1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » To be a better leader, you must first understand yourself: your strengths and weaknesses, what drives you and what keeps you grounded. We can’t get to the next level and be fully successful without this sense of self-awareness.Martin Zwilling, founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, writes that “the ‘sustainable competitive advantage’ in business is self-awareness,” which is taken from the book The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky. “We both have found that the ‘messy middle,’ with its ups and downs, is the hardest and most crucial part of any bold venture, and that’s where you need to come to grips with your true self,” he adds.Zwilling offers some key points for leaders who want to benchmark their own sense of self. The list includes:At a peak or valley, you are not your greatest self. Meaning, if things are going well, your ego can take over; if times are tough, insecurities take center stage. He encourages use of mentors, advisers or boards during these times.