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Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Self Awareness

Self-awareness leads to self-assessment and self-improvement. It helps leaders understand themselves and overcome their blind spots.



Image Credit: Midjourney

When you want to grow as a leader you must know about yourself first. You must recognize your talents and skills, and build skills around your talents.

Talents come in various formats. Skills develop well when there is a natural aptitude and interest. Try to identify your interest first and those will lead you to your aptitude. Assess your strengths and weaknesses. 

Whether you are an engineer or an Economics graduate or a student of History, try to understand which part of your academics pulls you the most or which subjects you score easily. Identify the talent inbuilt in you. 

Read more, and discuss your thoughts with professors and friends, to develop your skill. 

Merits of self-awareness

Being self-aware helps you understand yourself very well and get along with others easily. It improves your emotional intelligence and builds your leadership abilities. Emotional Intelligence is the art of controlling and expressing one’s emotions judiciously, to influence and inspire interpersonal relationships. 

Emotional intelligence stands on four pillars ― self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management. 

Self-awareness helps you correct your mistakes quickly and bounce back from failures effectively. You accept your flaws and earn respect from others. It promotes tolerance toward others’ ideas and views.

It helps you remove negative thoughts from your mind and replace them with positive thoughts. It helps you manage your time and prioritize your tasks. It helps you embrace change and enhance adaptability. 

As human beings, we make many mistakes but we must learn to accept them graciously to grow as leaders. 

This is possible only when you are aware of yourself. For instance, Warren Buffett makes a decision and analyzes his decision later. It helps him understand his decisions and assess his progress. 

Self-awareness builds your self-confidence. It helps you understand who you are as a person, professional, and social animal. It helps you achieve success quickly and provide meaning to your life.

“To have greater self-awareness or understanding means to have a better grasp of reality.” – Dalai Lama

Tips, tools, and techniques to enhance self-awareness 

Self-awareness leads to self-assessment and self-improvement. It helps leaders understand themselves and overcome their blind spots.  Here are some popular tips, tools, and techniques to enhance self-awareness. 

  • Undertake Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test to understand your personality type. It helps you get along with others easily. 
  • Invest some time every day to reflect ― before you sleep, think of the whole day you spent. What was the best thing you did throughout the day? What was the best thing that happened to you, though you didn’t plan it? What was the worst? If you could change one thing about the day, what would it be and how? Answers to such questions will prepare you for a better “next time”.
  • Record your thoughts in your journal and analyze them after a few days. It helps you understand and assess yourself. 
  • Find out what turns you on and off. Try out new things and make a note of what you enjoyed and what you did not. For example, some people feel energized by dancing, and some feel rejuvenated by settling on the couch with a book. Knowing what you enjoy and what you do not talks a lot about your personality. 
  • Set your goals and work on them. You understand your real capacities and can unlock your hidden potential. What do you want 5 years from now? Write them down. Those are your long-term goals. Make sure they are realistic for you. Going to the moon would not be a realistic goal if you are pursuing your graduation in English Literature. Once the long-term goals are charted out, break them into milestones. Form yearly goals that will lead you toward long-term goals. Those are your short-term goals. 
  • Cultivate the art of writing. It helps you explore your mind and vent your feelings and emotions. It could be a fiction story or your feelings about some social issue. Or just something that happened at home. Maintain a diary. If there is something you didn’t like, write down what you can do in your personal capacity to change that. This will change you as a person, for the better. 
  • Read books regularly. If you are not a natural reader, start with subjects that interest you. Books lead you to a world that you haven’t experienced. Put yourself in those situations and think about what you would do. Analyze the book and review it.
  • Write your failure resume. Do this as honestly as possible. Write down every personal, social, academic, or professional failure that has disturbed you. Writing is letting go of the burden from your brain. Now ask yourself, what should have been the more appropriate route that you should have taken but did not.
  • Have an open mind and listen to all sources. The art of listening is very important. Even if you don’t agree with someone, it doesn’t mean the other person is wrong. It just means the other person has a different perspective. Understanding that will enhance your flexibility. 
  • Hire a coach who can help you overcome your blind spots to grow as a professional and leader. Choose judiciously. This person should lead you towards something big instead of pulling you down because of his own limitations. Your love for someone may not qualify him for a mentor. Who would you want to be like? And why? Make a list. Those are the people who should be your mentor.
  • Take feedback from others. Do not judge if they say something unpleasant. Unpleasant conversations are difficult, but if steered positively, they help in developing long-term trust. What you think of yourself is just one aspect of your personality. What others think of you is another. Both are equally valid. Figure what you would like to change in what others think of you. Work towards that with a plan.

Most people overestimate their skills and underestimate their talents. Additionally, they overestimate themselves and underestimate others. Having self-awareness helps them estimate themselves and others accurately.  

Only when you know about yourself properly, you will be able to lead others. It is observed that people often complain, criticize, and condemn others without introspecting about themselves. This is due to the lack of self-awareness. 

People with self-awareness work with what they have, and from where they are to excel as achievers and leaders. When you want to understand others, you must understand yourself first. 

When you want to understand yourself first, you must have self-awareness. When you want to lead others, you must know how to lead yourself. 

When you want to lead yourself first, you must have self-awareness.

Hence, self-awareness is the first step to developing leadership qualities. To conclude, acquire self-awareness to excel as an extraordinary achiever and leader. 

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

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