Leaders – Let Them See What You Believe (Self-Awareness)


Effective leaders bring their beliefs into the open.

Our actions may be confusing or appear contradictory if we leave it to people to guess our intentions. When we help others understand the beliefs behind our motives and actions we give them the benefit of context and build trust. To make this possible there are important steps we can take.

Be intentional about your beliefs.
As leaders, it's important that we make the time and effort to learn what we believe. This is different from what we think we believe. It requires close examination of our actions, reactions, and emotions followed by careful reflection.

As we investigate our underlying beliefs we may find that they are harming rather than helping us and that we need to make changes to align with the vision we have for our lives and leadership. This is a cycle we should repeat often. If we are open and willing to fearlessly examine our actions, our beliefs will continue to evolve throughout our lives.

Share your beliefs.
We can speak to our beliefs and approach to leadership with our team and continue to reinforce those ideas during individual conversations. This will create personal accountability and encourage us to act in alignment with our words.

When we are called upon to act and do so in a manner consistent with our stated beliefs, we increase the sense of confidence and safety in our team. The opposite is also true. When we act erratically, inconsistently and provide no context for our actions, we create an environment of uncertainty and fear.

Invite others to share their beliefs.
Because our beliefs are subject to our unique life experiences, they will sometimes come into conflict with beliefs held by others. In these moments, it is important to listen and try to understand the source of the disconnect.

In some cases, we may truly disagree and this will require further reflection, communication or action to resolve. In other situations, the gap may simply be a misunderstanding and we find that after talking it out we are not so far apart. In every case, these discussions provide the opportunity to reflect on what we believe and consider the possibility that we may need to revisit our assumptions.

Actively seek feedback.
It's easy to think we are acting in ways that agree with our stated beliefs, yet we are all capable of significant rationalization and self-deception. It's difficult to open ourselves up to any feedback that contradicts the perception we have of our selves but the risk is worth the reward.

By asking our team for this level of trust we open the door to humility and break free from self-deception. When we admit our actions are not in alignment with our stated beliefs and make the required changes to our behavior, we model a way of leading that deepens our connections and influences others to follow in our footsteps.

Together we can create life-affirming work experiences that make a positive impact on the world.