June 24

Become a Stronger Leader Through Self-Awareness

As a small business owner, you wear many hats and juggle countless responsibilities every single day. From managing employees to handling finances to keeping customers happy, strong leadership is critical to your company's success. But what makes a truly effective leader? While there are many qualities that great leaders possess, one that is often overlooked is self-awareness. Having an in-depth understanding of your own strengths, weaknesses, communication styles and natural tendencies can help you maximize your potential and unlock your ability to inspire and motivate others.

Two tools that can provide you with invaluable self-knowledge are the DISC assessment and the Kolbe assessment. In this article, we’ll break each one down so you’ll gain an understanding of how you can use these self-awareness tools to improve your leadership skills. Let’s start with the DISC assessment.

The DISC Assessment: Understanding Your Communication Style

The DISC assessment helps you understand your behavioral styles and preferences. It is based on the work of psychologist William Marston, who categorized behavior into four main styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The assessment is typically taken online and consists of a series of questions that ask you to choose statements that best describe your behaviors in various situations.

The assessment works by analyzing your responses and providing a detailed report that outlines your dominant behavioral traits. It categorizes you into one or more of the four behavior types, highlighting your strengths, communication style, and potential areas for development. This information can be valuable for understanding how your behavior impacts your interactions with others - whether it’s team members, clients or even friends and family.

Here’s what each type indicates:

Dominance. If you score high in the Dominance dimension, you are likely direct, results-oriented, and willing to challenge the status quo. As a leader, this can help you stay focused on goals and drive your team to achieve them. However, you may also need to work on being more patient and considering others' perspectives.

Influence. A high score in Influence indicates that you tend to be persuasive, enthusiastic, and socially confident. These strengths can help you inspire and motivate your employees. But you may need to be mindful of not being seen as overly talkative or lacking focus.

Steadiness. If Steadiness is your primary dimension, you are likely patient, calm, and excellent at building relationships. As a leader, these qualities can foster loyalty and help you provide support to your team. However, you may need to push yourself to be more open to change.

Conscientiousness. Finally, those who score high in Conscientiousness tend to be detail-oriented, analytical, and good at following rules and procedures. This attention to detail is invaluable, but you may need to be careful not to get bogged down in minutiae and remain open to new ideas.

Taking the assessment yourself and giving it to your team members is beneficial in several ways. First, it can help you better appreciate your own tendencies and how your decision-making and communication styles affect the organization. Second, it can aid you in building effective teams by identifying the behavioral strengths of team members and how they complement each other. And third, it can reduce conflict by providing insights into how different individuals prefer to communicate and interact. Overall, the DISC assessment can be a valuable aid to help boost your self-awareness, leadership skills, and team dynamics.

Now that you have an idea of what the DISC is about, let’s turn to the Kolbe assessment.

The Kolbe Assessment: Understanding Your Natural Instincts

While the DISC reveals your typical behaviors, the Kolbe assessment dives even deeper by measuring your instinctive method of operation, or "modus operandi" (M.O.). This sheds light on your natural strengths, abilities, and tendencies that you don't have to put conscious effort into. Developed by Kathy Kolbe, this assessment is based on the idea that each person has a natural way of taking action, which remains consistent throughout their life. Unlike personality assessments, which focus on behavior and emotions, the Kolbe assessment focuses on how you naturally solve problems and make decisions.

There are four key areas the Kolbe explores:

Fact Finder: How you gather and share information

Follow Thru: How you arrange and design

Quick Start: How you deal with risk and uncertainty

Implementor: How you handle space and tangibles

By understanding your Kolbe results, you gain clarity into why you naturally excel in certain areas and struggle in others. For example, as a leader, if you are a high Follow Thru, you likely shine at creating efficient systems and processes. But if you are low in Quick Start, you may become paralyzed when faced with constant change. With this knowledge, you can capitalize on your strengths while finding ways to compensate for your areas of avoidance.

How does this tool help you as an entrepreneur? First, it helps you understand your natural strengths so you can leverage that knowledge to improve decision-making and problem-solving. Second, giving the assessment to your team can help you increase your team’s performance by identifying the unique strengths of each member and how they can work together more effectively. And third, the tool can help you reduce conflicts by providing insights into how individuals prefer to approach tasks and projects. Overall, the Kolbe assessment can be a powerful tool if you’re looking to optimize your own performance and that of your team.

Leading With Self-Awareness

Now that you understand how the DISC and Kolbe assessments work, you can see how they can transform you into a more self-aware, conscious leader. When you know your typical behaviors and communication styles thanks to DISC, you can adapt your approach to better connect with each individual employee, vendor, or client. And with the deep insight into your instincts from Kolbe, you'll have the self-knowledge to double down on your natural gifts while shoring up your blind spots.

Perhaps most importantly, leading with this level of self-awareness allows you to not only understand yourself, but to appreciate the diversity within your team. You'll recognize that just as you have your own unique combination of DISC dimensions and Kolbe instincts, each employee has their own strengths, communication styles, and tendencies to contribute. By creating an environment where you validate these differences, you'll empower your team and inspire them to work together like never before.

As a small business owner and leader, gaining deeper self-awareness through assessments like DISC and Kolbe is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself and your company. When you commit to truly understanding your own behaviors, communication styles, instincts, and innate abilities—as well as those of your team—you'll have the foundation to become an exceptional leader who brings out the best in yourself and others. So take the first step on your journey of self-discovery today and unlock your full potential to inspire, motivate, and drive your business toward incredible success.

How I Support You So You Can Focus on Your Business

As your trusted LIFTed Business Advisor, I know how important it is for you to hone your leadership skills and build an effective team. Effective leadership skills not only help you build your business but also help you avoid risk and conflict, both of which can nullify everything you’ve worked for.

That’s why I offer a LIFT Business Breakthrough Session, where together, we’ll analyze your company’s foundational systems to ensure your business is protected from risk and conflict. Then we’ll put together a plan for filling in any holes so you’re free to develop yourself as a leader, grow your business, and empower your team, without worrying about what could go wrong. I’m the trusted advisor who you can always turn to.

Book a call here to learn more and get started today.

This article is a service of a Personal Family Lawyer®. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Business Breakthrough Session, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.

The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

Proper estate planning can keep your family out of conflict, out of court, and out of the public eye. If you’re ready to create a comprehensive estate plan, contact us to schedule your Planning Session. Even if you already have a plan in place, we will review it and help you bring it up to date to avoid heartache for your family. Schedule online today.


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