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Self Awareness and Career Management

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In recent years it has become increasingly clear to companies and individuals alike that they must give attention to self-awareness in order to get the most out of their career development efforts. Self-awareness can be defined as “the individual’s ability to assess other’s evaluations of the self and to incorporate these assessments into one’s self-evaluation. ” (Garavan, McCarthy) In order to do so the individual must have a sense of emotional intelligence and a strong moral compass.

Most companies spend a significant amount on career development and management development activities and often these activities do not pay off in the long run. Career development is “a systematic attempt by organisations to help employees to analyse their abilities and interests and guide their placement, progression, and development through various assessment, counselling and training activities. ” This means, management training in any organization is of the utmost importance and part of this training must include an emphasis on self awareness.

The view is that the effectiveness of many management and career development activities can be enhanced by paying attention to the issue of managerial self-awareness. ” (Garavan, McCarthy) There are several reasons why self awareness plays such a great role in career development, specifically within managerial roles. Koonce sums it up best when he says, “a manager who is unaware of his or her blind spots or of how he or she impacts others is a walking disaster in the workplace, a leader who may lead the troops over the cliff. (1996)

Studies have found that subordinates with different personality traits rate managers differently which is another reason managers must be aware of how others are interpreting their behavour. “When trying to enhance leadership skills it is imperative for leaders to understand that their behaviour is interpreted differently according to a subordinate’s personality. Indeed, the same message that a leader is communicating (even if the content is the same) could be interpreted in several different ways depending on the personalities of the subordinates. (Hautala) This illustrates how self awareness can help leaders interact with others in a positive way by being sensitive to each individuals own personality traits. Managers ultimately have a huge effect on the entire work environment.

“The management of talented people is not just an important issue in its own right. These people will have a hugely disproportionate effect on attitudes to work, profit, the environment and so on. They are likely to set the agenda for everyone. (beddowes, 1994) So it is important to keep in mind what others needs and what their emotions are, not just your own agenda, when leading an organization. Self awareness must not only be taken into consideration once a career is in place but also while one is in search of a career. Goleman explains the most important variables in one’s career decisions are the level of self awareness and self-efficiency. (1996) These skills will help an individual choose the right career and make the appropriate decisions in managerial development.

As emphasis moves toward self awareness in companies, they are also looking to hire employees who are more self aware, making self awareness an important topic in interviews. According to Monster. com, “Many employers are looking for candidates with a strong sense of self-awareness. ” Monster evens offers a quiz on their website to help determine how self aware you are now as you are looking for a job. (Christie) This means one must be ready to talk about themselves, how they see themselves, and what they believe in a confident way.

But preparing for an interview in this way also allows the individual to look at themselves and determine what they are truly looking for and what career best suits their qualities. For instance, an introverted individual may realize that they would excel in a career as a writer or as a web designer rather than in a position that may force them to be in the public eye. With this knowledge, the person can then show this self awareness in an interview, allowing their best qualities to shine. Self awareness is not just important in the workplace.

Goleman feels that a lack of self awareness can ruin not only one’s career but even their personal relationships. (1996) Kooce echoes this sentiment by stating, even more important, perhaps, emotional intelligence is the basis on which every one of us must form our own moral compass, both in the workplace and everywhere else. (1996) Self awareness is the first and arguably the most important trait in emotional intelligence and is needed to navigate both the work environment and interpersonal relationships that enrich our lives.

Emotional Intelligence is also a key in becoming a successful leader. “Gifted leaders have high emotional intelligence-they need to empathize with others and appreciate their ideas and concerns. While this is not something that is purely “taught,” it does come more naturally to some. ” (Time) Awareness of one’s self helps them in all aspects of their lives, not just in business. Self awareness in essence is the ability to understand how others see you and take this into consideration when looking at one’s self.

But it is also the ability to know what you want, what your main personality traits are (are you an introvert or extrovert for example), and how you want to treat others. In harnessing this understanding one can than know what career they are most suited for and pursue that career with confidence. In addition, one will then be able to lead efficiently in their chosen profession because they will have a true sense of not only their strengths but also their weaknesses. They will also be able to understand how others view their behaviour and are affected by it.

This will allow one to have a positive impact on the entire company as good managers create effective work environments. In closing, it is important to also realize that self awareness will not only help in one’s career but in one’s life. The same tools used in the workplace, understanding one’s behaviour and how others are interpreting said behaviour, will enrich personal relationships. This will make the work-life balance complete and give one the satisfaction of knowing themselves and knowing how others truly feel about them.

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