The Value of Self-Awareness at Work

by Aggie Alvarez, on Feb 12, 2019 3:56:00 PM

Unposed group of creative business people in an open concept office brainstorming their next project.-1

Great leaders often have several traits in common. We tend to see characteristics like strong communication, a positive attitude and a sense of integrity on the short list. But, where does self-awareness come into play? This attribute is often overlooked in leaders, and can even be a characteristic that makes or breaks a work environment.

By bringing awareness of one’s self into the workplace, leaders are able to better identify who they are as an employee and why they work the way they do. Using this information, leaders can then play to their strengths while understanding their areas of developmental opportunity. Leaders with awareness are also better at managing their emotions in high-stress situations, admitting when they are at fault and leaving their personal lives at the door. For these reasons, employees often note a healthier work environment under such superiors. Not only are their benefits to the leader and the employees, but there is also a significant positive correlation between self-aware leaders and company performance.

So, how can you become the self-aware leader you, your employees and your company are craving? Start with the following tips:

Put Your Personality to the Test

You may think that you have a good idea of who you are, and you likely do! Take a personality test or two to confirm your beliefs, while also discovering more about yourself. Many tests, such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or the Big Five, provide results specific to how you perform in a work type environment. Gathering personality and work specific insight can help you determine your own characteristics and in turn provide better self-awareness.

This information is not only valuable to yourself as a leader but also your employees. Encourage them to take personality assessments as well and create a dialog about how your qualities can better play off of each other.

Ask for Feedback

To take your self-awareness to the next level, create an open conversation with your employees, your equals and your superiors. Discuss with each of them the qualities you possess, which are of value to them and the company and what leadership skills you could work to improve. Your co-workers may point out you coming into work with a positive attitude and smile on your face brightens the office space, or your last minute preparation for the weekly meeting keeps other from completing their section of the agenda.

Great leaders are the ones not only asking for other’s input but taking the feedback they receive to heart. Think to yourself: Is there frustration with an action in which I can change? Is the way I’m leading what’s best for my employees and the company? Use questions similar to these as a jumping off point to thoroughly think about your leadership skills.


Self-awareness is all about reflection. Take time out of each day to think about how you handled different situations. Were you proud of your response towards an upset client or could you have handled it with a more level-head? Make specific mental notes of what you did well and what you could have improved upon. By looking back on your daily interactions, you will better prepare yourself for the next time a similar situation comes around. As you begin taking time to reflect, ask others who were in attendance to also evaluate your actions and responses. Their feedback and confirmation of your analysis will help grow your confidence in your personal reflections.

The value of self-awareness at the workplace is immeasurable. By taking these tips to improve your awareness, you’ll be able to develop your leadership skills, enjoy a positive work environment and increase the company’s performance. 

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