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Opinion: Why Self-Awareness Is Key To Leadership Excellence


By Philip Ilete, CHRP-K.

Self-awareness is often defined as conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires. It’s key to self-control, decision making, creativity, learning, growth and self-fulfillment.

Self Awareness creates value and helps you to influence others. It is a tool to proactively manage your beliefs, thoughts, emotions, decisions and behaviors.

Great leaders are self-aware and practice self-awareness activities daily. Who doesn’t want more CLARITY, EMPOWERMENT, MOTIVATION and positive energy flowing through their daily life?

Cultivating self-awareness requires an introspective approach, a system and a process to actively and consciously engage in the recognition of ourselves as an individual.

Most begin the journey of conscious self-awareness because of a major life event or a trigger. Self-awareness is often brought to light by this unique opportunity, and if we are open to acceptance and cognitively processing the information, we then experience excellence, abundance, achievement and contentment.

Self-awareness can be enhanced. It is a cognitive behavior process that can be worked on through learning and unlearning processes. Self-awareness requires 100% focus on self, not other factors or people. It’s about you and you alone. It is the skill of being aware of our thoughts, emotions and values from moment to moment.

It requires a SEPARATION from EGO and a TRUE ASSESSMENT of our VALUES that DRIVE our best and highest selves.
The PROCESS of IMPLEMENTING daily self-awareness practices is HUMBLING and requires FOCUS, DISCIPLINE, VULNERABILITY and the COURAGE to CHANGE.

SELF-AWARENESS can be of great value to leaders when they are intentional in their daily approach to their own cognition, behavior and relations. It is in the authenticity and integrity that leadership excellence is extended naturally in daily communications and actions.

I advise setting aside five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening. This is a general awareness of yourself, your environment, your systems, your processes and the people you engage with daily. In the morning, write down your observations and priorities. Revisit them, briefly, at the end of day to measure the value added, and write out a to-do and to-stop list that then can be reviewed the next morning.

Stop; breathe, and observe. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for taking a moment to refresh your mind, body and soul. Take in your environment, the people, the weather. Be present, and allow yourself to not be distracted.

Engage with others through active listening. Pay attention to your surrounding environment by being aware of what is really going on. Notice your breath, how your body feels and the sights and sounds around you.

Be open, and always question your assumptions. Assume positive intent. Research things you are not quite sure of or do not know, and ask relative and purposeful questions (especially if you are coaching others to excellence). Let your calendar/technology work for you and remind you of important activities.

REMEMBER: Self-mastery through self-awareness is one of the single most important commitments you can make to yourself that will afford you positive, lasting change and improve your leadership presence. It will lead you to truly and naturally live your values in your daily journey of excellence.

Mr. Philip Ilete, the author and HR expert by profession is based in Turkana County. 

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