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Self-Awareness in Leadership: How It Will Make You a Better Boss

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Kyle Davis
Kyle Davis
Be exclusive, Be Devine, Be yourself.

In the dynamic realm of the corporate world, where change is the only constant, leadership skills are more than just a necessity—they’re a cornerstone. Yet, amidst the myriad of qualities that define a great leader, self-awareness often remains overshadowed. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover the profound impact of self-awareness on leadership.


In the vast spectrum of leadership, where strategies and execution often take the forefront, the introspective aspect of understanding oneself is sometimes left behind. Leadership isn’t just about achieving milestones; it’s about the journey, the growth, and the self-realization that accompanies it. This article aims to highlight the transformative power of self-awareness in leadership.

Self-Awareness in Leadership: How It Will Make You a Better Boss

What does it mean to be a self-aware leader?

At its core, self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s character, feelings, desires, and motivations. For leaders, it’s the compass that guides their interactions, decisions, and reactions.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is intertwined with self-awareness. A leader with a high EI can not only recognize and regulate their own emotions but can also empathize with their team, understanding their emotions and motivations. This not only fosters trust but also boosts team morale.

Key Characteristics of a Self-aware Leader:

  • Humility: A self-aware leader acknowledges that the journey of learning never ceases. They are open to feedback and are always on the lookout for growth opportunities.
  • Growth Mindset: Such leaders view challenges as opportunities. They believe in evolving through experiences, both good and bad.
  • Forgiveness: They understand that to err is human. Instead of reprimanding, they focus on the learning that can come from mistakes.
  • Accountability: Owning up to one’s decisions, especially the wrong ones, is a hallmark of a self-aware leader.

How to use self-awareness to improve your leadership?

Self-awareness isn’t a mere reflection; it’s about channeling that introspection into actionable change, leading to personal and professional growth.

Ways to Harness Self-awareness in Leadership:

  • Empathetic Decision-making: Consider the ripple effect of your decisions. How will it impact your team? Will it enhance their work-life balance or disrupt it?
  • Emotional Safety: Cultivate an environment where emotions aren’t suppressed but expressed. This not only reduces workplace stress but also enhances creativity.
  • Core Values: Your values shouldn’t just be words on a wall. Live them, exemplify them, and let them guide your leadership style.
  • Open Communication: Encourage a culture where feedback flows freely, where team members can voice their concerns without fear.
Self-Awareness in Leadership: How It Will Make You a Better Boss

Internal vs. external self-awareness

Internal self-awareness is introspective, focusing on understanding one’s emotions, aspirations, and triggers. External self-awareness, on the other hand, is about perception—how do your team members, peers, and superiors perceive you?

A truly self-aware leader strives for a balance between the two, ensuring that their self-perception isn’t in stark contrast to external perceptions.

When internal and external self-awareness aren’t balanced

Imagine believing you’re a democratic leader, but your team perceives you as autocratic. Such discrepancies can lead to mistrust, reduced team cohesion, and even conflicts. A balanced self-awareness ensures that leaders are not only in tune with themselves but also with their surroundings and the people they lead.

You need feedback now more than ever

In the age of rapid change, feedback is the anchor that keeps leaders grounded. It offers a mirror to their actions, decisions, and behaviors. While positive feedback is affirming, constructive feedback is the catalyst for growth and improvement.

Ask for “what” rather than “why”

The framing of questions can shape discussions. “Why” often leads to defensive answers, while “What” is solution-oriented. For instance, instead of asking, “Why did this project fail?”, a more constructive question would be, “What can we do differently to ensure the success of future projects?”

Self-awareness lies in unity

Leadership isn’t a solo journey. It’s about collective growth, collective successes, and even collective failures. A self-aware leader understands that their growth is intertwined with the growth of their team. By fostering a culture of feedback, open communication, and mutual respect, leaders can pave the way for a united, cohesive team.


Self-awareness is more than just a buzzword—it’s the foundation upon which effective leadership stands. By understanding themselves better, leaders can navigate the complex maze of team dynamics, organizational challenges, and personal growth with greater clarity and confidence.

In the ever-evolving landscape of leadership, self-awareness remains the beacon that guides leaders towards not just success, but meaningful success that leaves a lasting impact.

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