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How to develop self awareness in the workplace

How to develop self awareness in the workplace
Duncan Lewis
Mentor, Business development, Start-up advice
Find out more about Duncan Lewis

In this article you’ll learn

  • How to develop self awareness in the workplace
  • The benefits of self awareness in business

As a business person, personal awareness is important. In particular, being able to identify your personal strengths and weaknesses is vital not just personally but for growing your business. Developing self awareness in the workplace is key to leadership, motivation and empathy.

There are a plethora of personality theories that underpin personality tests and personality quizzes. Many of these are surprisingly easy to understand at a basic level and make developing self awareness a bit easier. Assessing your personality type, personality traits, thinking and learning styles is also a very useful way to improve your knowledge of motivation and behaviour of yourself and others, both in and outside the workplace.

Models for developing self awareness in the workplace

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model is one such tool. Developed in 1940-50s USA, the theory remains relevant today for understanding human motivation, management training and developing self-awareness. Indeed, Maslow's ideas surrounding the Hierarchy of Needs, encourages individuals to fulfil their own unique potential (self-actualization).

Devised by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955, The Johari Window model is a simple and useful tool for illustrating and improving self-awareness and mutual understanding between individuals within a group.

More recently, Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People® are a powerful set of inspirational and aspirational standards for anyone seeking to live a full, purposeful and positive life.

Attractive young woman developing self awareness in the workplace

The SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis was invented in the 1960s by management consultant Albert Humphrey at the Stanford Research Institute, USA. SWOT is often used as a tool to explore any aspect of a business, including product and service development.

The SWOT analysis template is normally presented as a grid, comprising four sections, one for each of the SWOT headings: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Ordinarily, Strengths and Weaknesses are regarded distinctly as internal factors, whereas Opportunities and Threats are regarded as external factors.

However, just as valid is to conduct personal SWOT. The key to doing this is to be honest. There are three stages to conducting a full SWOT analysis:

  • Stage 1. Without thinking for too long, write down as bullet points in each quadrant your personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This should take no longer than circa 15 minutes
  • Stage 2. Next identify how you intend to address your Weaknesses, capitalise on your Opportunities and protect yourself against your Threats (your Strengths will hopefully remain as such, although these can be added to). This stage takes a little longer
  • Stage 3. Give yourself an action and timescale in which you can feasibly achieve Stage 2

As with all personal development theories and models, you will change and develop over time. You might conduct a SWOT analysis and a few months later it has changed. This is because something that you originally identified as an Opportunity or a Weakness has now become a Strength.

By continuing to explore and examine yourself in this way will help you, not just have a better understanding and appreciation of yourself, but also assist your business to grow and develop too. And it's important not only to take the time to develop yourself, but to take the time to develop your staff too. We've got some great tips to help you develop your staff.

 

Summary

Duncan Lewis explains how self awareness in the workplace and knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important for your business.