Author and speaker, Andy Stanley, states it well when he says, “You won’t be a leader worth following unless you lead yourself well.” How does a leader improve his or her self-awareness? One way is to spend more time in honest self-reflection.
With proper light, a mirror reflects whatever image lies in its path. It does so without regard for ego. Everything shows up as it really is. There is no discrimination or self-consciousness involved. When I step in front of it, the mirror reflects my image. When I move on, the mirror can’t stop me. It receives and reflects, nothing more or less.
The reason most leaders lack self-awareness has nothing to do with the mirror. It is the leader’s perception of the reflected image that causes problems.
Leaders who lack self-awareness may accept an image that fits their dreams. Sometimes the image represents the expectations of others.
When leaders gaze into the mirror they must be brutally honest about what they see. They must willingly admit mistakes, seek forgiveness, and ask for help. They must stop defending themselves or deflecting blame.
Mirrors should help leaders refine their self-awareness. Accurate, unvarnished images allow leaders to become authentic and real.
What we allow ourselves to see in the mirror of self-awareness helps us become the leader we were meant to be; even when the image isn’t very flattering.