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How do you lead partnerships well? Know yourself!

If you are leading a partnership or coalition, you may be thinking that you need to focus all of your attention on those you are leading. While you do need to pay attention to others, that is not the first step. If you are going to be successful in leading a partnership or coalition, you need to know yourself first. It’s easy for us to think about ourselves, but it’s not so easy for us to really reflect in such a way that we know who we are and how we are perceived by those around us.  As a matter of fact, some of the LEAST self aware people I’ve met think that they are very self aware. 🙂 How do you really know yourself? Join me this week as I highlight 3 ways you can better know yourself. This increased self awareness will lay the foundation for your work in leading partnerships well.

  1. Reflect. Stephen Covey had it right when he suggested we take time to Sharpen the Saw.  This can be really difficult when we are constantly in “Go” mode, and even when we take time to sit down, we start looking through our phones for the latest message or social media post.  However, if you want to really know yourself, then take the time to reflect.  Reflect on your week. What worked well and didn’t work so well?  Reflect on your relationships. How have your interactions been with those you work with most every day?  What about your relationships with your family or friends? Do you feel anxious or at peace? Reflection can even include personality assessments, value exercises or creating a vision for yourself.  You can do this while sitting in your favorite chair or couch or perhaps even taking a walk outside!! You may spend 5-10 minutes each day or an hour a week or more depending upon your life situation.  No guilt or shame about how little or how much time you take reflecting. Start small and see what happens!
  2. Ask.  In order to better understand yourself, it can be really helpful to ask for feedback from those who are closest to you.  Be sure these are people you can trust and who will be constructive rather than destructive in their feedback.  You want to ask people who both believe the best in you and are willing to help you understand yourself a little better.  Once you ask, be willing to listen to these trusted friends and colleagues. I am currently reading a fantastic new Brenè Brown Book, Dare to Lead, and she reminds us of something VERY important in helping us know ourselves. Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.  When people we know and trust provide constructive feedback and we encourage them to be honest and clear with us, it can really help us know ourselves better and become better leaders!
  3. Observe. Pay attention to the non-verbal expressions that others make when you are leading or facilitating a meeting or making a presentation. Pay attention to the questions that people ask and the way that people ask the questions.  If you see lots of grumpy or confused faces, folks may not be understanding or connecting with what you are saying. However, if you see lots of eye contact, head nodding and smiles, the people around you are resonating with what you are saying.  Use this feedback to better understand yourself and how you are perceived by others. Also, please realize, that sometimes the non-verbal expressions people make and the words they speak may have absolutely nothing to do with you but everything to do with the kind of day that they are having. Focus on the collective feedback from a group rather than individual feedback in order to get a sense of how you are being received. I know that is easier said than done.  🙂

So, what about you?  What are you going to try this week to “know yourself” better?

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Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

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