Awareness is a key enabler of good leadership.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate – Carl Jung.
Awareness, in short, is consciousness of your thoughts, emotions, assumptions and biases. It allows you to see truly what’s going on around you in your environment. This clarity and understanding ensures you are not subliminally driven by your subjective view of the world. Your actions and decisions are choices rather than reactions. Awareness is at the root of happier life as you drop the perspectives, needs, desires and attachments that create unhappiness and cause suffering. As a leader you could not have a more important competence.
Imagine making decisions with only part of the information about what’s going on inside you and around you.
Awareness is also key to emotional intelligence as it impacts its four elements; self-awareness, self-management, relationship management and social awareness. Emotional intelligence is widely accepted as a competency set that improves performance and success in whatever you choose to do. Good leaders have a high level of awareness, and this allows them to perform at the highest levels even under pressure, in a way that nothing else can. Awareness is, too, a key component of our ability to be our authentic self. Becoming aware, authentic and emotionally intelligent improves the performance of yourself, your team and your organisation.
Most people, if you ask them, think they are aware. “Of course I am.” The reality of the situation is more like the fish in water analogy – The fish has established a view of what’s normal and accepted it, so it’s not really aware it’s swimming in water.
Most of us are aware of some things and as we get older, we do develop more awareness naturally. However, the sort of self-understanding that can undermine unwelcome reactions, behaviours and suffering before they happen is a whole new level of awareness.
Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day – Bertrand Russell
Most of us are driven by assumptions, powered, or disempowered by our relationship with emotions and subject to biases that bring subjectivity to every reality. this can impact our ability to act with fairness and balance for example in understanding diversity and how stereotypes impact out thinking. We also tend to have a primary focus of attention which impacts the way we interact with the world.
When one is aware it can be termed “awake” as opposed to “asleep”.
Most of us are asleep and we don’t know it.
Part of this content is adapted from the book Lead From You – available here.
Podcast discussing this topic here.