In Episode 8 of the a Knowing Self Knowing Others Podcast, I talked to Robertson Hunter Stewart about self aware leadership and his extensive background in the hotel industry, and experience as an author and lecturer. 

Here are my Top Takeaways from our discussion:

Flip the mirror: an effective way to develop your self-awareness is to be constantly asking yourself ‘how did I do?’, ‘did I interrupt that person?’, ‘could I have done that better?’. In doing that, thinking about your behaviour from the viewpoint of the person on the other side of the mirror can be helpful. Think about how you appear not just in the mirror, but the mirror from the perspective of the people looking in.

You’ll never know the answer to everything: if you don’t know the answer, be confident enough to say so. When you acknowledge what you don’t know you have the chance to learn and develop. When you tell a fib to cover up your lack of knowledge you’ll find yourself in a tricky situation when it’s discovered later on.

Behaviour is all encompassing: As a leader, model the behaviours you want to see in all situations. Rob gives the example of a manager telling people off about not being nice to customers. The manager is using a negative method to try and elicit a positive behaviour, which, when you think about it, is pretty counterintuitive. If you want staff to be nicer to customers, be nicer to your staff!

Taking the weight: When there are ineffective executive leaders in an organisation, the senior management team may have to take the weight of responsibility in leading the organisation and delivering on objectives. The ability of those senior manager to take the weight depends on the severity of the ineffectiveness at the executive level. When the lack of competence radiates beyond the senior team, the future of the organisation is then under threat

Followership: followers are innately aware of what effective leadership is. Followers who have experienced effective leaders will become effective leaders and put into practice the behaviour they have observed and experienced.