image Why is Self-Awareness Important as a Leader? image Is Empathy in the Workplace Important?

7 Characteristics of a Self-Aware Leader

Self Aware Leaders

It is virtually impossible to be an effective leader without a substantial level of self-awareness. Self-aware leaders have the ability to adjust their approach and style to different situations, because they have the ability to see their impact on others, for better and for worse. Self-awareness at work can be a difficult skill to master, but it is well worth the effort. Here are seven leadership characteristics that start with self-awareness:

Acting for the Benefit of Everyone

Self-aware leaders are able to look beyond their own interests and see how other people are affected by their actions. This allows leaders to act not just in their best interest but the best interest of the team.


The ability to stay focused on the task at hand begins with self-awareness. Focusing on the goal at hand can be incredibly difficult when other projects are looming, personalities are clashing, or outside stressors are pulling focus. A self-aware leader is able to recognize their triggers and adjust their environment as needed to ensure that what needs to get done gets done.


Self-aware leadership is characterized by emotional intelligence. Being self-aware doesn’t mean that you can always make yourself happy, but it does mean that you’re better equipped to recognize negative emotions and deal with them in a healthy way, which helps everyone around you better tap into their own optimism and motivation.

Leading with Strengths

A self-aware leader knows what they do best, and therefore creates more opportunities for themselves to lead with their strengths. Likewise, a self-aware leader knows their limitations, which helps them focus on building vulnerabilities into strengths and also gives them the humility to step aside and let others shine when appropriate.

Clear Communication

Self-awareness is a vital aspect of understanding how your words and actions affect others. It is impossible to be an effective communicator – both in front of large crowds and in one-on-one conversations – without a level of self-awareness.


Self-aware leaders are also usually great conflict mediators, because they are able to step outside of their own perspective and see problems from other people’s perspectives. This can apply to conflicts within teams, within the company at large, and with individual employees.


Self-aware people tend to have more empathy, which allows for a kinder and more nurturing work environment. Self-aware people know what makes them feel appreciated and valued, and they are able to pass those feelings onto others.

About Joy Ruhmann
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