Building Self Awareness in Leadership
There is a growing consensus among experts and researchers that developing a healthy level of self awareness is essential to become a successful leader. People who have self awareness are well equipped to become effective leaders and managers because they have the skills to support and inspire a team.
For those who are already in leadership positions, engaging in self improvement in this area can also lead to enhanced strategic decision making, better financial outcomes and increased influence within your organisation. It’s important for those in all positions to understand the concept of self awareness and how it applies to your career path. Learn how actively practicing self awareness can help you develop your leadership capabilities and uncover new opportunities in work and academic study.
What is self awareness?
According to psychologist and leading emotional intelligence researcher Dr. Reuven Bar-On, self-awareness starts with the ability to recognise what you’re feeling. Once you can identify your feelings and differentiate between them, people who are self aware understand what they feel and how their internal world is impacting the people around them. This last element is why self aware leaders tend to have valuable reciprocal relationships with their teams – they understand that both themselves and their teams have unconscious emotional bias that affect their behaviour in the workplace.
Identifying behaviours through self awareness
Self awareness is best understood as a collection of productive behaviours rather than as a passive mindset. Put simply, being self aware is something people need to continually practice and maintain. Learning to identify and apply self aware behaviours facilitates effective leadership through a dual internal and external focus. This means self aware leaders stop to consider their own internal biases as well as seeking input from their teams.
These behaviours fall into four main categories, as detailed below.
- Awareness of strengths and weaknesses
When it comes to their ways of working and natural leadership and communication styles, every person has their own distinct combination of strengths and weaknesses. However, it’s human nature to struggle to accurately self-assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Working to gain an objective awareness of your strengths and weaknesses helps improve emotional intelligence, leading to better self-management of your emotions. This recognition can directly affect leadership and decision making within a team.
Self aware people are more conscious of their habits, whether they’re helpful or harmful and how they can affect their productivity and interpersonal relationships. Becoming self aware regarding your habits aids self-discipline, which in turn helps you control your impulses and reactions to everyday stressors.
This can lead to personal growth benefits including academic success and increased productivity in the workplace.
- Seeking feedback
Seeking feedback can be daunting, but it’s an invaluable practice for building a healthy level of self awareness. Asking your colleagues, family and friends for constructive feedback can help you understand how you’re perceived by others, both personally and professionally.
By completing this process regularly, you’ll also gain confidence in your own self assessments of your capabilities and become a more secure leader.
- Staying open minded
Creativity and the ability to think outside the box are well known attributes of effective leaders. That’s why staying open minded is a highly beneficial self aware behaviour. Everyone has unconscious biases that hinder their creativity and problem solving. When you build self awareness, you become more conscious of these limiting biases and come through with better solutions.
The key benefit of an open mindset is a vast increase in your ability to adapt and thrive within fast-paced and ever-changing modern workplace environments.
The benefits of self awareness in leadership
Practicing all four pillars of self aware behaviour helps not only with your leadership skills, but also with your career growth and confidence when moving into new roles. No matter your industry, the personal growth and adaptability you can achieve by working on yourself is a highly sought after trait. As technology continues to play an ever-growing role in our working days, candidates with highly developed soft skills like self aware leadership and emotional intelligence are more in demand than ever.
Practice self development through academic study
Investing in self development through tertiary study in business leadership is a highly effective way to open new doors to your next role. A Graduate Certificate in Business Administration will equip you with a strong skillset in leadership, problem solving and effective communication to boost your potential for career advancement. Within the program, the subject of Leadership and Influencing also focuses on the need for facing business challenges through both an intellectual and emotionally aware lens. This 100% online program is developed to give you the freedom to upskill on your own terms, without the need for an undergraduate degree.
Book a call today with one of our expert advisors to learn more about how a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration can help you forge ahead in your career and provide an entry pathway to an MBA.