Are You Operating on Autopilot?

Are you guilty of running your days on autopilot? It’s easy to do when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. However, constantly operating in reactive mode means you are severely limiting your leadership potential and stifling the potential of those around you.

Successful leaders do not operate this way, and several traits come to mind when I think about effective and inspiring leadership. 

Integrity, compassion, empathy, and the ability to engage others are all critical aspects of leadership, but there’s something that the most successful leaders have in common that sets them apart: self-awareness. 

When you’re in a position of leadership, maintaining a strong sense of self-awareness can be challenging, especially when you are managing multiple priorities and leading in our ever-changing workplace. With so much going on and so much riding on your ability to motivate your people, it’s crucial that you take time to check in honestly with yourself and gauge your level of self-awareness.

The following tips can help you increase your self-awareness and overall leadership effectiveness.

Leadership Values

What values are held high in your organization? And how well are you exemplifying those values on a day-to-day basis?

Does your list look something like this?

  • Honesty and open communication
  • Teamwork
  • Accountability
  • Flexibility
  • Continuous learning and growth
  • Agility

I recommend you take a moment to reflect and check your performance against your organization's values to see how aligned or mis-aligned your behaviors are against those values.

Taking a moment of pause and reflection will allow you to gain a real perspective on your ability to lead, which gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your focus and behavior, so that you can lead in the most effective way possible for your people.

Set Clear Expectations

Peter Drucker came up with one of the best methods for leadership self-evaluation: in a process he called feedback analysis, he suggested that leaders should write down what they expect will happen as a result of making an important decision.

Exploring your expectations helps you self-discover a few things:

  1. How you determine and think through your decision-making process
  2. How you can be held more accountable so that the desired outcome is achieved
  3. How you can improve your leadership through self-reflection

When you review your expectations on a regular basis, you can compare what you wrote to what happened, which allows you the opportunity to self-evaluate your leadership effectiveness, so you can adjust your style accordingly.

Use Feedback to Help You Improve

Sometimes the best way to become more self-aware is to see how others see you.

Ask your employees, peers, and respective leader for open and honest feedback. Pay attention to how they interact with you, which will immediately demonstrate the level of trust you have with one another. Your people will either be eager to meet with you and share their thoughts or hesitate and have little to nothing to share. 

Either way, there is learning to be had by asking for insight on what you do well, what you can do more of and what you can stop doing as it isn’t serving you or anyone else around you. There are many ways you can frame asking for feedback, so leverage an approach that works for best for you.

Self-Awareness and Change

Sometimes as leaders, we may not like aspects of ourselves as we work to become self-aware. But do not let this discourage you from continuing your journey of becoming a better leader.

In no way are you failing. Mistakes and missteps are part of learning to lead, and every one of them presents you with an opportunity to change. Life and leadership are not linear, and both are a continuous process, so take the lessons you learn through these self-awareness exercises and apply them with the confidence of knowing that you’re improving every day.

It is only through building your self-awareness muscles that you will have the ability to shut off your autopilot mode, as you tap deeper into the self-discovery and reflection process.

Flipping the Switch on Autopilot

Are you stuck in autopilot? It’s a natural human behavior but don’t let it affect your leadership performance.

If you need help taking back control, I’m here to support you and provide a fresh perspective on your challenges with action steps you can start implementing right away.

Reach out and give me a call at 1.855.871.3374 or email me at

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