Ninety-five percent of people think they are self-aware, but only 10-15 percent actually are. It is a hard truth to swallow, but that only means growth is ahead.
When leaders are self-aware, they know what emotions and feelings drive their behaviors and actions. Their ability to recognize these emotions and feelings can help them understand what drives their team members and how to effectively lead them.
In this two-part article series, you will learn about the complexity of self-awareness, tips for becoming self-aware, how to cultivate that kind of culture for your team, and how self-awareness correlates with overall company performance.
Building and achieving self-awareness is complex. People need to understand who they are internally and externally, meaning that they know who they are and how others see them.
Internal self-awareness is about how clearly you understand your values, aspirations, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, weaknesses, and impact on others. External self-awareness is about how others view you in relation to themselves.
Leaders who see themselves as their employees do, tend to have better relationships with their employees. The employees feel more satisfied with the leader and see them as more effective in general.
One size doesn’t fit all, though! You can have high internal and low external self-awareness or vice versa. There are four archetypes – Introspectors, Seekers, the Aware, and Pleasers.
One reason why ninety-five percent of people think they are self-aware is because of the imbalance between internal and external self-awareness. The key is not to value one type more than the other. We need to actively work on both so we can see ourselves clearly and understand how our peers see us.
The more power a leader holds, the more they will overestimate their skills and abilities and not seek feedback needed for external self-awareness. This could happen because senior leaders have fewer people above them to provide candid feedback, and the more power a leader holds, the less comfortable some are giving constructive feedback. Here’s the catch, though – people need feedback to help match their internal view with the external view.
Leaders can prevent this from happening by gaining feedback from “loving” critics to improve their external self-awareness. Loving critics are people that have your best interests in mind and are willing to be honest. If you want candid feedback:
You’d think introspection leads to self-awareness, but most people do it wrong. Understanding the reasons behind a particular behavior or reaction takes objectivity– easier said than done when our life events and self-esteem can drive us to the wrong conclusions. Instead of letting your inner critic answer the introspecting questions, consider replacing “Why?” with “What?”. Research has found that highly self-aware people ask themselves “why” less than 150 times but ask themselves “what” more than 1000 times. For example, instead of asking why something happened, ask yourself, “What are the steps I need to take in the future to do a better job?”
Self-awareness is the bedrock of emotional intelligence that lets you see your talents, motivations, potential, and shortcomings, but it takes continuous effort. Our experiences, culture, self-worth, peers, and backgrounds influence who we are. It is up to us to take responsibility for who we wish to continually become. New circumstances and change are bound to happen, so to understand your true self, stay curious and do not stop seeking to understand yourself.
Content provided by Q4intelligence
Photo by dolgachov