An interview with Theresa Hoffman, managing partner, Thrive Leadership, who will be speaking at the 19 July HBA West Chester "The Self-Aware Leader" event in Wilmington, DE.
What does it mean to be a self-aware leader?
A self-aware leader understands why they are doing what they do. Not only does a self-aware leader understand their motives, they are also able to perceive whether their approach for a situation arises from a healthy, mature place or a stressed place. A self-aware leader understands what’s going on in their head, but doesn’t let it get to them. This is what I call taking on the role of the “observer.” A self-aware leader recognizes repetitive patterns of behavior and can call out when they are in the action of doing “that thing” they do.
Can you share the connection between self-awareness and successful leadership?
It’s the impact on other people. When a leader is self-aware, they know how they come across to other people. They realize the impact of their emotions, attitudes and actions on self and others. This is especially important for leaders because people are looking to the leaders and mirroring those emotions, whether they know it or not. A self-aware leader can catch themselves when they are upset and are in turn upsetting others and choose to tone it down. With low self-awareness, a leader is not even reading the room. Where a leader without self-awareness risks disengaging people, a self-aware leader gets the best out of people. Self-awareness also helps leaders better communicate. It gives them a language to say, “I’m having a moment.” Self-aware leaders also know what they’re good at and what they’re not good at. They can leverage their strengths and work with others to compensate for their weaknesses. They are open to feedback. They don’t get defensive because they already know themselves.
What are reasons people are inhibited from becoming a self-aware leader?
First, leaders don’t get enough feedback from others. Second, it’s easier to see what’s good about ourselves and it’s harder to see what’s challenging about ourselves. Third, it’s hard to see our unconscious and habitual behavior because we have had these tendencies since we were young children. We tend to run on an autopilot if we are not intentional about observing our behavior.
What is your role in Thrive leadership?
I work with senior leaders and their teams to understand who they are – what’s great about them, what’s challenging, what gets in the way of reaching their potential, and their patterns of behavior. I help them understand where they really want to go and how to build habits to get them there. I use a combination of self-assessments and 360 feedback so they recognize how they see themselves and what others need from them. I do this in a few different ways – executive coaching, team development and working with companies to build a leadership pipeline. I work across industries with life sciences being a primary industry.
What can we expect at the 19 July event at AZ's HQ?
I am thrilled to meet the audience of 19 July event at AstraZeneca. My goal is to discuss why self-awareness matters, some of the common obstacles that get in the way, and concrete strategies for raising self-awareness the minute you walk out the door. As you attend the event, you will learn to pinpoint your strengths and better understand your emotional triggers that can limit influence, effectiveness and career advancement. More importantly, you will get a chance to reflect and interact with other leaders.