In a Nutshell
With our busy schedulesit might be difficult to find time to think about who we are, our strengthsand weaknesses, our drives and personalities, our habits and values.Besides, many of us just aren't inclined to spend much time on self-reflection.Even when personal feedback is presented to us, we're not always open toit, because honest feedback isn't always flattering.Consequently, many of us have a pretty low level of self-awareness.That's unfortunate, because self-awarenessis an essential first step toward maximizingmanagement skills. Self-awarenesscan improve our judgment and help us identify opportunities for professionaldevelopment and personal growth.
In This Issue
- Does Eisner Have CEO Disease?
- Key Areas for Self-Awareness
- How Self-Awareness Makes YouMore Effective
- Practicing This Management Skill
- About the Newsletterand Subscriptions
- Good, Clean Joke
- LeaderLetterWeb Site
Does Eisner Have CEO Disease?
The board members who ledthe coup that brought current CEO Michael Eisner to Disney in 1984 arepoised to lead another coup. Earlier this month Roy Disney (nephewof founder Walt Disney) and his ally on Disney's board, Stanley Gold, resigned.On their way out the door, the duo wrote scathing critiques of Eisner'sleadership and vowed to lead stockholder and employee revolts against him.Specifically, Roy Disney and Gold criticized Eisner's failure to developa successor, empower the creative staff, and generate marketable innovationsand programs.1 For years press reports have suggestedEisner is a politically minded manager who develops power bases betterthan he develops executives.
Michael Eisner could verywell be suffering from what Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee refer to as "CEOdisease" in their best-selling book,Primal Leadership. Theydescribe CEO disease as "the information vacuum around a leader createdwhen people withhold important (and usually unpleasant) information."2Eisner is the prototypical candidate for CEO disease. He is notoriousfor filling Disney's board of directors with cronies and others who wouldbe unlikely to be very critical of his decision-making and performance.Consequently, he can act with virtual impunity and caprice. It wouldbe risky for an executive to criticize Eisner's actions or choices.Hence, Eisner is unlikely to be offered much of the constructive criticisma CEO needs to improve his or her performance.
Just as being able to seeyour reflection in the mirror helps you to fix your hair, feedback on yourcharacteristics and behaviors helps you to develop your management skillsand improve your judgment. Self-awareness--i.e., knowing your personalcharacteristics and how your actions affect other people, business results,etc.--is an essential first step toward maximizing your management skills.Self-awareness is the antidote to CEO disease.
Key Areas for Self-Awareness
Human beings are complexand diverse. To become more self-aware, we should develop an understandingof ourselves in many areas. Key areas for self-awareness includeour personality traits, personal values, habits, emotions, and the psychologicalneeds that drive our behaviors.
Personality.We don't normally change our personalities, values and needs based on whatwe learn about ourselves. But, an understanding of our personalitiescan help us find situations in which we will thrive, and help us avoidsituations in which we will experience too much stress. For instance,if you are a highly introverted person, you are likely to experience morestress in a sales position than a highly extroverted person would.So, if you are highly introverted, you should either learn skills to copewith the demands of a sales position that requires extravert-type behaviorpatterns, or you should find a position that is more compatible with yourpersonality. Awareness of your personality helps you analyze sucha decision.
Roy Disney and Stanley Goldwould say that Michael Eisner's personality is too controlling. Hehas buffered himself from threats to his tenure as CEO by co-opting theboard of directors and by micro-managing the executives he should be developingand empowering. As a result, his performance as CEO has suffered.
Values.It's important that we each know and focus on our personalvalues. For instance, if your first priority is "being therefor your children" or "your relationship with God," it's very easy to losesight of those priorities on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment basis.During the workday, so many problems and opportunities arise that our listsof "things to do" can easily exceed the time we have to do them.Since few (if any) of those things pertain to what we value most, it'seasy to spend too much time on lower priority activities. When wefocus on our values, we are more likely to accomplish what we considermost important.
Habits.Our habits are the behaviors that we repeat routinely and often automatically.Although we would like to possess the habits that help us interact effectivelywith and manage others, we can probably all identify at least one of ourhabits that decreases our effectiveness. For example, if you area manager who never consults your staff before making decisions, that habitmay interfere with your ability to build your staff members' commitmentto the decisions and their decision-making skills as well.
