I recently have come across several websites articulating the importance of self-awareness in individuals and particularly as it relates to individuals that are leaders of industry. Simply defined, a self-aware individual is one that has the ability of true introspection especially on an emotional level. The presence and nurturing of this quality in individuals results in the development of “emotional intelligence” that transcends and often trumps the normal way we define intelligence – namely IQ (intelligence quotient). Individuals that are self-aware can continuously and honestly challenge their personal norms and world views to continuously adjust to our changing world while providing empathy as a key component to our connections in day-to-day life.
I have yet to see a negative connotation of self-awareness as an important tenet for individuals that seek to provide leadership and guidance within an organizational or familial structure. Which begs the question – can organizations themselves be self-aware? And if so, why does it matter? I believe the answer to the first question to be a resounding “YES!” Organizations that can transcend the individual self-awareness of participants into an organizational level can be formidable in the marketplace. So why does it matter? Here are some ways a self-aware organization can contribute:
- Provide unusually excellent customer service by being empathetic towards clients and partners
- Provide unusually excellent product user interfaces by considering functional and emotional needs of end users
- Provide great opportunity for employees to grow professionally and personally by positively impacting their potential sphere of influence
- Provide not for profit benefit to our communities by listening and reacting appropriately to the greatest needs
The ever evolving 21st century service/technology oriented marketplace warrants a closer look at how organizational self-awareness can be a tremendous force for good for this century and beyond. As leaders consider the upcoming preponderance of millennials in the workforce it is our duty and obligation to look at ways of motivating, encouraging and equipping them for a changing and exciting world.