By: Sherrie Dulworth

According to a Gallup report, over half (51%) of the U.S. workforce is not engaged. This can affect an organization’s ability to attract and retain employees, negative factors but especially so in a tight labor market.

How can leaders understand their style and improve employee engagement? A good first step might be in the adage to “know thyself” since high self-awareness is among the traits that helps to drive overall business success.

Below are a few tools that can help leaders develop greater self-awareness and to more objectively understand and improve their own performance:


“Which tool you decide to use may depend on what you are trying to figure out and help.”

Steve Wakeen, a CEO & Executive coach, explained that leaders may lack insights into their own strengths and weaknesses. Wakeen uses the Leadership Circle Profile™ to help paint an objective picture for his clients of their leadership effectiveness (competencies and styles) in 29 dimensions, and provides a road-map for improvement.

The Leadership Circle Profile™ provides a 360-degree assessment of leadership effectiveness. This profile compares an individual’s perception of their own competencies and performance with their team’s perceptions of the same and connects leadership effectiveness to business performance.

Wakeen described a client who believed he was highly collaborative, while those who worked with him felt he rejected their suggestions. The profile offered him proof in that gap between his own “Collaborator” scores compared with those given him by his team. “He was very surprised about the results and what was being said about his closing down ideas,” Wakeen explained. They put together a plan: first to increase his awareness of his behavior and better understand how his style hindered the contributions of others, and then to help course-correct.

Deb Gogliettino,an executive coach and long-time human resources professional, has used the Hartman Value Profile and DiSC® profile, among others, to help assess and mentor executives.

Gogliettino noted, “Which tool you decide to use may depend on what you are trying to figure out and help.” For instance, the Hartman Profile helps to take a deep look at individual values and personalities. She explained how it can help HR professionals better understand how to optimize employee strengths and augment weakness. “For instance, if someone rates very high in strategic thinking but can’t communicate well, the employee may need to be paired with someone who can communicate and execute well.”

DiSC® looks at the domains of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness, and where you function most and where you excel. Gogliettino said, “An employee who is a high-influencer will likely not thrive so much as a solo worker. They like to be able to use their talent to persuade and collaborate with others.”

As a study by Green Peak Partners notes, “leadership searches give short shrift to ‘self-awareness,’ which should actually be a top criterion.”