Needs.Maslow and other scholars have identified a variety of psychological needsthat drive our behaviors such as needs for esteem, affection, belongingness,achievement, self-actualization, power and control. One of the advantagesof knowing which needs exert the strongest influence on our own behaviorsis the ability to understand how they affect our interpersonal relationships.For instance, most of us have probably known people who have a high needfor status. They're attracted to high status occupations, and theyseek high status positions within their organizations. Such peoplealso want the things that symbolize their status. They insist thatthey be shown respect, and they want privileges and perks that people oflower status can't have. Sometimes these people fight for thingsthat others see as inconsequential--like a bigger office. Needs causemotivation; and when needs aren't satisfied, they can cause frustration,conflict and stress.
Emotions.Emotional self-awareness has become a hot topic of discussion recentlybecause it's one of the five facets of emotional intelligence. Understandingyour own feelings, what causes them, and how they impact your thoughtsand actions is emotional self-awareness. If you were once excitedabout your job but not excited now, can you get excited again? Toanswer that question, it helps to understand the internal processes associatedwith getting excited. That sounds simpler than it is. Here'san analogy: I think I know how my car starts--I put gas in the tank, putthe key in the ignition, and turn the key. But, my mechanic knowsa lot more about what's involved in getting my car started than I do--heknows what happens under the hood. My mechanic is able to start mycar on the occasions when I'm not because he understands the internal processes.Similarly, a person with high emotional self-awareness understands theinternal process associated with emotional experiences and, therefore,has greater control over them.
back to the top
How Self-AwarenessMakes You More Effective
Self-awareness helps managersidentify gaps in their management skills, which promotes skill development.But self-awareness also helps managers find situations in which they willbe most effective, assists with intuitive decision making, and aids stressmanagement and motivation of oneself and others.
Skilldevelopment. Improvement projects should normally beginwith an assessment of the gap between the current situation and the desiredfuture situation. Having an accurate sense of who you are helps youdecide what you should do to improve. Often, self-awareness willreveal a skills gap that you want to work on.
Knowingyour strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness helps youexploit your strengths and cope with your weaknesses. For instance,if you are someone who is good at "seeing the big picture" that surroundsdecisions, but not as good at focusing on the details, you might want toconsult colleagues and subordinates that are more detail-oriented whenmaking major decisions. Cooperation between big-picture-orienteddecision makers and detail-oriented decision makers can produce high qualitydecisions.
Developingintuitive decision-making skills. Leaders with well-developedemotional self-awareness are more effective intuitive decision makers.In complex situations, intuitive decision makers process large amountsof sometimes unstructured and ambiguous data, and they choose a courseof action based on a "gut feeling" or a "sense" of what's best. Thistype of decision making is becoming more important for managers as therate of change and the levels of uncertainty and complexity in their competitiveenvironments increase. Managers who are highly emotionally self-awareare better able to read their "gut feelings" and use them to guide decisions.
Stress.Jobs that don't suit your personality tend to give you more stress thanjobs that are more compatible. This is not to say that you shouldnever take a job that conflicts with your personality. However, beaware that you will need to work extra hard to develop the skills for thatjob, and there are jobs that would be less stressful for you.
Motivation.It's very difficult to cope with poor results when you don't understandwhat causes them. When you don't know what behaviors to change toimprove your performance, you just feel helpless. Self-awarenessis empowering because it can reveal where the performance problems areand indicate what can be done to improve performance. In addition,awareness of your psychological needs can increase your motivation by helpingyou understand and seek out the rewards that you really desire such asa sense of accomplishment, additional responsibility, an opportunity tohelp others, or a flexible work schedule.
Leadership.When we understand "what make us tick"--what gets us excited, why we behavethe way we do, etc.--we also have insight into what makes others tick.To the extent that other people are like you (and, of course, there arelimits to the similarity), knowing how to motivate yourself is tantamountto knowing how to motivate others.
back to the top
Practicing This ManagementSkill
You can become more self-awareby seeking feedback from the people who know you, completing self-assessmentsurveys, and hiring an expert like a professional counselor or executivecoach.
Asksomebody. If you have open, trusting relationships withthe people who know you, you can ask them for feedback about your personality,habits, needs and values. Research shows that your coworkers, friendsand family members CAN provide valid assessments of your personality.But, they do NOT ALWAYS provide an accurate assessment. For instance,I once asked my undergraduate students to describe my personality on thefour Myers-Briggs personality dimensions, and they described the exactopposite of my actual personality. Their ratings described the personalitythat is appropriate for a teacher, and they also rated me as an effectiveteacher. So, they saw me act like a teacher in my role as a teacher,but those behaviors are not representative of my behaviors in other roles.There are two lessons in that: (1) You can develop skills for a rolethat doesn't match your personality. (2) People who only see youin one role can only describe your behaviors in relation to that role.Analogously, if you mismanage your time so that you spend too much timeon things that don't matter much to you, people will have a very differentperception of your values than you do. For instance, maybe you saythat your family is important to you, but how do you spend your time?
