How Self Awareness Can Help You Grow In Your Career?


You want to know about the one quality that has the power to change anything and everything about you? The one quality that defines success for human beings, which makes people who they are and what they couldn’t be is- self-awareness.

Different people have different definitions of self-awareness. Some people relate it to knowing their self-worth, their strengths and weaknesses while others think about it in terms of their personal values and life goals. There is another section who thinks knowing your likings and disliking, activities that are responsible for your pleasure or boredom is what self-awareness is all about. In a professional setting, where you are working in the midst of similarly qualified individuals being self aware helps one differentiate himself or herself and bring their best to the workplace.

If you want to be a leader, an awareness of yourself along with the surrounding environment will help you leverage previously untapped personal qualities. While a manager can have strong technical acumen, social skills and managerial prowess, a true leader is always a step ahead with their ability to read their effect on the people in the team, which essentially is self-awareness.

Now the next question that arises is how to become more self-aware and how it can help your career?

Observe Yourself and Surroundings

Most successful leaders use self-reflection process feedback analysis, a technique explained by Peter Drucker in his Harvard Business Review article “Managing Oneself”. Says Drucker, “Whenever you make a decision or take a key decision, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the results with what you expected”. Such an activity will be a qualitative and quantitative analysis of your decisions. You will be able to reflect and assess the outcomes by forcing one to focus not only on what, but also on the why.

In the bigger scheme of things, i.e while growing professionally merely knowing thyself wouldn’t do you as good as it will to also know about your team members. As you observe their strengths and weaknesses it will be easier to better understand and complement each other in the team.  The most explosive teams are often the most diverse. When you see people achieving the same goal albeit through different means from yours, it fosters a learning environment and shows you what others are doing differently.

Personality Assessment Tests

Personality assessment tests such as Predictive Index, Myers-Briggs and Caliper  are simple and hence popular way of knowing your strong and weak points. Although they can’t be hundred percent accurate all the time, but these tests facilitate self-reflection and hence self-awareness. These tests are designed to help you make understand your thinking styles, the way you approach work and collaborate with others, and styles of communication.  Identifying your personality type and making decisions based on it for a better outcome can sometime be the entire difference between a super-successful individual and mediocrity.

Start Writing

Writing can help you meet a person inside you that you never knew even existed.  Many therapists also recommend writing as a way to calm and soothe your inner self.  Writing every day can dramatically increase your level of self-awareness and help you psychologically become a more accomplished and satisfied individual.

Help yourself by being self-aware

A self-aware individual can definitely handle his failures better than others. There are reasons why you couldn’t be the next hot-shot businessman while your brother is. There are reasons why your ex-colleague is now your reporting manager. There are reasons why your girlfriend whom you still love is someone else’s wife.  These are all personal and professional failures and self-awareness is what’s required to understand the reasons behind them.  Identifying the weak links, the fears, and what exactly went wrong is half the problem solved. The next half is about working on them for reaching the acme of success.

A practical application of being self-aware in professional arena is in the job search process. Most new employment listings elaborate on the expected competencies or strengths of the applying individual. A self-aware individual will not only be better prepared to face tough questions on your strengths and weaknesses in the interview but also will take in consideration the requirements of the employer while applying, hence saving precious time and efforts for both.

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