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Posted on February 16, 2017

Self-Awareness: Here’s Looking at You


Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important. You need to once in a while go, Uh, I’m kind of an asshole.’ – Louis C.K.


Not surprisingly, recent political events have put into question the essence of leadership. Maybe you’ve noticed an ever-widening gap between the leadership best practices touted by top companies and what we’re witnessing in our highest national appointments? I know I have.


Diversity, transparency and fiduciary responsibility all come to mind, but one element that’s particularly interesting is self-awareness. Over and over, self-awareness comes up as the most important skill for leaders. (Click here, here, here and here to read more.) Even if self-awareness isn’t a requirement of the American presidency, it seems to be a critical skill to lead a successful company, department or team.

chicken vector

Self-awareness is so important it’s even used as a metric for overall intelligence. In a recent study on chickens (yep, chickens), researchers found they’re much smarter than previously thought. This finding was in part linked to a level of self-awareness found in their communication abilities.

Want to be as smart as a chicken and a top leader? Check out these tips to boost your self-awareness:

  • Reflect on your progress: Take the initiative to think about your goals. What have you done well? What needs work?
  • Gather feedback: Seek differing opinions to open your mind. Approach your work with curiosity, not arrogance.
  • How matters: Reaching your goals and leaving behind a wake of collateral damage isn’t the point. Take time to consider the full picture before you set your plan in motion.
  • Find a mentor: Do you know a leader who models the right behavior? Reach out and ask for a few minutes of their time to see how they use awareness in their day-to-day work.
Sara Howland