26 Nov 2012
November 26, 2012

Self-Awareness

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Self-awareness is one of the most valuable leadership competencies, yet it is one of the least discussed. In an effort to appear task-focused and “businesslike,” organizational feedback often gravitates toward hard skills and competencies that are more easily measured than a soft skill such as self-awareness.

In a study conducted by Green Peak Partners (“What Predicts Executive Success?”, 2010), it was discovered that the executives most likely to deliver good bottom-line results are actually ““…self—aware leaders who are especially good at working with individuals and teams..””). Hence, effective leadership starts with intimate self-knowledge. Yet, self- knowledge is often difficult to acquire because we all have unconscious biases that make our perceptions of ourselves inaccurate.

Furthermore, in the workplace, self-knowledge has not traditionally been viewed as a critical component of employee success.

When we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior with our internal standards and values. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves. After being made self-aware, we are then more likely to alter our behavior to align with certain standards of thinking and behaving.

Self-awareness enables individuals to observe and monitor their behavior (Weisinger, 1998). Current methodologies that address and valuate workplace behavior and relationships as part o the change process include: engagement,, emotional intelligence, collaboration and leadership. These methodologies are all dependent upon some aspect of self-reflection and/or self-assessment.

The more active we are in assessing our thoughts and behavior in the moment, the deeper our ability to exhibit valued workplace competencies, which helps fuel the change process and yield the desired outcomes the organization seeks to achieve.

Employee engagement is a pressing topic in every industry. Most employers would argue that employee engagement is the most important aspect of a company’s productivity and operations. Research shows that engaged employees are more productive employees. They are more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and are more likely to withstand temptations to leave the organization.

Measuring an employee’s level of engagement is generally broken down into three areas: actively engaged, engaged, and not engaged. Individuals who are actively disengaged display a negative attitude. Attitude is a combination of your state of mind and your orientation to the world around you. The question of “positive” attitude is about making sure your mind is oriented in a direction that is beneficial.

Highly engaged individuals feel empowered to positively impact their organization. To be empowered, you must be conscious of the focus of your attention, your thoughts, and your feelings. Employee engagement is a force that drives business outcomes. It is important for employees to understand how their contributions impact others’ performances and the organization’s success. But, before there is engagement, there is attitude. Having a positive attitude is a direct result of self-awareness.

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