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How To Become More Self-Aware

Discover how to become self-aware so you can improve yourself and interact easily with others.
Person stood with their hands on an office desk, looking out a window
© Bailey & French Ltd.

We need self-awareness if we are to lead others with skill, power, and authenticity – and live a happy, resilient life.

As a leader, developing our self-awareness improves individual performance and wellbeing. On an organisational level, it improves performance and culture too. Self-aware leaders tend to be trustworthy and emotionally intelligent, which has a positive impact on wider organizational culture.

Humans are complex creatures, and so is the journey to authenticity. In this step, we’ll explore some key aspects of our personal identity and how these relate to our leadership.

Our Strengths and Weaknesses

Gaining a deeper understanding of our strengths helps us to become better leaders. Our strengths are the things we are naturally good at: we enjoy doing them and they give us energy. We also all have weaknesses: the things that we are not good at and that we find draining and stressful.

Our strengths and weaknesses are at the core of who we are at our best and worst and need to be properly understood if we want to be effective, human leaders.

Our Purpose and Values

A sense of deeper meaning and purpose supports resilience, wellbeing, and performance. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What helps you keep going during challenging times? Knowing this helps us to lead others. Purpose statements and clear values support this.

If you don’t know your purpose and values, your leadership style and performance may be driven by things like money and status. These are known as ‘extrinsic motivators’ and have been shown to damage personal effectiveness. A strong and clear sense of purpose inspires others to follow us.

Our Beliefs and Mindsets

From an early age, we all develop beliefs about ourselves, other people, and the world around us. As they are often formed in childhood, when our brains are still developing, these beliefs are not always rational. For example: ‘The one who shouts the loudest gets the most attention. Beliefs like this can remain influential in our adult lives, especially if we are not aware of them.

A mindset is stronger than a belief. It is a collection of habitual thoughts and beliefs that impacts how we see the world – think of it as a filter. A mindset can impact our thoughts, emotions, biases and behaviours. This means that as leaders we need to be aware of them.

Our Personal Resources

We all have our own personal resources that help us achieve our goals and stay resilient in tough times. This ‘bank’ of personal resources could include coping strategies, guiding principles or patterns of thinking. They can be incredibly useful and important, so we need to be aware of them. That awareness will help us to use them more effectively. It will also help those we lead to find and use their own personal resources.

We are all unique and understanding ourselves on a deeper level helps us to become more authentic and human leaders. Through Week 1, we will explore our awareness of these aspects, look at the research behind them, and boost our self-awareness as leaders.

Summary

  • Self-awareness is fundamental to leading others with skill, power, and authenticity
  • Humans are complex, making the journey towards self-awareness lifelong
  • We should build awareness of our own:
    • Strengths and weaknesses
    • Purpose and values
    • Mindsets and beliefs
    • Personal resources

 

© Bailey & French Ltd.
This article is from the free online

Leadership Training: Human Leadership

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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