Articles

Self-awareness is one of the core dimensions of Learning Agility. Here’s how to develop your Self-awareness skill, which has a positive effect on all other areas of your Learning Agility, both at work and in your personal life.

If you don’t know your level of Self-awareness, you can find out by participating in our South African Learning Agility in HR study. Participating allows you to anonymously receive your Learning Agility results, which you can then use for personal development. Click here to find out more and test your agility. 

What is Self-awareness?

Self-awareness implies being aware of your own thoughts, behaviours and the effects thereof on others. The more self-aware you are, the more likely you are to recognise your own strengths and development areas.

Self-awareness is a core element of your overall Learning Agility.  Your level of awareness indicates your ability to reflect on your own behaviour, criticise your own performance when necessary, and recognise your development needs. Therefore, the higher your Self-awareness, the higher your agility overall.

Practicing Self-awareness in the workplace

A very important part of Self-awareness is the ability to challenge your existing beliefs and assumptions about yourself in a work context. The best way in which to do this is to seek external feedback. The two main sources of feedback is assessments (such as the Learning Agility report) and the observations of others.  Seeking others’ feedback on your strengths and development areas demonstrates an openness to constructive criticism as well as a willingness to learn. External data allows you to confirm whether your self-beliefs are in line with what others see. However, be sure to ask for feedback only from those you are reasonably sure are able to provide constructive comments in the development context intended.

  • Identify those at work (colleague, manager) who know you well enough to comment on your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ask them to list your strengths and development areas with specific observations or examples. Work from a common framework if you’re not sure where to start, e.g. a list of KPIs or competencies that are relevant to your role.
  • Without looking at their list, write what you believe your strengths and development areas are. Then compare lists. Look for disconnects and similarities. Are there examples where others didn’t agree with your listed strengths?

Practicing Self-awareness in general

Emotional Self-awareness is a key part of overall Self-awareness and involves an understanding of exactly what you are feeling and why. Consider the following strategies to enhance your emotional awareness:

  • Set aside time for introspection. In this time, you can ponder the events of the day, key things that happened and your reaction. What did you do well today? Where could you have improved? Note that being aware of any possible shortcomings does not mean beating yourself up about something you may have done wrong, but rather accepting that mistakes happen and being comfortable to make mistakes in future. The willingness to experiment is a key element of Learning Agility.
  • Draw up a list of the roles that you take on at work and in your personal life. Determine the feelings that are associated with each role, e.g. employee (frustration), housewife (fulfilled), student (anxiety), etc.
  • Try to generate feelings. In this way you can imagine which feelings you will experience in which situation and what your reaction to this will be. If you have to deliver a presentation soon, experience the situation and feelings beforehand in a safe place through visualisation.