Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others. For a long time, emotions have been misunderstood and, in many cases, seen as something we need to control, ignore or work around in order to be most effective, especially in the workplace.
As more research is uncovered, we now realize that the most effective people are actually the ones who have the strongest understanding and awareness of what they are feeling. Once we are aware that we are feeling something and then able to name and understand exactly what we are feeling, we can engage these God-given emotions in leadership and collaboration.
Self-aware leaders know and understand what is happening in their bodies as they go through their day. They know how to notice what is happening inside of themselves, what they are feeling, the good, the bad and the ugly. As we move through our days, interacting with others and with our own thoughts, we experience all kinds of positive and negative emotions. Emotions can be expressed in hundreds of different ways. For the sake of developing the skill of listening to our bodies and naming what we are feeling, though, we have found it to be effective to simplify the list into seven basic emotions: joy, surprise, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and contempt.
Highly self-aware individuals are able to understand what they are feeling moment by moment. This makes it possible for them to be aware of how emotion is affecting them before they take action. Our inner monologue naturally tends to skew toward the negative. An important aspect of self-awareness is to be conscious of this monologue and shut down the negative self-talk when appropriate. Most leaders in high-stress environments report that they are at their best when their inner negative monologue is quieted.
To improve your self-awareness, you can ask yourself: