What’s Your Leadership Advantage?

Self-awareness gives you a leadership advantage. You see your potential pitfalls before you fall in. You can partner with people to compliment your strengths. You can align what you do with who you are and who God created you to be.

Self-awareness is not a once and done kind of thing. Instead it is an ongoing process of stepping up to the balcony and observing your life, your behaviors, and your experiences. There are a variety of ways to increase self-awareness and grow in your leadership advantage. Here are a few that are working for me:

Find a Mentor. Be a Mentor.

I have my “go-to” people. I seek their wisdom. When I notice an area of weakness, I seek out someone who is further along to add to this circle. They challenge mindsets that limits me, equip me with tools I don’t have and serve as shining examples of people who practice what they preach. Not only do I seek this for myself — I want to be this for others. I never want to be so busy that I can’t give back to others what I have received from these amazing people.

Where is Your Spiritual Support?

I rely heavily on a circle of people who support me in all things. I am blessed with family who believe in me and help me sort out confusing things. I can reach out at any time to this circle of people to pray for me. You can’t develop relationships like this overnight. It is risky. It is vulnerable. It requires courage. Do you have your people you can text anytime day or night? People who can tell you that you are wrong? People who love you enough to not let your stinking thinking or bad habits get in your way?

Pursue of Self-Discovery.

I am an assessment junkie. Certified in Myers Briggs Type Indicator, trained in Clifton Strengths, and I have taken more assessments than I can count. It is simply one way to pursue self-discovery. No one assessment can fully describe who you are, but a different lens can shed light on your experience. Even better for me is assessments + powerful conversations over coffee about what I’ve learned.

Engage Spiritual Reflection.

Inviting God to speak into your life is essential. I have several reflection exercises to help me hear God. I change them up often — but that’s just me. Adding variety to my times of reflection keep me attentive in ways that routine would stifle. I have experimented with Lectio Divina, coffee with Jesus, journaling, and a S.O.A.K. meditation. What works for you to hear God? Try it out and write down what you are hearing!

What’s Missing?

Okay, now I sound like this hyper-aware, super-spiritual person. I am not. I have to keep an ear to the ground to notice what I am missing. It means I need to ask for and humbly receive feedback. (And try not to take it personally). It means that I need to step back when I make mistakes and notice what I can learn about myself. There are aspects to self-awareness where my blinders are still on. That means I get to be open to what the Holy Spirit will show me next.

So, continue your journey of self-awareness. It means you will need to be brave. It means that you will need to be intentional. It means that you will need to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. You will become more when you dive in!

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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center for Coaching Excellence.

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