Self-awareness | You as a Leader [part 1 of 3]

Do you consider yourself self-aware? Would your colleagues agree with you?


Harvard Business School professor and author of True North, Bill George, believes self-awareness is the starting point of leadership. Self-awareness is being aware of one’s emotions, thoughts, and manner of communication at any given moment. There are many benefits to becoming more self-aware, including strengthening your relationship with yourself, others, and creating a better-functioning team. 


Leaders set the tone for their team’s work environment. When that tone is borne from self-awareness, a team is able to work with more coalescence knowing their leader is aware of their tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, and story. Think back to a time when you were a part of a team where your leader was unaware of themselves. How did that affect your work and enjoyment of being on that team? There is a direct correlation.


The road to becoming more and more self-aware is never ending. There is always room for improvement, or in the very least, consistency. There are many ways one can grow into awareness of themselves. Here are a few:

  • Adopt a mindfulness practice. Start small. 

When endeavoring to begin any new habit, it is crucial to begin in a small way. Mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, prayer, journaling, undistracted walking, can have enormous benefits by doing them a mere few minutes of the day. Copious amounts of research have shown these practices to not only bring about awareness to your thoughts, emotions, and body, but also are immensely stress-relieving. Who doesn’t want less stress?

  • Ask those around you

Take a trustworthy, observant colleague aside for a moment and ask them how they believe you are doing as far as self-awareness. Encourage them to be honest with you, and listen well without being quick to respond. You can also do this with a friend, spouse, or anyone you see on a regular basis. Beginning with non-judgemental curiosity with yourself is an excellent first step to becoming more self-aware. 

  • Understand your story

Therapy has long been seen in America as a taboo topic, and perceived as a thing you do only if you are weak. The reality is, our emotional fitness should be tended to just as regularly as our physical fitness. Especially in a season of our world’s history where anxiety has a huge spike. The percentage of Americans who said they dealt with anxiety pre-COVID was 15%, and has risen to a whopping 41%. We must consider the fact that as a society, we are experiencing more anxiety. Now is a wonderful time to consider therapy, and understand our own minds and stories. 


These are a few great ways to encourage your own self-awareness, but the list doesn’t end here. Consider having a roundtable meeting with your team and dialogue on how collectively you can steep your work environment in more self-awareness. The benefits are compounding. 


Stay curious. 

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