Self-awareness: definition and importance

What do we mean by self-awareness? Self-awareness entails an understanding of our strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, of how we gather and process information, of how we handle ambiguous and stressful situations, and of how we are perceived by and interact with others. It is an indispensable asset in leading organizations.

Self-awareness is related to effectiveness in management and leadership for two principal reasons. First, self-awareness serves as a foundation for behaviors and skills such as goal setting, effective communication, listening, motivation, and stress and time management. We become better at skills such as listening and stress management as we improve our understanding of ourselves. Second, a solid sense about one's basic preferences and inclinations is indispensable in diagnosing sources of conflict, selecting appropriate strategies, and managing interpersonal relations and conflicts. Without self-awareness and self-knowledge, it is difficult to be a good manager because you don't know where you excel and where you don't, or where you need help, and what sorts of situations are more difficult for you.

TABLE 3.1 Self-assessment and personality inventories

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Effective managers are cognizant about their styles and strengths; they use self-knowledge to motivate, persuade, and lead. They are likely to be more successful in ...

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