Why do we need to become more self-aware?
To be an effective leader and manager we need to be aware of ourselves and the impact we have on others around us. When we develop our self-awareness we are able to understand the emotions and behaviours of ourselves and those of our teams – this helps us to deal with the challenges of other people’s reactions, especially in the workplace.
What is self- awareness?
Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of ourselves – our character, desires, beliefs, qualities, motives and feelings. Having a good sense of these aspects of ourselves can help us in the workplace, and in our private lives.
Developing self-awareness, is a skill that is part of our personal and professional development. Self-awareness can be applied in our working lives to help us:
• understand emotions more clearly – ours and other people’s
• improve our communication skills – and interact with others in the workplace to resolve conflict more effectively
• improve leadership skills – and our general operational performance
• improve job satisfaction – by focusing on job roles and tasks that truly motivate us
• maximise career development opportunities
How can we become more self-aware?
There are a number of ways that we can learn more about ourselves:
Feedback from others – such as appraisals or more informally a simple “how am I doing?”
Coaching tools – such as a using a SWOT analysis, or Johari’s window
Psychometric tools – such as Myers Brigs Type Indicator Test, or Mental Toughness Questionnaire
Management tools – such as engagement surveys or 360 degree appraisals
Self-reflection tools – such as keeping a journal or practising mindfulness
Getting feedback from others
In this blog we will focus on how to generate feedback from others. Feedback is important as if we don’t receive feedback then how do we know how we are doing and where we need to improve? Whilst receiving positive feedback is always nice, criticism also has a great amount of value, especially when delivered in a constructive manner. Therefore it is important that when we are delivering and receiving feedback we ensure it is objective and focusses on ways to improve rather than personality.
Feedback can be delivered through:
Formal reviews – This usually begins with a performance appraisal defining objectives, often using a rating system. The appraisal is then discussed with our line manager where we:
• give and receive feedback
• review progress so far
• discuss current strengths and issues
• set goals and targets for the next stage
Informal feedback – This can happen at any time and can be as simple as a quick chat, a passing comment, or a spontaneous note or email. Usually based on something observed that day
Feedback from peers – This can be valuable as they understand the environment you work in and the challenges you may face at work
Feedback from customers and other stakeholders (such as external trainers or coaches) – This can be in the form of customer feedback surveys which may be subjective and biased, though may still add value. Or from other stakeholders such as external trainers who are trained to provide feedback in a constructive manner
Feedback from yourself – This is your own self-appraisal and this is where you may reflect on a situation and consider ways to improve or you may complete a full self-evaluation in the form of a SWOT analysis where you analyse your strengths and weaknesses in order to improve.
Ultimately managers who are more self-aware and know their strengths, their blind spots, where they need support and what development they need to help them and their organisation to move forward are going to be able to contribute fully and be more effective. This is vital in key management and leadership roles and tasks such as communicating, organising, motivating, dealing with conflict, solving challenges and decision-making.
In our next blog, we will focus on using some of the coaching tools available to improve your self-awareness.
If you have enjoyed this blog, why not join us on our next Leadership and Management Course where self-awareness is studied in detail
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