Executives and senior managers cannot afford to underestimate the importance of self-knowledge. Failure to face reality can destroy your career and your business.
Usually, when I ask a company director for their biggest challenge, you tell me that once you reach that new level in the organisation, you stop receiving feedback. It can happen subtly over a period of time. One day you realise no-one is telling you what they think.
And of course you’re not going to go out and ask for that feedback because that’s not what you do – not informally anyway. Moreover, people aren’t always honest. Let’s face it, who is going to put their career in jeopardy by telling you that your latest idea will never work?
When I work with executives that are new in post the first self-reflective question they ask is “Who am I?” The role is very different now they are standing on the top few rungs of the ladder. They aren’t questioning their capability, but how they fit in.
As these executives grow in the role, and achieve their success milestones, they ask “Who am I now?” Because they recognise that their contribution to the organisation must change; that’s inevitable. And they accept there will be times when they must question their fit for the business.
We’ve all experienced being the ‘new recruit’ and feeling like we belong. Only to discover at some point down the line that our face no longer fits. The proactive managers among you will have seen this coming and so taken matters into their own hands.
The biggest benefit of knowing yourself well is that it simplifies your life. You no longer need to waste time on things you’re not best placed to do. You can organise your priorities with a clear head. And self-knowledge gives you the certainty of knowing that you’re doing the right things.