Another limitation on thevalue of the feedback you get from family, friends and especially coworkersis that they may not be completely candid with you. This is wherethe trustfactor looms large. Unflattering feedback is the type that has themost potential for helping you develop your management skills, but it isalso the most difficult to give and to accept. People aren't verylikely to give you unflattering feedback if there isn't a high level oftrust in your relationship with them ... unless they don't mind harmingthe relationship. For this reason, many experts (e.g., Ed Eppley,Area Manager for Dale Carnegie Training,and Ellen Van Velsor of the Center for CreativeLeadership) suggest that managers find a way to get anonymous feedbackfrom staff members and co-workers.
Questionnaires.One of the ways to improve the quality of the feedback that you can receivefrom other people is by asking them to fill out a psychometrically soundinventory of your personality, values, needs, or habits as they perceivethem. Those surveys are composed and structured in such a way asto maximize the accuracy of the feedback they generate. With thehelp of a facilitator, the surveys can be completed anonymously.You can also fill out surveys yourself as a means of self-assessment.
Seekprofessional help. Professional counselors and executivecoaches can be a great source of feedback to help you develop your self-awareness.Of course, not everyone who calls herself a coach is qualified. Youshould evaluate the training and certifications of counselors and coaches.Nevertheless, executive coaching is a great resource, and it's a growingarea of management consulting. Coaches not only help you get a betterpicture of who you are; they also guide you through self-improvement.Often coaches collect anonymous evaluations of their clients from theirsubordinates, superiors or anyone else who is in a position to providehelpful feedback. Good coaches know how to effectively collect anddigest the feedback. Professional counselors, such as guidance counselorsand clinical psychologists, are also great resources. Guidance counselorscan provide inventories of your personality and interests. Clinicalpsychologists can help you understand and work on aspects of your personalityand habits that interfere with any facet of your life, including work.
In Summary ...
To perfect your managementskills, the best place to start is self-awareness. Self-awarenessmeans knowing your values, personality, needs, habits, emotions, strengths,weaknesses, etc. With a sense of who you are and a vision of theperson you want to become, a plan for professional or personal developmentcan be created. Moreover, self-awareness allows you to motivate yourselfand manage your stress better, helps you with your intuitive decision making,and helps you to lead and motivate others more effectively. Self-awarenessis very useful.
back to the top
AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove:e-mailed to me from Yahoo! News; news.yahoo.com.
- Grover, R. (2003). Stalking a wily prey at Disney. BusinessWeek Online, Dec. 2. Retrieved December 11, 2003 from http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/dec2003/nf2003122_5238_db035.htm.
- Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. & McKee, A. (2002). Primalleadership: Realizing the power of emotional intelligence. Boston,Mass.: Harvard Business School Press. (The definition of CEOdisease appears on page 93.)
About theNewsletter and Subscriptions
LeaderLetter is writtenby Dr. Scott Williams, Department of Management, RajSoin College of Business, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.It is a supplement to my MBA 751 - Managing People in Organizations class.It is intended to reinforce the course concepts and maintain communicationamong my former MBA 751 students, but anyone is welcome to subscribe.In addition, subscribers are welcome to forward this newsletter to anyonewho they believe would have an interest in it. To subscribe,simply send an e-mail message to me requesting subscription. Of course,subscriptions to the newsletter are free. To unsubscribe,e-mail a reply indicating that you would like to unsubscribe.
back to the top
E-mail Your Comments
Whether you are one of myformer students or not, I invite you to share any insights or concernsyou have regarding the topic of this newsletter or any other topic relatingto management skills. Please e-mailthem to me. Our interactions have been invaluable. Ilearn a lot from LeaderLetter subscribers! Let'skeep the conversation going.
A Good, Clean Joke
In a certain suburban neighborhood,there were two brothers, 8 and 10 years old, who were exceedingly mischievous.Whatever went wrong in the neighborhood, it turned out they had had a handin it. Their parents were at their wit's end trying to control them. Hearingabout a priest nearby who worked with delinquent boys, the mother suggestedto the father that they ask the priest to talk with the boys. The fatherreplied, "Sure, do that before I kill them!" The mother went to the priestand made her request. He agreed, but said he wanted to see the youngerboy first and alone. So the mother sent him to the priest.
The priest sat the boy downacross a huge, impressive desk he sat behind. For about five minutes theyjust sat and stared at each other. Finally, the priest pointed his forefingerat the boy and asked, "Where is God?" The boy looked under the desk, inthe corners of the room, all around, but said nothing.
