Cultivating a self-aware team is crucial if you want to increase performance.
Awareness is more than a personality trait—it’s a competency directly linked to high-performance teams. Teams with high self-awareness make better decisions, interact with each other better, and manage tensions and conflicts more effectively. Just imagine what your team and organization could accomplish with self-awareness!
People need to realize who they are internally and externally to become fully aware. Internal self-awareness is clearly knowing your values, aspirations, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, weaknesses, and impact on others; external self-awareness is about how others view you in relation to themselves.
Leaders who know themselves inside and out know who they are, what they want to achieve, and actively seek and value others’ opinions. Leaders fully recognize the benefits of self-awareness once they reach this point because they’re living them.
But leaders can’t hog all the fun, though! Individuals, teams, and companies can benefit just as much. These benefits include:
Personal and professional growth
Learning about your strengths and weaknesses helps you perform better and engage in work that uses your talents. Also, the more effective people are at examining how they think about themselves and the world around them, the better they’ll navigate their way through their industry.
Handling difficulties and challenges
Increasing self-awareness develops your ability to objectively look at your thoughts and emotions. With this skill, people handle problems that occur calmly and patiently and become more resilient as they know how to shift their focus to solving challenges in a more productive, growth-fueling way.
Relationship and collaboration improvement
Self-aware teams are confident and comfortable sharing their different perspectives and ideas. They also understand each other’s approaches and know how to work best, creating a collaborative and high-performance team environment.
Understand clients and customers better
Knowing yourself is the key to understanding others. This is vital because you’ll be able to understand your clients’ problems, needs, dreams, desires, and how they think; once you succeed there, you can deliver more value and differentiate yourself.
Increasing this kind of mindful behavior positively impacts individuals and teams. What about companies, though? Individual benefits lead to company benefits. A recent study found that benefits also exist at the macro level of an organization:
- Companies with higher rates of return have more self-aware employees and consistently outperform those with a lower percentage.
- Poor-performing companies were 79 percent more likely to have low self-awareness overall.
- Self-aware employees have greater job satisfaction and commitment. Myers-Briggs’ research supports this and found that self-awareness influences retention, as employees are less likely to look for a new job.
Cultivating a self-aware team
There are many ways to develop self-awareness, but a mix of methods will work best. Here are some of the most popular:
One of the best ways to become fully aware is through gaining constructive feedback from a wide network; this includes peers, family, managers, and clients. You can’t become fully aware if you only know yourself internally. Companies need to create a culture of feedback so their team can know how their peers see them.
Managers need to give feedback too. You are part of the wider network! Here’s the catch– Myers-Briggs found that feedback from managers was the least effective because some managers may be less involved with their subordinate’s work than their peers or are too busy to reflect on the person’s performance. Whatever the reason, set aside time to evaluate your employees’ performance and give authentic feedback.
Workplace personality tests are an excellent way for people to uncover their behaviors, strengths, weaknesses, skills, and work styles. They can be extremely helpful for enriching learning and development and improving relationships. Here are some popular free or low-cost personality tests to check out:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- Kolbe Index
- Clifton StrengthsFinder
- Big Five Personality Test
Once everyone has taken the assessment, come together to review the results. Sharing the results will allow everyone to understand themselves as well as one another. Use the insights to modify the ways team members interact, and soon, you’ll find your team can more effectively communicate, handle conflict, build relationships, and engage.
Develop a coaching culture
Working with a leader who also has a coach mentality can be a transformative experience for individuals and teams. Coaches guide people on how to solve problems effectively, achieve goals, and work collaboratively to achieve productivity. The main reason coaching is so powerful is that good coaches ask good questions, and these questions provide space for people to reflect and gain insight into their blind spots and potential behavioral changes.
You’re self-aware. Now what?
Think about a time you took your car to the shop for an unknown issue. Once you found the problem, it drove like a dream. Similarly, increasing self-awareness helps people perform better. By discovering how you operate, you can adjust your behaviors for better results.
Now that you’ve learned how to cultivate self-awareness, it’s time to take action and reap the benefits. Your employees’ garden will grow and will contribute to a work environment that will flourish.
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