How Self Awareness Makes a Good Leader and How to Build Yours

July 5, 2022


Self-awareness is a key factor in firm leadership. It means understanding our strengths and weaknesses and our abilities and limitations. Self-awareness guides how we process information, interact with people around us and handle situations in the work environment. 

Possessing self-awareness is an indispensable asset in leadership. When people in leadership roles are self-aware, it helps them identify deficiencies in their skill sets. This, in turn, promotes personal and professional development. A self-conscious leader will proactively seek opportunities to grow in their weak areas. They are motivated to discover their limitations to make breakthroughs in these areas. These breakthroughs will grow and refine their skill set, leading to them becoming more effective leaders.  On the other side of the coin, a self-aware leader will also recognize their strengths and lean into them when delegating, making decisions, and handling situations that arise in the workplace. Self-awareness helps leaders find situations where they can best utilize their strengths to be impactful.  

Self-aware leaders are reflective, wise, and observant. They are highly attuned to their thoughts, words, and actions and how they communicate those things to their team. They hone in on the effects of their communication, paying attention to reactions, primarily verbal, non-verbal, and environmental cues. Self-aware leadership is empathetic. These leaders understand the needs of others and can relate to their concerns or issues. They are also self-controlled and discerning. Self-awareness is learning how to temper yourself regardless of the intensity of a situation and respond in a professionally appropriate way. It can produce more wisdom in decision-making, as well. 

What Is Self Awareness: A Deeper Look 

What is self-awareness, and how do we understand it on a deeper level? Self-awareness is a personal philosophy. It builds on two fundamental concepts—internal awareness and external awareness. In a leadership role, the inner aspect of self-awareness must be discovered. Then, the external element will follow. 

Internally, you need to know who you are. What principles do you stand by in your personal and professional life? Ask yourself: What are your moral and ethical obligations? You cannot build trust or garner respect from those around you unless you have good character as a leader. Think about what’s important to you and stand firm on those beliefs. Some moral and ethical priorities include honor and integrity, humility and temperance, justice and fairness. When you have a clearly defined set of principles, you use them as a guide to help you make decisions in your role.

After discovering who you are, you can reflect on how you plan to lead from this place of conviction. Now you can focus on the external concept of self-awareness. This refers to how you demonstrate your beliefs— how you act by them.  The way you conduct yourself, based on your principles, will be the image you present to your team. It will make a strong impression because people will know what you stand for. Reflect on your external self-awareness often, as office politics and conflict in the workplace can cause leaders to become weary.

Being Self Aware As A Guide To Effective Leadership 

Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and abilities is important as a leader. 

It will be your guide in determining where you need to take control and where you need to delegate. 

Being self-aware helps leaders make better choices. It allows you to self-manage and manages others more effectively. The primary qualities of self-aware leaders include being reflective, wise, observant, empathetic, self-controlled, and discerning. Some are natural gifts, while others develop through experience. Many can be learned and practiced over time to improve your skill set, break through barriers, and strengthen your position.

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