The Path of Self-Awareness in the Workplace: Embracing Your Authentic Self  

The Path of Self-Awareness in the Workplace: Embracing Your Authentic Self  

According to Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist, only a few people, around 15 percent, are genuinely self-aware, which sharply contrasts with the 95% who mistakenly believe they possess it.¹ 

Self-awareness is one of the most essential qualities you can nurture within yourself. Not only does it affect different aspects of your life, but it also significantly impacts your job performance, chances for promotions, and, most importantly, how well you lead others. 

But what exactly is self-awareness, why does it matter so much at work, and how can you become more self-aware?  

What Is Self-Awareness? 

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your thoughts, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and behaviors. It’s about knowing who you are, what you stand for, and how you impact those around you. 

It helps us understand ourselves deeper, how we feel, and why we do certain things. It makes us ask questions like, “Why am I feeling happy right now?” or “Why did I react that way when someone said something to me?” It’s like having a little voice inside our head that helps us better understand ourselves and our emotions. 

Why Is Self-Awareness Important in the Workplace 

Self-awareness equips us to make better choices and enriches our relationships with colleagues, pivotal in shaping our personal and professional journey. 

1. Enhances Interpersonal Relationships 

With self-awareness, we gain a deeper understanding of our communication style, emotional triggers, and how our actions influence others. This awareness empowers us to tailor our communication to suit our audience’s preferences, resulting in more productive interactions with fewer misunderstandings.  

Imagine a situation where you and a coworker disagree. When you’re highly self-aware, you can approach it with empathy, actively listen, and seek common ground.  

2. Boosts Emotional Intelligence 

At the core of emotional intelligence (EI) is self-awareness. High EI enables us to manage our emotions effectively and navigate challenging situations gracefully. It allows us to stay calm under pressure, defuse conflicts, and build robust relationships with colleagues and clients. This emotional resilience is particularly valuable in fast-paced work environments, where stress and tension can be common. 

3. Cultivates Leadership Excellence 

Self-awareness can make us more empathetic, understanding, and inspirational when leading a team. Acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses enables us to build well-rounded teams that complement our abilities.  

As a leader with self-awareness, we can better understand our team members’ needs, offering constructive feedback and support when necessary. This fosters a positive work environment and enhances overall productivity. 

4. Enhances Decision-Making 

There will be daily decisions in the workplace, ranging from small choices to significant strategic moves. By being more self-aware, we can align our intentions with our values, goals, and priorities. This way, outside pressures or personal biases won’t sway us, and our decisions will be clearer and more thoughtful. 

5. Promotes Constructive Conflict Resolution 

Conflict is a part of any workplace, and self-awareness equips us to address conflicts constructively. It enables us to step back, reflect on the conflict, and approach the situation with empathy and a willingness to compromise. This quickly resolves issues and strengthens working relationships. 

6. Facilitates Personal and Professional Development 

Self-awareness catalyzes personal and professional growth. When we recognize our strengths and weaknesses, we can set realistic goals and actively seek opportunities for improvement. This proactive attitude leads us to engage in self-development activities, such as training, mentoring, or soliciting feedback, benefiting both employees and the organization. 

7. Allows to Manage Stress Effectively 

Workplace stress is a common challenge that can affect anyone’s mental and physical health. Self-awareness equips us to identify our stress triggers and employ coping strategies. It also lets us set boundaries, manage our workload well, and balance work and life, protecting our well-being from stress. 

Related Article: Job Interview Gold: Self-Awareness is Key 

How to Become More Self-Aware 

Nobody is born already knowing how to be self-aware. It’s a skill that you have to learn and get better at over time. Here are some practical steps to help you improve self-awareness: 

1. Try Practicing Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is a mental practice and awareness that involves paying deliberate attention to the present moment. It’s about fully engaging in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a simple task like breathing, walking, eating, or more complex activities like having a conversation or working on a project. You can set aside time each day to practice mindfulness, even if it’s just for a few minutes. 

  • Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. 
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to center yourself. 
  • Focus your attention on your breath. Notice the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils or the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen. 

Your mind may wander, and that’s perfectly normal. When you notice your thoughts drifting, gently redirect your attention to your breathing. Over time, mindfulness meditation can help you observe the patterns and fluctuations of your mind, revealing your thought processes and emotional reactions. 

2. Self-Examine and Self-Question 

Regularly examine your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Ask probing questions to yourself and dig deep into your motivations and desires, such as: 

  • Why do I react this way in certain situations? 
  • What are my triggers for stress or anger? 
  • What patterns do I notice in my relationships or decision-making? 
  • What goals do I want to achieve, and why are they important? 

You can uncover hidden aspects of your personality and thought processes by deeply engaging with your thoughts.  

3. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses 

Take the time to assess your strengths and weaknesses objectively. Recognize where you excel and where you may need improvement. This assessment can be instrumental in both personal and professional contexts. Once you’re aware of your strengths, you can leverage them to your advantage, and when you acknowledge your weaknesses, you can work on developing them. 

Various psychological assessments and tools can help you gain insights into your personality, values, and behaviors. These assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Enneagram, can be starting points for self-discovery. 

However, remember that assessments can be informative but are not definitive. Consider using them as tools for self-exploration rather than strict labels. 

4. Practice Self-Compassion 

Self-awareness doesn’t mean being overly critical or judgmental of yourself. Instead, it involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would a friend. You can practice self-compassion by: 

  • Recognizing that everyone makes mistakes and faces challenges. 
  • Avoiding negative self-talk and self-criticism. 
  • Cultivating a sense of self-acceptance and self-love. 

When you are compassionate toward yourself, you can explore your inner world more openly and honestly. 

5. Set Personal Development Goals 

Identify areas where you’d like to improve and set specific, measurable, and achievable goals. These goals can be related to your relationships, career, or personal growth. Regularly assess your progress and adjust your goals as needed. Goal-setting can provide direction and motivation on your journey to greater self-awareness. 

6. Learn From Life Experiences 

Every experience in life, whether positive or negative, offers an opportunity for self-awareness and growth. When faced with challenges or setbacks, reflect on what you can learn from the experience. Celebrate your successes and use them as a source of motivation and validation. 

7. Keep a Journal 

Journaling is another effective way to practice mindfulness. Set aside time to write down your thoughts, emotions, and experiences each day. When journaling mindfully: 

  • Describe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. 
  • Use descriptive language to explore your sensations and emotions. 
  • Reflect on any patterns or recurring themes in your journal entries. 

Journaling provides a tangible record of your inner world, allowing you to review and analyze your thoughts and emotions over time. 

LET GALT FOUNDATION HELP YOU DISCOVER MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT 

If you’re looking for job opportunities that offer growth, success, and financial freedom, Galt Foundation can help. We’re a non-profit employment company dedicated to connecting exceptional organizations with motivated individuals. 

For over 20 years, we’ve been offering staffing solutions to individuals with disabilities, committed to ensuring that candidates, regardless of their abilities, have access to equal-opportunity employers. Contact us today to initiate a conversation and discover how we can assist you. 

References 

1. Kauflin, Jeff. “Only 15% Of People Are Self-Aware — Here’s How To Change.” Forbes, 10 May 2017, www.forbes.com/only-15-of-people-are-self-aware-heres-how-to-change. 

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