Fixation on Histology

Are you self aware?


Self-awareness is a management buzzword that we hear all the time.  But what does it really mean to be self-aware?  According to the Harvard Business Review and researcher Tasha Eurich there are two forms of self-awareness.  The first is internal self-awareness.  Internal self-awareness is how we perceive ourselves in relation to our values, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and environment. (Eurich, 2018).  The second is external self-awareness, which basically means how others view you in relation to those same factors. 

Is Kelly Self-Aware?

Kelly is a lab manager who has 10 employees (lucky Kelly).  She is a strong believer in work-life balance and is often talking to her staff about using vacation hours and leaving on time.  This is an important value to Kelly, internally – and therefore she makes a point to articulate it frequently.  Kelly, however is always at work.  She is the first one in, and usually the last to leave.  She will send emails late a night when she is at home (because Kelly can’t sleep with unresolved tasks hanging over her head).  Kelly also frets and doesn’t understand why her staff won’t take their vacation or why they work late.  Is Kelly self-aware?

In the example above, we can see that Kelly is internally self-aware of the importance for people to have work-life balance, but the way her staff view her actions clouds her external self-awareness.  Kelly likes working, so what can she do differently to be a better leader so that others in her lab feel greater job satisfaction?  Answering this question is self-awareness and would increase Kelly skills as a leader. 

Can self awareness be learned?

Sharon Kneebone, Executive Director of NSH, is a frequent speaker on leadership topics.  She believes that “the ability to assess personal conflict styles and preferences is self-awareness and learned skill.”  She utilizes assessment tools like DISC and scenario based learning to help participants better perceive their own strength, values, and areas of improvement. 

NSH’s Emerging Leaders Course offers new managers and management candidates, skills and techniques to become a more impactful leader.  Read more about the course here.


Harvard Business Review, What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It)