Again, louder, the priestpointed at the boy and asked, "Where is God?"
Again the boy looked allaround but said nothing. A third time, in a louder, firmer voice, the priestleaned far across the desk and put his forefinger almost to the boy's nose,and asked, "Where is God?"
The boy panicked and ranall the way home. Finding his older brother, he dragged him upstairs totheir room and into the closet, where they usually plotted their mischief.He finally said, "We are in BIG trouble!"
The older boy asked, "Whatdo you mean, BIG trouble?"
His brother replied, "Godis missing and they think we did it."
back to the top
Self-awareness means knowing your values, personality, needs, habits, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, etc. With a sense of who you are and a vision of the person you want to become, a plan for professional or personal development can be created.
When we are more self-aware we are better at understanding ourselves. We are then able to identify changes we want to make and recognise our strengths so we can build on them. Self-awareness is often a first step to goal setting. This includes admitting when you don't have the answer and owning up to mistakes.
It helps us to become better decision-makers It gives us more self-confidence — so, as a result, we communicate with clarity and intention. It allows us to understand things from multiple perspectives. It frees us from our assumptions and biases. It helps us build better relationships.
We'll cover some of these examples in-depth here: Being able to focus on something positive when in a negative situation. Being able to recognize a bad habit and the effect it can have on you. Learn about your emotional triggers, so you can better deal with negative emotions like anger or hate.
Self-Awareness is simply the ability to be aware of one's inner life–one's emotions, thoughts, behaviors, values, preferences, goals, strengths, challenges, attitudes, mindsets, and so forth– and how these elements impact behavior and choices across contexts.
You'll learn to accept who you are. You can let go of self-doubt. Your confidence will improve. You'll make better life choices.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation. ...
- Practice yoga. ...
- Make time to reflect. ...
- Journal. ...
- Ask the people you love.
Why is it important to know yourself better what are the things you want to develop and improve within yourself? ›
Self-improvement lets you identify your personal strengths and play on them. From relationships to careers – knowing your strengths is important for every sphere of your life. It gives you a better understanding of what you are seeking and where you are likely to thrive and excel.
Self-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don't align with your internal standards.
All the feedback and reflection gives you a better overall perspective, more self-confidence, and self-esteem, and boosts your critical thinking and creative abilities. It also enables you to change your habits more easily, make better decisions and have more self-control.
When students are aware of themselves, they are able to enjoy more success in most areas of their lives, including academics. Self-awareness gives students the ability to act independently, direct their own learning, be internally motivated, act intentionally, and be true to who they are.
Moreover, self-awareness allows you to motivate yourself and manage your stress better, helps you with your intuitive decision making, and helps you to lead and motivate others more effectively. Self-awareness is very useful.
By being self aware you can move through life in a way that honours your individual needs and emotions. Though this is a learned skill some people may find that they come to it more naturally than others. The good news is that with practice and persistence you are able to improve your self-awareness.
Why is it important to know yourself better what are the things you want to develop and improve Quora? ›
Self-knowledge is important because it allows us to understand ourselves better. This understanding can help us to make better decisions and set better goals for ourselves. It can also help us to become more self-aware, which can lead to a more fulfilling life.
Self development is taking steps to better yourself, such as by learning new skills or overcoming bad habits. An example of self development is taking courses at the university to learn new skills and interesting things.
- Read often. Reading regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to learn. ...
- Adopt a new hobby. ...
- Sign up for a training session. ...
- Identify in-demand skills. ...
- Try a new schedule. ...
- Commit to an exercise routine. ...
- Set big goals. ...
- Change your mindset.
- Self-awareness. How aware are you of your strengths & weaknesses? ...
- Self-education. How much are you investing in yourself? ...
- Self-mastery. Do you plan your day around your energy levels?
Self-awareness seems to have become the latest management buzzword — and for good reason. Research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We're less likely to lie, cheat, and steal.
The first action we can take is to become more aware of who and what we are – to purposely explore who the self is. One constructive approach is to examine the self through the four facets or aspects, namely the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self.
- Being better able to manage and regulate your emotions.
- Better communication.
- Better decision-making skills.
- Improved relationships.
- Higher levels of happiness.
- More confidence.
- Better job satisfaction.
- Better leadership skills.
Self awareness is critical because it helps you be aware of your thoughts and feelings. It helps you to make better decisions and avoid making mistakes. Furthermore, it aids you develop a sense of control over your life and protecting yourself from harmful people who might take advantage of you if you aren't cautious.
Assess your self-talk
The first step in self-awareness is to listen to yourself.