The School of Life for Business

The School of Life is a global organisation helping people lead more fulfilled lives. 

We teach 20 emotional skills to help businesses thrive in the modern economy.

 

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Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence, yet studies show that while most of us think we understand ourselves, we often have little idea how others really see us. This alarming gap leads to misunderstandings, poor teamwork, increased conflict, poor decision-making and a lack of direction.

In this two-hour session, we will:

• Consider how our image of ourself may differ from how others see us

• Take stock of our own unconscious attitudes and beliefs

• Learn to recognise some common barriers to self- awareness, including projection, transference and resistance • Learn the technique of “philosophical meditation” to begin to get to grips with the hidden beliefs that lie behind our everyday feelings and behaviour

Definition


Self-awareness is the skill of understanding one’s own feelings and behaviour and being aware of one’s own emotional reactions.


What characterises mastery of this skill?


Highly self-aware employees practice philosophical meditation (or other forms of meta-cognition) on a regular basis by reflecting on their thoughts. They know and take into account that their thoughts are influenced by the unconscious part of the mind. They work to actively recognise, understand, and reshape their inner dialogue. At work, they might demonstrate self-awareness through a very conscious process of decision-making and through admitting vulnerabilities to colleagues, clients, and managers. They often ask for feedback, actively reflect on it and reevaluate the feedback to better understand how others see them.


What characterises a lack of this skill?


A lack of self-awareness can be observed in employees who tend to have a very different image of themselves than others have of them - who do not have the ability to recognise this or the curiosity to find out about it. They mostly avoid asking for the opinion of others and their response to honest and constructive feedback tends to be overly resistant. They struggle to accept that others might disagree on their version of reality. At work this often leads to misunderstandings between two parties of how a job should be done, slower learning rates or promotions, conflicts that are caused by the ever same behaviour. Another consequence might be dissatisfaction and stress in subordinates who must to compensate for a manager’s lack of self-awareness. In addition, employees who lack self-awareness do not show awareness of the ways that they might be lacking in objectivity or need to correct their perception of important situations at work.

Testimonial

‘I learned how often we project our inner self, thoughts worries and others and certain situations’

‘It helped me to realise that your reality is not the reality of everyone around you’

‘It emphasised how I can re-set my internal voices to something more mature’