The Power of Awareness

Book: How To Lead When You’re Not In Charge
Author: Clay Scroggins 
Quote: “Don’t underestimate the power of awareness; it’s the first aid for ignorance.”

How aware are you of your interactions with those around you? Do you ever consider how your actions and words might be perceived by others? I would wager that the majority of us walk around speaking and acting certain ways and express that it’s just “who we are.” To be an effective leader, we must learn to be aware of our words and our actions. We need to open our eyes and listen to those around us. We might be surprised to discover that “who we are” is establishing a negative mindset in others about us.

We must never forget that leadership is not a title or a position. Leadership is about influence. If you work or interact with people, you are a leader. Two of the most important characteristics of leadership are reflection and awareness. If we are not self-reflecting, then we are potentially damaging our influence and our ability to lead well. Reflection also keeps us aware of how our actions and words may be impacting those around us. 

Something I strongly encourage you to do is have frequent conversations with colleagues and people you know about how your actions and words are being perceived. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that most people shy away from confrontation and will withhold valuable, insightful knowledge that would help us become better individuals. In order to become better leaders, we must seek out the areas in our life that need work, and there is no better way to do that than to have crucial conversations about ourselves with others. 

If we do not take the time to consider how our actions and words may be perceived by others, we become ignorant to the negative impact we are having on those around us. If relationship is key to leadership, then we, as leaders, need to acknowledge that our behavior may be hindering the relationships around us. Most people will choose to be kind to our face and tell the truth behind our back. This doesn’t mean that all these people are lacking character, but rather they may not do well with confrontation. Personally, I’m the kind of guy that will tell you exactly how it is without sugar coating or blowing smoke. I would rather people know the truth at face value than walk around disillusioned. Overall, it is important that we invite others to share their thoughts and opinions about us in a safe, welcoming environment.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that everyone’s opinions of us are correct. Rather, I am suggesting that we learn to open ourselves up to critical feedback and then reflect on what we have been told. If there is a pattern from what people are saying, then maybe we need to do some self-evaluation and begin working on the areas that are keeping us from becoming better leaders. We need to start becoming aware of how our actions and words are being perceived by the people around us. It’s time that we first aid our ignorance with awareness.

As always, stay humble and serve well!

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