There are two kinds of self-awareness – internal and external.
Internal self-awareness is all about how we view ourselves. External self-awareness is about accurately understanding how others view us.
Have a look at the table below, which maps internal self-awareness against external self-awareness. Where do you think you fall?
Balancing the scales of external and internal viewpoints is the key to true self-awareness. The better we’re able to understand ourselves, the better we can understand others.
This is especially true for leaders. A leader who is not aware of their own strengths and weaknesses will struggle to effectively delegate tasks, make decisions, or adapt to their colleagues’ work and communication styles.
But how do we synchronise our internal and external self-awareness?
In the short term, focus outwards. Pay attention to the people you’re speaking to in social situations and make sure you’re being an active listener. This creates a solid foundation for self-awareness by improving your interpersonal relationships and self-perception.
In the long term, practice introspection. Make sure that it’s informed by good feedback from trusted sources.