To be a great manager, you need to have many tools in your arsenal. Some of these tools include efficient time management, the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively, being able to give feedback that provides value and the know-how to influence people in positive ways.
These skills can often be mastered through effective training and hands on experience. However, there are some skills and traits that take a lot more than training to develop, yet they are essential to being a good manager, particularly when your role involves managing people.
One such attribute is the often overlooked concept of self-awareness. For some people, self-awareness comes naturally. They are able to read the room, show empathy when needed or provide a considered response to complex problems. For others, though, self-awareness is something that takes many years to learn.
Fortunately, if you have a growth mindset, you know that any weakness you have can be overcome through effort and learning. Self-awareness is a skill to learn like any other.
The first step towards successfully grasping self-awareness is to understand more about it and how you can begin to practice it.
What is Self-Awareness?
To put it simply, self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, thinking and feelings.
In a management and leadership context, self-awareness is the ability to understand those around you and how they see you, your temperament, and the way you respond to others in real time. It is also the ability to understand and take control of your thinking and be mindful of the way you respond to people and situations.
Being self-aware means knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivators, and other personal characteristics. It also means that you can take a deeper look at your feelings, why you feel a certain way and how your feelings could turn into reactions.
Self-awareness means that, instead of just freewheeling through your day and letting your thoughts and emotions run amok, you are mindful in every moment and make an effort to take control over the way you think, the things you say and the way that you react.
How Important is Self-Awareness in Leadership and Business?
When managers are more aware of themselves, they tend to make better decisions, build more meaningful connections with others and can lead others more effectively.
A manager who is self-aware will naturally be more attentive to organisational culture, risks and the wellbeing and development of their team.
An interesting study conducted by a team at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labour Relations studied 72 senior executives at companies with revenues between $50 million to $5 billion. They found that leaders with high self-awareness, have better interpersonal skills, were more successful and delivered better results financially.
Self-aware leaders and managers create cultures of reflection -awa, continuous improvement. In these environment learning and developments are core business priorities. There is ample evidence that highlights the importance of self-awareness when it comes to leadership and business.
How Can I Improve My Self-Awareness?
One of the best ways to improve your self-awareness is to actively and regularly practice techniques that help you build up how conscious you are of yourself. Here are some other ways you can practice self-awareness:
· Take cognisance of your strengths and weaknesses. Self-aware managers are mindful of where they need to reach out for assistance and when they are good on their own.
· Have an open mind. When you can regulate your own emotions, you allow yourself to become more attuned to other people’s emotions.
· Take time to be mindful of what distracts you. Whether it be social media, emails, or other small distractions. Distractions prevent you from making real, palpable connections.
· Set boundaries and stick to them.
· Know your emotional triggers and don’t suppress your emotions or deny their causes. Instead, be able to bend and flex with them and fully process them before communicating with others.
· Practice self-discipline. Being disciplined in every area of their life is what makes good leaders. It provides them with the enduring focus necessary for strong managers.
· Sign up for a tailored online management course specifically formed to teach you how to be self-aware in your particular situation. At Dynamic Development Consulting, these courses and clinics are exactly what we provide.
Although self-awareness is an acutely important characteristic of any successful manager, it is something that takes a lot of time to develop and master. Let us help you on your journey towards self-awareness - reach out here