Written by: Annie Hudson, WISE Project Management Lead

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”

― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays


These words have never been more true than when applied to leadership. As the WISE Project Manager Lead with various past leadership roles, I’ve learned so much over the years about what makes (or doesn’t make) a quality leader. While it’s true that every leader has a unique way of leading, the ones I admire the most share a common trait that I believe to be the key to successful leadership: self-awareness.  


Whether it’s in my professional career, personal relationships, or volunteer opportunities, I try to take something from all my experiences.  I spend time looking back at situations and encounters to review the good, the bad, and the ugly from each.  


Questions I ask myself are:


  • Why was this so great? 
  • Why did this go so poorly?
  • How could I/we have done it better?


I can’t control other people’s reactions or behaviors, but I can control my own and I could always find ways to improve. Having this self-awareness has guided me well in every single leadership role I’ve had. 


The dictionary defines self-awareness as a “conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires”. But what characteristics do self-aware leaders have? How can you develop them? Here’s a look at my top three characteristics that all good leaders should strive to possess. 


  1. Empathetic Leaders with empathy can see how others view them and use that knowledge to strengthen their relationships.  Here is a great tool to help you measure your “temperamental empathy” and increase your self-awareness.  


  1. Emotional Intelligence Emotional intelligence is an individual's capacity to handle interpersonal relationships both empathically and judiciously.  The Berkeley Emotional Intelligence Quiz is a great test to tell you how well you read other people's emotions.  


  1. Know Yourself — Knowing your personality profile helps you understand your own personality biases, which could ultimately lead you to strong and cohesive professional relationships. The Crystal Knows personality test is a great way to gain self-awareness on your own personality and behaviors.  


Gaining self-awareness is a lifelong journey.  Human beings change and grow, but knowing and understanding yourself and the impact you have on others is a great step to being an effective leader.    


Looking for a team of leaders to help you strategize and grow? Set up a Discovery Call with us! https://wiseadviseteam.com/contact/

Annie Hudson Heashot

Annie Hudson

WISE Project Management Lead

Annie has been with WISE for 3 years and is a US Army Veteran. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut and is currently working on her Masters in Clinical Mental Health. She is a mom of three, been married for 15 years, and enjoys group fitness.