How to Increase Self-Awareness

TSP • @myTSPnet


Self-Awareness Theory is the notion that when we pay attention to ourselves, through introspection or otherwise, we judge ourselves according to our values. To be self-aware, one must recognize different aspects within themselves such as traits, behaviors and feelings. Read on to learn how to improve your self-awareness to become a better leader, maximize your potential in your current role and prepare yourself for future opportunities.

Asking others what you can do better will help you understand how you are viewed by others as well as help to identify weaknesses. Approach this step with an open mind and the intention of improving yourself. Seek this information from people that you trust and those who will have your best interests in mind when providing constructive criticism.

However, even negative feedback can help you become more self-aware — in every complaint there's a request and an opportunity. Even ill-intended comments have a place in aiding your understanding of who you are.

Return the favor by providing constructive feedback to trusted people in your life when asked. Do this respectfully, carefully thinking about how you would want to be spoken to. Even making these observations will help you with your own self-awareness.

Ask yourself: how am I perceiving this situation? How am I placing my own bias onto this issue? Reflecting on these questions will open up your mind to different ways of thinking and allow yourself to expand upon your own worldview.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is an important part of your self-awareness. Performing an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will give you insight into advantages you have over others, areas for improvement, ways to optimize your performance and potential obstacles you could face. It can be tempting to tackle all of these issues at once you’ve made a list of them.

However, splitting your analysis into key focus areas will help to prioritize and narrow your list. Try asking yourself the following questions to uncover what’s most important on your list.

  • What is most critical to the optimization of my success in my current role?
  • What is my strongest advantage and how can I leverage it?
  • Which areas align the most with my future career goals?

Your answers to these questions should help guide you toward the key focus area that will benefit you the most if leveraged and improved upon. Understanding what you can do to work toward these goals and how it will improve your career success is a great way to practice self-awareness.

Much like the SWOT analysis, a personality test like the Myers-Briggs assessment can help you pinpoint who you are and what you bring to the table. These tests provide a framework to match your traits to your goals, and allow you to see what areas need the most attention. When you understand your personality well, you can approach your work in the most effective way for you and can help you better understand the culture and environment you are working in.

Your heightened self-awareness brought on by the knowledge gained from a personality can especially benefit you if you implement a process for everyone in your workplace to take the assessment and share their types. This will help each member of the team better understand how they fit into the big picture, how others like being treated and how to work best together. This process can improve the overall workplace culture as well as the communication between team members.

It may seem obvious, but setting aside 30 minutes each day to write in a journal and reflect on your feelings, words and actions are the simplest way to make self-awareness a habit. Research has shown that writing in a journal for 15 minutes each day can improve critical thinking as well as decision making skills. Writing can also clarify your ideas, push you to think creatively and help you learn more deeply.

Use this time to bring together the constructive feedback you’ve received, the key focus area you decided on from your SWOT analysis and what you learned about yourself from your personality test. The improvements in your attitude, performance and abilities might surprise you!

No matter your industry or current role, having a strong sense of self-awareness will allow you to motivate yourself, grow your opportunities and become a stronger leader. Use the power of introspection to align with your values, be reminded of your priorities and take care of yourself.