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Self awareness at work – key to success

A key focus of personal coaching is building self awareness – necessary to identify areas which we need to change in order to grow. At a minimum we need to have an awareness of what triggers different emotional responses, otherwise we will tend to be controlled by our ‘blind spots’, the emotional buttons of which we are unaware.

This article focuses of the issue of self awareness in the workplace. It is equally relevant to all work situations, and whether you are an owner manager, or employee of a small or large enterprise.

So what are your emotional triggers in the workplace? What makes you angry, fearful, insecure etc. Do you maintain healthy boundaries with your peer group, subordinates and line report. Do you know when to say ‘no’ or do you ‘people please’ for approval? Are you independent minded and confident or do you lack the courage of your convictions? Awareness alone of the answers to these questions will position you to stay in control. If you know what is going on for you emotionally you can decide to choose responses that will get you the results you want.

Beyond this there is awareness of your work style preferences, for example :
– Are you a ‘big picture’ strategic thinker, preferring to leave the detail others? [If so you need someone else to cover the detail to validate your analysis] – Do you prefer the bottom up approach? [If so, make sure that you don’t get lost in detail and ‘fail to see the wood from the trees’] – Do you prefer to work on your own or as part of a team?
– Have you a highly structured approach to work or work in bursts?
– Are you a thinking or a feeling person in terms of how you make decisions ?
– Do you prefer to rely on your intuition or on a rational analysis of all the facts?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions but success in business depends on having a balance between all perspectives. So knowing your preference you need to team up with others who have a different/complementary preference or challenge yourself to move outside your comfort zone – both ideally. An awareness of your natural preferences alerts you to aspects that you might be tempted to neglect, simply because they don’t come naturally to you.

Finally,what are your strengths and weaknesses?, for example :
– How would your work colleagues answer this question ? Ask them !
– Do you have the skills and qualifications you need for your role?
– Are you technically minded or more of a generalist ?
– Are you a good man manager?
– Are you tuned into the informal organization (how the decision making process works) ?
– Are you good in customer facing roles or are you more of a back office person?
– Do you consistently deliver quality work on time ? If not, why?
– Do keep a cool head under pressure?

Coaches use psychometric tools ( ‘scientifically’ validated questionnaires) such as Eqi (emotional intelligence), Myers Briggs ( type preferences) and 360 feedback to help individuals and teams gain insights into the above areas. So if you are struggling to answer the questions above consider using a coach who is a qualified practitioner of a relevant tool in order to help you gain the insights you need.  An outcome from any such exercise will be a development plan to cover areas where you need to improve either in your current role or to position you for future career development.


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