Self Awareness: A Skill of Choice


When we come to work we bring our whole self, and there will be times when we are a little below the top of our game. Our workplace interactions, whether with our colleagues or an external party, are necessary and form an integral part of any work we do. Increasing our self awareness can help us to improve our control over how we respond in all interactions.

Self awareness can positively influence our physical and psychological well-being. As we increase self awareness we become aware of our emotions and we improve our ability to respond to challenging situations. This benefits not only ourselves but those around us. And it can make our time at work a more engaged and enjoyable experience.

Here are five tips to start practicing self-awareness:

Reflect: Plan to create a quiet space for yourself in the day, away from work or other activities, and reflect on your own thoughts, feelings and behavior. This opens our mind to deeper thoughts. One way to reflect is to keep a journal. We write about what happened in a workplace interaction, and reflect on why it happened that way.

Through reflecting and recognising our responses in situations, we can start to increase our understanding about the way we react and respond.

Recognise what pushes your buttons: Things that push our buttons at work might be high noise levels, aggressive customers, heavy workloads or trying to meet unrealistic deadlines.

When we recognise our triggers, we can begin to look at how we manage our emotions and start to recognise that we have choice in our responses in these situations. With practice, this can lead to an increase in our control over how we interact with others.

Seek input from others: Ask your colleagues or family and friends to provide feedback on how they perceive you in your interactions. This can offer valuable information into how your communication and responses impact and influence others. Sometimes another person’s perspective of how you interact is different from yours. This provides us with further opportunity to reflect.

Know your own strengths: By recognising our strengths, we can perform in roles which play to those strengths, and often this is work which we enjoy. Knowing our strengths also helps us to gravitate towards work that aligns with what we value and find rewarding.

Accept your weaknesses: We need to acknowledge and accept our weaknesses. This gives us the ability to find the right support we need, which may include asking for assistance from others or to outsource some work where required. We empower ourselves when we acknowledge and accept our weakness.

Becoming more self aware takes practice. It also requires patience. As we improve our self awareness we create opportunities for better workplace interactions which can enhance our overall sense of well-being.

Sarah Earnshaw