Episode 1: Self-Leadership and Self-Awareness

Michelle Intro:

Thank you for joining Episode 1 of our Season 2 of the Reboot Program. As we see more businesses reopen in the coming days and weeks, we will need to support more frontliners with the right mindset and skills to serve customers better. Gabe Baradi will talk about the first step to achieve Self-Leadership.


Leaders are made not born. While some of us may have the traits and opportunities that give others an advantage early in life, leadership is a set of skills that can be learned and developed. Before we can lead others, we must first lead ourselves, and Self-leadership is the first step towards becoming a leader of people. 

What is Self-Leadership? It is the practice of intentionally influencing one’s own thinking, feeling, and actions towards the person’s goals.

Because of the challenges of this pandemic on customers and businesses alike, all employers need a strong team that can solve customers’ problems and motivate themselves to strive for excellence. Store leaders need team members who have the proactiveness to do what is needed without being constantly reminded. To be the best possible person for the job, we need to know how to lead ourselves. Self-awareness is the first and most important step towards self-leadership.

What does Self-awareness mean? It is the ability to examine our own emotions and reactions. A self-aware person can evaluate their own strengths, weaknesses, needs and triggers. You need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are in order to maximize or work on them respectively. When you are aware of these traits and capabilities, you can make better decisions about how to act in any given situation. You will also be able to communicate better with your colleagues and customers, which leads to better relationships. 

Here are 4 steps to increase self-awareness:

  1. Understand your emotions. It is easy to act or react based on your initial feelings. This is dangerous though, because your feelings are colored by your perception and first impressions, which are not always correct. Observe your emotions when certain situations happen. Know what your emotional triggers are: what makes you angry, sad, anxious, or confused. Look at the patterns of your behavior that is caused by different emotions. When you understand how your emotions are connected to your reactions and behaviors, you are able to process them before you react, instead of acting in the heat of the moment, and regretting what you may have said or did after. At work, being a professional means that you focus on getting your tasks done regardless of your emotions. Understanding your emotions and what causes them lets you master it, instead of your feelings mastering you. 
  2. Be open to feedback. We frequently mention this throughout our Reboot series, because it is a good source of information on how you are doing and how you can be better at work. Ask your store leader and colleagues. It may feel new to you at first, because people are usually hesitant to share how they feel about their colleagues’ performance to avoid offending anyone or hurting people’s feelings. If we really want to be better people at work and in our personal lives, being open to hear the truth will help us grow. Silence will not help anyone. It will definitely not help us work on our self-awareness. When you learn to separate your initial hurt feelings from people’s feedback on your performance, you become more open. People will see this as a sincere effort on your part to be a better person at work, and they will support you even more by helping you through fair feedback and encouragement.
  3. Know your strengths and weaknesses. When you combine both your self-examination and feedback from others, you have a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Look at how you can increase or maximize your strengths by performing tasks that are aligned with skills you are good at. Knowing your weaknesses gives you the opportunity to work on minimizing them by changing your mindset and learning appropriate skills. If you are self-aware to your strengths, use this to help out team members who may be struggling with tasks where you are good at. In turn, this gives everyone a safe space to be comfortable with each one’s weaknesses, and asking for help becomes much easier. In a post-lockdown world, there is no competition within the team, we need to help each other so we can all succeed. 
  4. Evaluate your decisions. As part of understanding yourself better, look at some of your past decisions that led to success or failure. Assess the different factors, emotions, and conditions that resulted in these right or wrong decisions. You will see patterns of behavior that made you choose the right or wrong actions. Determine which behavior patterns lead to better decisions and repeat these constructive behaviors consistently. This evaluation is not meant to make you feel bad about those past failures and regret the actions we took. Accepting past mistakes or failure may be difficult for some people to process and accept. This is why to help us reach this stage of readiness and acceptance, we recommend that you practice steps 1 to 3 first. 

When you are faced with making important decisions even in your personal life, take some time to determine which decisions have led you to success, and which were not so beneficial. The more information you use to help understand yourself, the better your decisions will be in the future. 

During this pandemic, many people will use their emotions to react and make decisions. This is natural because we are human, fully capable of feeling a range of emotions. However, if our decisions at work and at home will affect other people, self-awareness will help us survive and overcome the challenges of the coming days. See you in our next episode. 

Michelle Closing: 

We would like to end this episode with a few questions to help you practice what Gabe shared with us: 

  • Before Covid-19, try to recall one experience where you felt emotional at work. What was the trigger and what emotion did you feel? As a result of that feeling, what did you do after?
  • Recalling that experience, you now have one pattern which identifies an emotional trigger, the feeling and the behavior that resulted. Looking back at this same experience, if this happened to someone else, what feedback would you give that person to help him or her respond better to the trigger?
  • What are your top 3 strengths at work? Keep focusing on those abilities, be comfortable in embracing your strengths, as they are what you can bring to the team to help the business recover faster. 

Self-awareness is a process that may take time, but a little step each day to discover who we really are is a big step forward towards growth. If you have any questions about this episode please share them using the Reboot Journal. Thank you for joining.