If you Google self-awareness, you will find countless articles explaining the significance of self-awareness. Why? Due to the considerable amount of benefits self-knowledge can bring to individuals and workplaces. To name a few, self-awareness is correlated with higher levels of individual performance, increased job satisfaction, stronger relationships, more effective communication, as well as increased confidence and overall well-being. We are also more effective leaders and managers with satisfied subordinates and higher profit margins.
So what is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness can be divided into two types; internal and external.
Internal self-awareness represents how clearly you see your own values, passions and your impact on others. A person with strong internal self-awareness has an understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, motivations and emotions. This first type of self-awareness is linked with increased job and relationship satisfaction.
The second type, external self-awareness, is defined as the ability to understand how others see you and to incorporate these views into your own evaluation of yourself. External self-awareness is associated with greater levels of empathy and understanding others' perspectives.
Even though most individuals believe they are self-aware research suggests that only 10-15% of people truly fit the above criteria.
How do I become Self-Aware?
Given the importance of both internal and external self-perspective on performance, one of the essential steps in a successful self-development plan is to utilise tools that can build both types of awareness. We recommend including a self-assessment such as a DISC personality test like Extended DISC® in your plan. This can improve your internal self-awareness and help you understand who you are as a person and why you behave the way you do. An Open 360 is a great way to gain external self-awareness and understand how the people around you perceive you.
DISC Tests for Internal Self-Awareness
A DISC behavioural test will help identify your natural behavioural strengths (the behaviours you fall back on when you skipped that morning coffee). They come easily to you and do not drain your energy. A psychometric test is a great starting point for improved self-perception as it provides feedback about your natural tendencies without any judgment. Self-awareness will draw out your natural strengths and bring them to light. Once we have gained self-knowledge, we can reflect on our preferences and how they affect our communication, decision making and overall behaviour.
A DISC assessment can also identify your blind spots or development areas. You'll definitely be needing the morning coffee and perhaps an extra one (or two!) if you are drawing on these behaviours daily. For example, those of you who like high amounts of detail are probably still reading this article and haven't yet been distracted. However, those who need short to the point articles might be struggling to focus at this point (I'm sorry, I promise it's almost finished). Although you may enjoy these behaviours, you will notice that you are using more energy and are very tired and/or burnt out by the end of the week.
Once you have identified these behaviours, it becomes easier for you to identify others natural strengths and development areas. This helps you adjust your behavioural style in your day to day conversations with your co-workers, bosses and team members.
Open 360 Feedback for External Self-Awareness
An Open 360 tool will draw on anonymous feedback from your co-workers to help cultivate an understanding of the self. Feedback from an Open 360 assessment consists of a number of skill-based evaluations by an individual's co-workers. This highlights areas where your colleagues perceive your individual's strengths and development areas to be and within a number of competency groups. An Open 360 evaluation is highly important, as most people are not aware of other's perception or experiences of them. Gaining knowledge of others view on yourself can greatly improve your motivation to develop weaker areas.
Awareness of the gaps between your self-perception and the view of your managers, peers and direct reports helps you to become aware of others expectations of you as well as the consequence of your actions on others. You can then address your challenges and development areas and make a proactive change to your behaviour and interactions with them.
An Open 360 Feedback assessment is invaluable for cultivating external self-awareness and enhancing career development.
The combined effectiveness of Psychometric Testing and Open 360 feedback can successfully enhance self-awareness. Individuals who focus on cultivating both internal and external self-awareness and welcome constructive feedback from colleagues and peers, experience rewards that increased self-perception provides. Those who truly become self-aware constantly make adjustments to their behaviour and interactions based the knowledge gained from Behavioural Assessments and Open 360 Feedback.