enabling you to better relate to yourself and those around you.
Another popular tool is the CliftonStrengths Finder by Gallup. This assessment, invented by Don Clifton, explains where your natural talents lie. According to Gallup, their research has shown that people who know and play to their strengths are more engaged at work, more productive in their roles, and are happier and healthier in their lives in general.
Princeton MCG’s Leadership Blindspot Assessment does the opposite – it helps you understand weaknesses or threats you may have overlooked in four key areas: yourself, your team, your company and your market. If you’re struggling to grow your business and you’re not sure why, this assessment is a great place to start.
The great leaders of this world share a number of key characteristics. High up that list is the ability to self-reflect, and the desire to constantly self improve. Getting to understand your personality type is a great place to start.