Self-awareness and understanding of values, attitudes and congruent behaviors

Collaborative leaders are personally mature and demonstrate emotional intelligence in their interactions with others.

To be effective, leader's self-reflection must be an active and continuing thought process, with focus on understanding and evaluating personal values and how congruently behaviors match those values. Analysis of verbal and nonverbal communication, the impact of actions and words on goal achievement and the capacity to self-adjust behaviors are essential to effective collaborative leadership in an increasingly complex environment.

lightbulb.jpg Self-awareness includes the ability to read and understand one's own emotions and their impact, understanding personal strengths and limits and developing a solid and accurate sense of personal worth and capability. This type of awareness is essential to a leader's ability to manage self. Self-management must include emotional self-control and flexibility to adapt to changing situations, complexity, ambiguity and obstacles. Effective leaders also pursue transparency, displaying honesty and integrity, and earn the trust of colleagues with consistent behavior. Optimism, passion and engagement in the moment -- always being ready to jump on opportunities and act to achieve results-- are hallmarks of personal leadership competence.

Leaders must also be socially competent in the ways that they manage relationships with others. The display of empathy, understanding the position and feelings of others, and taking active interest in those concerns is vital to managing individual relationships. Organizationally, effective leaders must be astute in reading the climate and culture of the organization, focused on how and why decisions are made and keeping a pulse of organizational politics. In building and maintaining social relationships, leaders inspire others with vision, and influence persuasively as advocates for necessary change, for their team, ideas and aspirations. Critical skills in conflict management and resolution, developing others as leaders, building alliances and partnerships and the capacity to build effective teams and to work collaboratively with others in the organization are also fundamental to effective leadership. A variety of techniques can be helpful in a leader's self-reflection, including journaling and writing, observation of yourself and others, peer dialog, meditation, exercise, inspirational reading and learning, and coaching/mentoring. Many organizations have adopted a 360-degree feedback process, which serves as an organized, effective and continuing framework for self-reflection, development and improvement.