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Great Leadership Starts with Self-Awareness



What is Self-Awareness?


Self-awareness is the experience of one's own personality or individuality. It involves being aware of different aspects of the self including traits, thoughts, behaviors, feelings and how you respond to others. Essentially, it is a psychological state in which oneself becomes the focus of attention.


Examples of self-awareness:

  • You’re able to recognize, monitor, and modulate your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

  • You’ve worked on resolving the difficult issues from your upbringing.

  • You’re comfortable in your own skin.

  • You’re able to build positive relationships with others.

  • You treat people with kindness and respect.

Why is Self-Awareness Important?


Self awareness is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are able to experience ourselves as unique and separate individuals. We are then empowered to make changes and to build on our areas of strength as well as identify areas where we would like to make improvements.


I believe the practice of self-awareness is one of the greatest skills in life because it enables you to learn about yourself in a way no one else can ever teach you.

It teaches you how to manage yourself and how to productively engage with other people.

Most importantly, it enables you to design what works for you, so you can make better decisions, build better relationships and design your lifestyle on your terms.



How to Practice and Improve Your Self-Awareness?


1. Being aware of your actions - knowing your habits, the things that you do, your thought process and the distractions that you choose to take to keep yourself sane and happy.


2. Awareness of your emotions, feelings and being able to track it.

I remembered our Emotional Intelligence session with Hetal Bhatt where in one of the exercises, she asked the participants to write down the emotions that they had in the past 24 hours. I thought of a few emotions but never really done such an activity before. After the participants shared their numbers, she shared a list of emotions and with more terms shown to us, we have increased the number of emotions we get to list down.

These opened up my mind how understanding our emotions and feelings can help us not only to be self-aware but also how being able to identify them can add value to be more empathetic to others.


3. Knowing your blindspot - This is being aware of your thoughts, actions and biases which is a reflection of what we feel at the moment.


4. Write Things Down - Keep a journal, send emails to yourself, scribble in a notebook—however you do it, writing is a lot like meditating with an active brain component added in.


5. Your goal of having self-awareness should be self-acceptance. Knowing your flaws and negative thoughts should help you to turn them into positive ones.



What are the Organizational Benefits of Self-aware Leadership?


Developing self-awareness as a leader will strengthen not only individual performance but organizational performance as well. The understanding, trustworthiness and wisdom that self-aware leaders possess equips them with critical skills for success.


These kinds of leaders believe that part of humility that engages them and motivates them to invest not only in themselves but in others and their opportunity to improve.


By becoming more self-aware, and subsequently recognizing their strengths, weaknesses and hidden biases, leaders gain the trust of their team members — and increase their own credibility. Additionally, a culture of self-awareness advances learning and development (L&D) by promoting the value of continuous growth and development.



In conclusion, when we are self-aware leaders, we always look forward to more than individual success. We will want to use our superpowers, passion and purpose to influence change on a larger scale. In order for us to make a difference, we must start with self-awareness to objectively determine areas we need to improve.


When we have that clarity on what is right or wrong, true or false and we are willing to accept and embrace change, we are not only making our lives better but also making the world a better place to live in.

This reminds us of why we wanted to be a leader in the first place. It helps us discover, and live, the impact we want to have, not just on our team, organizations but on the world. And, that is a leader worth following.


“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” - Buddha

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