Without being self-aware, personal growth is unlikely to occur and we end up concentrating on others people’s weaknesses rather than our own. Let’s look at Judy, a new manager, who lacked self-awareness about her openness to others’ ideas.
Judy felt competent in her own management skills. After all, she had a master’s degree in leadership and a coveted management position in one of the fastest growing companies in the Bay Area. After three weeks into her new job she launched an initiative to change the department’s billing procedures. It wasn’t long before her staff grew increasingly resentful. They couldn’t understand why she started overhauling a program when she had little understanding of what it was all about. She hadn’t even asked for their input. Despite Judy’s assurance to the group that she wanted to hear from them, she became red-faced, stern and angry whenever she got pushback or resistance from them. Everyone knew that any ideas that didn’t support her own weren’t welcomed. Staff, peers and managers tried to encourage Judy to slow down and be more patient with changing things. Many suggested she hold meetings with staff to explain her goals and then get staff to provide the solutions. Judy assured everyone that she was doing just that. Her lack of self-awareness made it impossible for her to recognize that anger and intimidation were keeping people at bay. After morale sunk to a new low, Judy was relieved of her position. No one was surprised except Judy.
Lesson Learned? Judy needs to develop self-awareness. Unless she does, she is destined to repeat this problem in future management roles.