Self Awareness as a Leader

Self-Aware Leader

Amazing leaders all have strong characteristics. Some more unique than others, while many remain consistent throughout all. Drive, persistence, honesty, creativity and so many more. But there is one characteristic that is often overlooked – self-awareness. Today we will dive deep into the definition of “self-awareness” and what it really means to be “ self-aware” as a leader.

Definition of self-awareness 

Merium Webster states the definition of self-awareness is “an awareness of one’s own personality or individuality.” 

Emotional self-awareness is the ability to understand your own emotions and their effects on your performance.  Said another way, you know what you are feeling and why—and how it helps or hurts what you are trying to do. You sense how others see you.  Respected, effective leaders understand the importance of this attribute.  Most of us have experienced a situation where a manager, CEO, or owner who are not emotionally self-aware.  It isn’t always easy to get behind the goals set by this individual.  However, when working with a leader who maintains a high level of self-awareness, there is generally a higher level of respect and hence, the results of the leader is higher.  This trick is key to becoming a strong leader. But becoming self-aware is not easy to do, it takes time and persistence.

Why self-awareness makes a strong leader  

According to Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, 83 percent of people with high self-awareness are top performers, while only 2 percent of bottom performers display this trait.

Developing self-awareness as a leader will equip you with high productivity, wisdom, knowledge, and the ability to read your emotions along with others and adjust accordingly. Developing this attribute will help your team to grow and succeed in all endeavors. 

Self-aware leaders have the ability to create an approach and different styles for various situations and can “read” how others are receiving their message. They have the ability to see their real impact on themselves and others for the better or for the worse. 

Characteristics of self-awareness in leaders


Self-aware leaders are aligned with their emotional intelligence. They understand that being positive helps others around them be more creative, motivated and innovative. They are not 100% happy all the time, no one really is, that’s life, but they do understand the importance of positivity in an organization and aim hard to maintain that no matter what they are feeling on the inside.

Recognize their weaknesses

A strong characteristic of a self-aware leaders is that they recognize their weaknesses. They are able to identify exactly where the weakness lies, and the cause. They come up with a solution to the problem, most likely by delegating the task to someone appropriate.  This allows them to free up time to do what they are good at and provides individuals who have strengths in other areas to take on those tasks.  They focus their efforts on their strengths to maximize proficiency. This does not mean they shy away from doing the things they don’t like to do. 

Makes the right decisions

A strong leader understands that every decision is crucial. They know that a goal achieved is simply the accumulation of the right decisions made.

So before they make a decision they look at the bigger picture, they analyze how it affects not only themselves but the organization as a whole. Additionally, they know the importance of making a decision – there will be times when one has to make a decision without all the data to make a fully informed decision.  

Practices mindfulness

They understand that in order to be a strong leader, you must be in control and master their own mind.  A great way to control one’s emotions and thoughts is to practice mindfulness. This is helpful when conflict arises. The self-aware leader is able to separate the way they feel and see in perspective how others feel. They use this trick to solve the issue. Additionally, this works perfectly for not only themselves but for the organization as a whole.

Clear communication

Words are bound to the self-aware leader, they know that the words they speak and the actions they take affect their goals and organization.  They work hard to effectively communicate with themselves and others.


Self-aware leaders are kind, they understand that people need to feel acknowledged and valued.  That kindness always goes a long way with everyone they speak and interact with.

Now that we went over a few characteristics of a self-aware leader. It’s time to share with you several tips and strategies to becoming a more self-aware leader yourself by Cambell These tips will help you if done repeatedly. 

Tips & strategies to becoming a self-aware leader

Keep an open mind. When you can regulate your own emotional world, you can be attuned to others’ emotions. To be a successful leader, you have to be curious about other people and all they have to offer. This shows that you can be a team player and don’t need to be No. 1. The more open you are to others, the more creative you become.  Be respectful when someone offers a different perspective.  Listen – they may be onto something you missed.  

Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses. Self-aware individuals know their own strengths and weaknesses and can work from that space. Being mindful of this means that you know when to reach out for assistance and when you are good on your own.

Stay focused. An important part of being a leader is making connections, but you can’t make those connections if you’re distracted. Train yourself to focus for long periods of time without getting sucked into social media, emails and other small distractions.

Know your emotional triggers. Self-aware individuals can identify their emotions as they are happening. Don’t repress your emotions or deny their causes; instead, be able to bend and flex with them, and fully process them before communicating with others.

Practice self-discipline. Good leaders tend to be disciplined in every area of their life. It is a character trait that provides them with the enduring focus necessary for strong leadership.  However, be mindful of coming across as cold and inflexible.  It is a bit of a balancing act, but with practice, you will find a balance that is right for you.


The road to becoming a self-aware leader, can be difficult, but not impossible. We hope you found this blog post helpful. Let us know which strategy will you try first?