Self-awareness is the first step in identifying ways your behavior might impact your organization. Introspection and openness to change go hand-in-hand with self-awareness. Often, feedback is needed to enhance your ability to be more aware of negative behavior, and the process always begins with you.

In essence:

  • You might think that self-awareness simply means that you understand your emotions, know your strengths and weaknesses, and can anticipate your triggers. But this is only half of the equation. The second half involves understanding how your behavior impacts others.
  • If you aren’t self-aware in both ways, your career and/or your organization will suffer. Identify your blind spots by asking for feedback. Make a habit of being self-aware. The behavior will become second nature.
  • Be aware of how those you work with, or those who report to you, are perceived. If your team is viewed positively, you will be too, simply through association. Negative perceptions will have the opposite effect.
  • Embrace the ART approach. Ask questions, Reach out, and Take action. Write an action plan to help you pinpoint which behaviors need work and how you intend to meet the challenge.

Developing self-awareness is a human behavior — one that can, and should be, cultivated. The best leaders are self-aware. They know how their behaviors affect others, where their voices echo, and how their words are interpreted. They control their moods. They know who they are. Just as important, they know how they are perceived. If you cultivate your own sense of self-awareness, you’ll see that awareness translate into behavior patterns that reinforce positive feedback in your organization from the top down.

This is an excerpt from Paulette Ashlin’s book Leading: The Way – Behaviors that Drive Success which outlines the importance of responding to, changing, and improving your behavior to become the best leader you can be. Find out more at