The ability to monitor yourself is an invaluable asset. Self-awareness helps you become a better leader and sets stronger boundaries. Several methods can help you become more self-aware — from setting limits to practicing discipline, the various ways to be more self-aware will help you be a more effective leader in many situations.
What sets a leader apart?
Some might say its integrity; others may say it’s a good motivator. But psychologist Sherrie Campbell believes that self-awareness is the critical factor in leadership success. It is through a deep understanding of oneself that a leader can transcend good and rise to greatness.
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness allows you to monitor your own emotions and reactions. It also allows you to know your strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivators, and other characteristics. Self-awareness means that you take a more in-depth look at your feelings, why you feel a certain way, and how your emotions can turn into reactions.
Self-awareness is sometimes confused with self-consciousness. But there’s an essential difference between these states of mind. Self-consciousness is a hyper-sensitized state of self-awareness; it’s the excessive preoccupation with your manners, behavior, or appearance. And while it is thought to be negative, self-awareness is focused on the impact your behavior has on other people. Therefore, it is much more positive.
Self-awareness is essential to emotional intelligence. Without self-awareness, you are not aware of your emotions; you are more likely to make poor decisions and thus more likely to feel unhappy and resentful. To increase your self-awareness, you need always to take note of your feelings. This helps you understand what drives you and others around you.
Why Self-Awareness Is Important
Self-awareness is essential for both personal and professional growth. In the workplace, self-aware managers do better work. Being aware of your internal state and your team members’ emotions makes you more effective in the leader’s role.
If you go into a situation knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you have the power to use them intentionally and to manage or eliminate them. When you can admit what you don’t know and have the humility to ask for help when you need it, you increase your credibility with your team.
On a personal level, the ability to have self-awareness means you can be more confident in your approach to people and situations. This gives you control of your own life and direction. A valuable personal goal is a self-awareness. It helps you look inward and understand yourself, others, and the world around you.
How critical is self-awareness in leadership and business?
Self-awareness is vital in any leadership position. No matter how busy you are, it’s essential that you understand yourself, what makes you want to act, or what keeps you from acting. Without self-awareness, you can become oblivious to your surroundings, negatively affecting your relationships with other people. It could also affect how you treat customers or the way that you communicate with other employees.
How to develop self-awareness.
1. Keep an open mind.
When you are a leader, you must listen and understand your team’s different viewpoints. You cannot say “my way or the highway” just because you are the boss. Team members must know that they can always trust you and will not get overlooked because they did not have a fancy title or powerful title. It would be best if you kept an open mind when you are working with others.
2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
You can start developing your self-awareness by doing a SWOT analysis to understand your strengths and weaknesses. It can help you better understand how you compare with other people and what motivates you. Both are essential attributes to have in life.
3. Stay Focused.
A vital part of being a good leader is keeping yourself focused. You must train yourself to focus for long periods without getting distracted by mobile devices, mobile apps, and other minor distractions.
4. Focus on others
It is easy to get caught up in your own experiences and forget how you may be affecting others. Self-aware people are conscious of how their actions and words influence others. Self-awareness can help you be a more considerate communicator. It can help you guard your own emotions in everyday interactions.
If you find yourself taking your frustration, stress, or anger out on others, stop immediately. Instead of letting your emotions get the better of you, look for something positive in the situation. Take a deep breath, and if you find you can’t control your feelings walk away.
When you control your own words and actions, it does not mean that you’re false. Instead, it shows that you care enough not to say or do something that might hurt somebody else. Showing humility is an essential part of this. When you are humble, you focus your attention and energy on others and not on yourself.
5. Ask for feedback.
Feedback is essential for personal growth – after all, this is often the only way to learn about your behavior and close performance gaps. You can get feedback from your team members and colleagues. Asking for feedback from the people around you gives you a chance to see how you interact with others and what they think of your work. What’s more, it can help you identify areas for improvement in your interpersonal communication skills.
6. Take note of what bothers you about other people.
Never be surprised to find that the things that bother you the most about others are characteristics you dislike about yourself. You’re all-too-human, with many of the same problems that everyone else has. Whether it is too honest or too nice, there’s something about everyone—including yourself—that can irritate you.
If we don’t know how to change these things, we can do the next best thing: Not thinking about them. When someone does something that seems particularly annoying or irritating, ask yourself: Is this a reflection of something that I dislike? What would it take for this person to act differently in my presence? Acknowledging that you have certain qualities that others may find irritating is a good starting point for changing behaviors.