Self Awareness is foundational to our personal and professional success. That’s why so much emphasis in my work is placed on its development. Great awareness can be reached by asking questions of self and own actions first, and then those of others’. Self-awareness enables development of great leadership skills.
1. Emotional Intelligence is more important than IQ
Daniel Goleman’s study proves that Emotional Intelligence, of which self awareness is the first pillar, is twice as important as Intellectual Intelligence and technical skills combined in succeeding at work at all levels, not just in leadership positions. He said that “Without it (Emotional Intelligence), a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”
2. Why start with self-awareness? - “Secure your own mask first”
Self-awareness is the starting point for the development of other three pillars of EQ. In Arianna Huffington’s words (from her book Thrive) “The better people are at taking care of themselves, the more effective they will be in taking care of others(…) including their coworkers.” People who are aware of their trigger points and of what’s important to them, will be able to self-regulate their emotions in situations and respond rather than react. They will also be more aware of emotional reactions of others – have social awareness and, as a result, be able to build sustainable relationships.
3. Best performers have a high degree of self-awareness
People with a high degree of self-awareness recognize how their feelings affect their performance. Talent Smart study demonstrates the link between EQ and job performance: 90% of high performers are high in EQ, and EQ alone explains 58% of a leader’s job performance.
4. Self-awareness helps to deal with stress and anxiety
Our emotions are involved in every thought and every decision. A person with high self-awareness understands their emotional reactions. They understand how others’ actions or inactions impact them and their moods, too. The more self-aware one is, the more they can manage their reactions especially in challenging situations for example difficult conversations or negotiations.
5. Self-awareness allows for easier decision-making
“(Our) values stand at the very core of human decision making” (Richard Barrett, author of Building a Values-Driven Organisation). A highly self-aware person knows what their destination is and what they are hoping to achieve in the process. They will make decisions that fit in with their values and vision. They may turn down a financially attractive job offer if it doesn’t fit in with their long-term goals or when their values and morals are compromised. Consequently, a person who lacks self-awareness is likely to make decisions, which later down the track may cause them frustration.
6. Self-awareness employees are engaged at work
Gallup report proves that 60% of Australians are not engaged, and 16% are actively disengaged at work, which costs Australian organisations AU$ 54 billion annually. Engagement of staff can be achieved by helping them appreciate how undertaking tasks at work enables fulfillment of their own values and goals. This can be achieved provided employees are aware of their own values and goals first.
7. Great organisational cultures are values-driven
According to Richard Barrett (founder of the Barrett Values Centre and author of books in the area of well-being and value based approach), great cultures in organisations are values-driven. Cultural transformation occurs when personal values and organisational values are aligned.