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Why self-awareness is important for every manager

As managers climb the career ladder and take on more responsibility, they must focus on developing a great many different skills and capabilities. They need to be technically adept, socially poised, self-motivated to succeed, and ready to lead. One aspect that is often overlooked among all these skill sets is the need for every manager to have a measure of self-awareness.

 

The importance of this should not be underestimated. In the charge to get ahead, softer skills such as awareness may seem to offer less of a competitive edge, but in reality, awareness can provide a manager with some important attributes and insights.

 

A manager who is self-aware is better able to understand their own motivations, and comprehend more clearly why they make the decisions they do. They are consequently more likely to critically assess the choices they make, and undertake a constant effort to learn from the things they get right and the decisions that don’t go to plan. Some will go so far as to write down their reasoning behind a particular choice, and then return to it later on to see how the decision has panned out. This provides them with an ongoing measure of their actual success, and allows them to alter their approach with fuller insight.

 

The reverse of this is a manager who is less aware of both their own strengths and their own weaknesses. They might have an over-inflated opinion of the things they believe they are best at, and may be slightly blinded to the aspects of their leadership that still need work. It is true that a certain level of ego is needed to drive a person up an organisational hierarchy, but without a measure of self-awareness, this risks the manager being less able to recognise their own development needs, or to retain a measure of humility when interacting with employees.

 

Having self-awareness as a manager also tends to come partnered with a greater awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of others. This is important, for example, when a manager is involved in recruitment of fresh talent, and is required to quickly and effectively contribute to the assessment of talent in a potential employee. It is also important as a facet of leading their present team, where understanding the particular developmental requirements of individual team members will allow a leader to better engage with, and support, their team.

 

How do you judge your own self-awareness as a manager? 
 
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