Emotional Self-Awareness

Emotional self-awareness is all about understanding and knowing oneself. Meaning, how well one can identify with the emotions you feel and the underlying causes for them. It includes being able to understand how one’s emotions impact on your thoughts and actions and how it all impacts on oneself and other people.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller

High Range vs Low Range Emotional Self-Awareness

People who have higher emotional self-awareness tend to be more in tune with their own emotions. They can more easily recognise the subtle differences and changes between their emotions and the supposed “reasons” for those changes.

Someone who is more self-aware, will tend to accept their emotions for what they are. Knowing that they originate within oneself, rather than being “made to feel” a certain way by other’s or any external factors. They may have more constructive and appropriate ways of dealing with and expressing their emotions in different scenarios. They are also often better able to “read” other people so that they are better able to understand where they are coming from. They may also often be better “read” by other’s as well, which means people understand them and where they are in the that moment. This can be beneficial in working towards developing deeper, more constructive relationships in both personal and career situations.

Emotional Self-Awareness

On the contrary, someone who has a lower emotional self-awareness, is more likely to struggle to identify and express their emotions. Having difficulty in understanding why they feel as they do. This can sometimes lead to externalising and projecting their emotions on events or other people, rather than owning and dealing with their emotions more appropriately. Example, someone who is feeling sad or angry, could blame something outside of themselves for their feelings. They may even deny their emotions and only look for external factors. They may struggle to take any personal responsibility for their emotions and the impact of their reactions and attitude to difficult situations.

They may also struggle to read people and situations appropriately. Not understanding why others react to them in the way that they do. Thus, they may not know how to manage difficulties that arise within relationships in a constructive way. Leaving both parties at a loss.

Impact in the workplace

Naturally, different people will fall at different levels of the emotional self-awareness scale. This is true for all the emotional intelligence subscales and any personality type indicators, etc. No two teams will be identical in this respect, which creates unique dynamics in each team. Understanding how these dynamics could play out and affect both the team and organisation can allow for better team dynamics, management, and overall results. Please remember that higher self-awareness in and of itself is not always better.

Team example

Remember that what we say and how we say it can be totally different things. Then they way someone interprets that dialogue, based on the emotional state they are in, can further complicate things. (There is a great article to explain the communication cycle.)

It is beneficial for team members to understand and be aware of their own emotions and how it may impact on other members of the team. How what they say can be interpreted by someone else and how that might affect the tone of a conversation. Understanding that choosing to respond more appropriately to a mistake, can lead to a better outcome than reacting in anger and shouting. Understanding that why a team member might not be at 100% because a family member just passed away. Which does not make them lazy or bad, but rather they are just dealing with some personal stuff. Rather to be more compassionate in the moment, can lead to greater comradery and team results down the line.

Team members with lower self-awareness, may struggle to express their thoughts and feelings to others effectively. Leading to frustration for both parties. Completing tasks will take longer and be more difficult when trying to deal with internal conflict.

It is possible that someone with lower self-awareness may struggle to develop good workplace relationships. E.g., not always understanding their own emotions, they may overshare personal issues, or express them inappropriately, which could potentially alienate other team members.

It should go without saying, but when teams can understand and work together more effectively, it ultimately leads to greater results for the organisation.

“They may forget what you said – but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Carl W. Buehner

Leadership example

It would be more advantages for a leader to have a higher level of emotional self-awareness. Such leaders can understand team dynamics and individual differences. Adjusting their style to what will bring the best out in their team. Example, using different motivation techniques depending on the individual team members. They know that different people in their team respond differently to different motivators, and as such, do not just do what comes naturally to the leader. Example, if the leader is motivated by money and they want to motivate someone who is more motivated by social contribution. Offering them more money to do something that is not in line with their values, will not motivate them and will not make the team member happy in the long run.

However, having a higher level of emotional self-awareness does not guarantee leadership success. Example, a leader with high emotional self-awareness and low emotional expression, may not be able to express how they feel verbally. So, they rather shout at staff, rather than speak more appropriately. We can imagine that the leader who is more likely to succeed, is the one who stays in control and deals more effectively with their emotions in challenging situations. Approaching difficult situations calmly, rather than one who is always shouting when they are under stress.

On the other hand, a leader with high emotional self-awareness with high empathy, might over-empathise with staff members, which could hinder them from giving constructive feedback or facing challenging situations. Team members might respond by taking advantage. They may deliver a lower standard of work as they feel that they can ‘get away’ with it, with their boss.

Good leadership is a balance between having a supportive approach while still being able to give appropriate feedback and direction.

Improving Self-Awareness In The Workplace

As we have seen, developing emotional self-awareness can go a long way to increase results in both personal life and career. Not to mention for the organisations that invest in their staff members emotional intelligence.

If you feel that this is an area that you or someone you know may want to work on, then help is at hand.
On completion of the emotional intelligence assessment, we will work together to understand where you may sit on each of the subscales of EI. We can then work with you to increase the specific areas that you feel will have the most immediate and positive impact in your life.
The emotional intelligence assessment is done online and followed up with a face-to-face coaching session, which can be done via Zoom or in person.
Working on one’s EI can lead to significant positive results in all areas of life. Not only making one over all happier, but more effective and approachable
It all starts with a simple yet immensely powerful online assessment.
To find out more about how your organization can benefit, contact us today for a no-obligation conversation.