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Get to Know Yourself as a Leader

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand the importance of knowing yourself as a manager.
  • Identify your management strengths and development areas.

Building Your Self-Awareness

How well do you know yourself as a manager? Do you already have a strong sense of what you’re good at and where you can improve? If you do, you’ve mastered the most important challenge—knowing yourself.

Research done by Harvard identified one quality that trumps all in every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader: self-awareness. Understand your superpowers, and your kryptonite, and you can get better results, be more successful, and build great teams!

To build self-awareness, you have to understand your superpowers (strengths) and your kryptonite (areas of improvement).

Think about it. We can all be more successful by taking the time to get to know our strengths and areas of improvement. The good news is that we can help you do it. Ready? Download the management pack and take the GREAT Manager Self-Assessment to see what you’re already doing well and where you can improve.

How did you do? Let’s take a closer look.

Identifying Your Strengths and Development Opportunities

All managers have strengths that they use every day with their teams. And all managers have things to work on. Let’s explore your strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Take a look at your GREAT Manager Assessment.

  • What surprised you?
  • What did you learn?
  • For which GREAT Manager Characteristics did you rate the highest? Why?
  • For which did you rate the lowest? Why?

Sure, a self-assessment is a good starting point to learn about yourself. But an even better way is to ask those who work most closely with you. You can ask in a regular one-on-one meeting or set up a special time to talk. You can also take a formal 360-degree feedback assessment that your company offers. At Salesforce, we have a Feedback App where managers can refer back to feedback they’ve received to help identify strengths and pinpoint areas for development.

Who do you ask?

  • Start with your own manager. He or she has a good perspective.
  • Ask your team members; they see you in action every day.
  • Try your peers and colleagues, too.

Remember that giving feedback isn’t always easy.

It might not be easy for your manager, team, or peers to give you constructive feedback. They can be nervous about sharing their honest feelings. They don’t want to miss the mark or possibly don’t know what to say. Even feedback on what you do well can feel awkward for someone to share. Your priority is to create a safe environment for others to give you feedback.

Try this:

  • Tell your peers, manager, and team members that you welcome their honest feedback so that you can learn how to become a better manager.
  • Ask them specific, focused questions (you can try some of the ones listed below).
  • Share your own assessment—be honest about your areas for improvement.
  • Watch your body language when you receive feedback.
  • Listen to the feedback openly and avoid becoming defensive.
  • Be sure to thank individuals who give you feedback.

To get feedback on your strengths and opportunities for improvement:

Ask This
Not That
What should I continue doing that is working for you? Not working as well?
What feedback do you have for me? (Too vague)
(Share a specific situation) What did I do well; what could I have done differently?
What am I doing wrong? (Too focused on the negative)
What’s one thing I can do differently to better support you?
Where am I doing a bad job? (Too judgmental)
What’s one strength you see me use on the team? What about an area I can improve to have more impact?
What criticism do you have for me? (Too negative)

What else can you do to pinpoint your management strengths and development opportunities?

1. Think about the recognition and constructive feedback you’ve received as a manager.

  • What are you doing well?
  • What did you accomplish?
  • What can you do better?
  • What have you received feedback on before that you can do differently?

2. Reflect on what your friends, family, and colleagues would say.

  • What do they see as your strengths? Development opportunities?
  • What do they think you can do more of that you do well?
  • What examples can they provide of your strengths in action?
  • What do they see as your opportunities for development?

3. Look at your past performance reviews.

  • What strengths did your manager highlight? Opportunities?
  • Where did you perform best? Where did you struggle?
  • What examples did your manager share that demonstrate your strengths and development themes?

What if you don’t agree with the feedback?

Have you ever received feedback and thought to yourself:

  • “I used to be that way, but I’ve changed!”
  • “Nobody understands what I’m going through.”
  • “This can’t be right; that’s not me.”
  • “It’s accurate, but I don’t care!”

It’s hard to hear feedback. Ask yourself the questions below and consider the actions you can take. Remember, feedback is a gift. It’s the best way to learn how to improve as a manager. You can’t change what you don’t know about yourself.


When receiving feedback, ask yourself the following questions.

Do I understand the feedback?
Ask for more details if you aren’t clear.
Is it valid or accurate?
If you don’t think so, ask for another opinion and write down why it might not be valid.
Is it important?
If the feedback is on a management skill that’s one of the GREAT Characteristics, it’s important!
Do I want to change?
Look deep—what’s the benefit of changing? What’s the cost if you don’t?

Now you’re ready to take action on the feedback. Keep your eyes and ears open. We’re about to give you some great ways to become a great manager.

Resources