What Does Self-Awareness Got To Do With It?

Well, how self-aware are you? 

I wrote about this in my last post, here. Anyone can allow emotions to override discernment or rational thinking. But when this happens to us as leaders, our decision making and solution generation faculties get compromised. Have you ever seen emotions get the best of a leader? I have, and unfortunate things happen. With self-awareness, this can be avoided.

Self-awareness is a subset of emotional intelligence (EI or EQ), the ability to understand and manage emotions to maximize the effectiveness of relationships, behavior and decision making. 

Although emotions can range from very positive to very negative, negative emotions—including anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, fear, and nervousness—typically interfere with effective leadership and cause unfortunate aftereffects. 

To assess your emotional tendencies, note and identify feelings and emotions, primarily during moments of stress or trial. Make a habit of stepping back to identify the emotion of the moment. Patterns may appear. 

Do you find yourself easily angered or openly frustrated? Do fears or anxieties tend to make you hesitate or become unable to make tough decisions? Are your relationships suffering from resentments or pessimism you can’t seem to break? How is this impacting your culture? Try to identify these emotions and identify thoughts or actions that precede them. 

While we can’t control how others behave, we can control our responses. Are your responses healthy? In other words, are they adding value? Are they justified? These are all aspects of the emotional assessment in being self-aware.

Defense mechanisms of avoidance, intimidation, denial or over-delegating are a result of an emotional inability to manage situations in a healthy way. If you find yourself repeatedly resorting to these tactics, you will benefit by evaluating why you have difficulty coping with stress. Consider working with a trusted mentor or executive coach for objective feedback and support in identifying and working through issues. Make a plan to begin an improvement process.

What do you think? Are you an emotionally healthy leader? How strong is your self-awareness? 

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