Self-awareness or Self-denial

Should self-awareness be taught in school? A recent article I read in Bnet pointed out the pros and cons (mostly pros) on whether self-awareness should be taught in business school. The director of a leadership program at Tucks University explains what is ‘self-awareness’:
“We recognize that leaders aren’t jacks-of-all-trades who share an ideal set of traits; everyone excels at some tasks more than at others. Effective leadership lies in using this realization to build on your strengths and reduce any potential harm from your deficiencies. That’s what we call self-awareness.”

And Inc. magazine has always written about the most effective leaders are those who take responsibility for what they don’t know than from leaders who pretend to know it all. Research shows many people just don’t know what impact they have on others. The person who tries to hide weaknesses actually highlights them, creating the perception of a lack of integrity and self-awareness.

So how do you become more conscious of what you’re good at while acknowledging what you still have yet to learn? (This includes admitting when you don’t have the answer and owning up to mistakes.)

One thing is trying to become better at something, anything. Admitting you don’t know, but want to know more, is the beginning. But the best way is to ask for feedback from those you work with or study with. And then listen without defending yourself.

A suggestion for popular reading on self-awareness: Now, Discover Your Strengths. (There is a website that goes along with the book.)


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