5 Ways to Increase Self-Awareness
Understanding ourselves is key to guiding personal and team growth
Self-awareness forms the backbone of our relationship with ourselves and those around us. It affects how we connect with others, as well as how we collaborate and manage our triggers. As a leader, understanding your strengths and weaknesses also comes in handy during transitions or growth phases. It makes it easier to navigate uncertainty if you know your strengths and lean into them. Below are several simple strategies to help you grow your self-awareness:
Keep a Journal: With so many moving parts to our days, it can be difficult to find some time to self-reflect daily. However, carving out about 5-10 minutes each day to reflect on your thoughts, ideas, feelings, and actions is possible. Recording your thoughts, whether that’s on paper or digitally, helps to relieve your mind of those ideas, and clears it up to make space for new information and ideas. It also helps you keep track of your progress and growth.
Take a Personality Test: Results from a psychometric assessment give you an opportunity to think more about how you typically respond or act in certain situations. The results also provide frameworks and vocabulary to describe yourself in relation to others. These insights can also guide you on how to best leverage your strengths.
Seek Out Feedback: Aside from self-reflection, getting feedback from those around us is also a great way to increase our self-awareness. We are often unaware of how others perceive us, how well we know ourselves and how we present ourselves when we interact with others. The Johari Window framework helps illustrate how individuals gain a better understanding of themselves and can uncover blind spots, things that you are unaware of but that others know.
Become a Peer Coach: Hearing from peers or others about challenges they are facing and helping them troubleshoot to develop solutions can also provide an opportunity to self-evaluate. For example, in an episode of our podcast The Everyday Leader, Nelly Agyemang-Gyamfi shared how self-awareness comes from needing to intentionally set goals and identify guiding values. Nelly held several leadership roles during her college years that required that she look after and guide younger students when they arrived on campus for their first year. This experience was a lightbulb moment for her as it helped build self-awareness as she had to be intentional about setting her goals and values in this role.
Work with a Professional Coach: Working with a professional coach over a series of sessions can help you develop a strong capacity for focused introspection and reflection. The experience allows you to become more aware of behaviors and patterns in your lives that may sabotage your success. A professional coach also helps you stay accountable to making the changes to which you commit.