Self-Awareness – How can we achieve it?

In my previous article featuring my interview with Dr. Andrea Welker, one of her suggestions for aspiring leaders was to have self-awareness. I totally agree with her but I was also curious to know if there were any steps/tips to accomplish this. How can one become self-aware? Obviously, one of the ways that comes to mind is by paying more attention to (read: reflect or meditate) your everyday life and make mental or physical notes and then act upon those. But in my research for this article, I found out there are other ways too!

In this article published in Harvard Business Review two years ago, the author lists 5 ways to become more self-aware. He suggests meditating, writing down plans and priorities, taking psychometric tests, asking friends for informal feedback, and finally asking for feedback at work. You can read in detail about these strategies in the original article. Barring psychometric tests, I think I have tried a combination of all the aforementioned strategies and these work to some extent. If you are serious about becoming more self-aware, all you need is some discipline and structure to adopt these strategies.

Self-awareness is important for career success, and all successful leaders need this quality. You can also use the Johari Window to explore your relationships with self and others.

The Center for Creative Leadership posted this article on the 4 facets of self-awareness for leaders. The article suggests that “Self-awareness is the foundation for strengthening all leadership skills.” Check out their infographic; pretty cool, huh?

Self-awareness infographic

Taken from Click on the picture for the original article. 

As a woman professional, I was really drawn to the facet of leadership identity. The article mentions how leadership identity consists of three important aspects and the one that I reflected upon the most was the chosen identity – “These traits describe your status, characteristics you control, and skills. Common attributes in the chosen identity are your occupation, political affiliation, and hobbies, among others.”

Women still continue to be the primary caregivers for kids and older parents and relatives. They often tend to compromise their career aspirations and take up jobs that don’t go beyond the normal working hours or require extensive travel. Since they spend considerable amounts of time on work and family, pursuing their hobbies also becomes challenging. Again, there are a few women who are able to do all of it and it is commendable but I am referring to the majority of women. The big question here is what can stay-at-home or working moms do to create their leadership identities? How can they go about choosing a profession they really want rather than choosing one that is convenient to them? It may not be easy but I guess that is exactly what the journey towards becoming more self-aware will help accomplish. It will either help us make peace with your choices or propel us towards making changes.

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