NEXCUE Imagination Leadership

Self-awareness: The most underrated and undervalued leadership trait

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Are You Self-Aware?

Nobody’s self-awareness is perfect. But as a leader, your self-awareness should be top of mind because it can motivate or murder the people you serve. I have worked with a plethora of leaders from various backgrounds, nationalities, genders, and professions. One of the marks of distinction of an effective leader is their level of public and private self-awareness. Improving self-awareness is a life-long journey.

Here are three habits I learned from leaders with high self-awareness:

Meditating on a high standard of morals

You can’t pour water into someone else’s glass if yours is empty. It is only when a leader is invested in improving themselves can that leader add value to others. Since a leader’s duty is to serve and influence individuals to be their best, they must be the standard bearer of high moral integrity. This means that part of a high self-aware leader’s daily routine includes meditating on a universal standard of high moral conduct.

It is dumb and selfish when some leaders subscribe to a standard of morality that is lower than the one they require others to follow. And what’s even worse is a leader who harshly judges others when they fail to live up to a standard that leader doesn’t uphold.

One of the reasons some leaders don’t rank morality high on their list is because they don’t take the time to reflect on how their thoughts, words, and deeds affect others. These types of leaders lack the personal integrity to hold themselves accountable.

Ask yourself this question, “How can I expect other people to behave with moral excellence when my conduct sucks?”

Putting into practice feedback from team members

I don’t know why some leaders, right at the end of a meeting, ask for feedback that they don’t put into practice. In the words of Marvin Gaye, they “make me wanna holler the way they do my life!”

Jedi mind tricks don’t work on me. So, if the intent is to make me believe you care, then show it. Effective leaders put into practice the feedback they receive because they actually care. It’s just that simple. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Pretending to be humble will eventually expose you in the fire of conflict. A bona fide servant leader knows deeds reveal the intent of the heart. I would rather work with a leader who struggles to implement the feedback than to be around a Charlie Brown clown who ignores the critique they solicited from their team.

What’s the point in asking for my feedback if you are not going to apply it? Or what’s the purpose of getting upset when I, respectfully, ask why you are not practicing the agreed upon feedback? Don’t you agree?


Nobody remembers everything. Journaling is like a mental mirror that reflects your thoughts and gives you an opportunity to examine them. When you write, don’t be harsh or self-deprecating. All of us fall short. But this is the time to practice private self-awareness and do some soul-searching to learn more about you. Then take inventory of where you can improve to make your interactions with others better. Life is a book, and you have to live one chapter at a time.

Take your cues from me and live a great life. NEXCUE!