Self-awareness is defined as having a clear understanding of your personality or individuality and understanding how your behavior affects others as well as your attitude and responses. In addition, self-awareness includes having an understanding of how you are perceived by others. In today’s business world, self-awareness is considered essential for successful leadership.
According to top talent acquisition groups focused on helping companies hire those with leadership skills, self-awareness is the first quality for which they screen. They know that leaders who foster self-awareness develop tools for leveraging their strengths and confronting their weaknesses. These are the kind of people who earn credibility and cultivate relationships based on trust and respect.
One of the finer qualities of someone who is self-aware is that they remain open to new ideas, inquiry, and constructive criticism. So whether you are looking to join a group or company and rise through the ranks as a leader or you are leading your own company or organization, ask yourself how self-aware you are.
One of the more compelling arguments for self-aware leaders is that they model the same values for their employees and their entire organization. That leads to respect and credibility with clients and community in general.
I have included an edited version of The 5 Steps for Cultivating Self Awareness from The Generator Group talent acquisition group. Read through and determine your current level of self-awareness. Then reflect on how you can improve.
The 5 Steps for Cultivating Self-Awareness
- Seek feedback. Ask the people you work with for feedback after you’ve completed specific projects. Remember to ask direct questions, listen attentively, and don’t justify or defend your actions. Asking for feedback creates an overall sense of accountability in the organization and encourages a practice of honest communication.
- Utilize tools for understanding yourself. While tests won’t provide an exhaustive description of an individual’s personality, they can be effective tools for recognizing how you interact with other people, what motivates your decision-making, and how you approach problems. For example, if a leader recognizes that they place a high value on thoroughness and have just been tasked with managing a group of 500+ people, they can anticipate their inclination to interact with individuals on a one-on-one basis, even when it won’t be feasible in the given situation.
- Create tangible tools for self-reflection. Create a habit of writing down key decisions and the motivations that influenced those decisions. After six months to a year, re-examine those decisions and the ways in which your assumptions were accurate or misguided (this can be undertaken privately or formally with a CEO or the board of directors). This process avoids the trap of revising history after the fact, and helps the entire organization hone its decision-making process.
- Be aware of others. Great leaders use the same tools of self-awareness to cultivate an understanding of the people they work with. Through understanding different personality attributes, you can better manage communication styles and the different ways people approach projects and deadlines. In addition, strong teams are composed of different personality types with different skill sets. By creating a team of people with diverse and complementary skills all working to achieve the same project goals, you encourage employees to better understand themselves and others. In doing so, you help create an organization that is flexible, open to change, innovated, and self-aware.