Emotional intelligence is the level of ability to understand other individuals, their motivations, what makes them tick, and, perhaps most importantly, how to work well with them (Akers & Porter, 2007). Of the five different characteristics that work to make up the totality of the concept of emotional intelligence, perhaps the most important of these is self-awareness, the ability of the individual to be conscious of what they know while still being aware of what they still have to learn; it is the process of being knowledgeable about what is known while being equally conscious of what is not yet known by the individual, their limitations to their knowledge bases (Musselwhite, 2007).
A person with strong self-awareness will demonstrate certain behaviors within the context of leading and managing groups, behaviors such as a willingness to accept additional help when it is needed, the willingness to obtain outside assistance, and even the ability to accept recommendations, criticism and advice (LaBier, 2013). If an individual is secure in their knowledge, knowing precisely that which they do not know, i.e. knowing their limitations, then the leader will not experience any issue in gaining additional assistance to fill in those gaps (LaBier, 2013). If the individual, on the other hand, does not have a high level of self-awareness, they will see the outside help as “remedial” or will resent the help that is offered, dismissing it in spite of its clear beneficence to the situation (LaBier, 2013).
Self-awareness is a necessary skill in any leader, as it allows them to be the most effective leader for not only those who are underneath them, or to those they are responsible for, but it allows them to be the best possible leader for their given organization as well, ensuring the best possible outcomes, as is pertinent for a leader to do.
- Akers, M., & Porter, G. (2007). What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?. Psych Central.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-intelligence-eq/0001037
- LaBier, D. (2013). Why Business Leaders Need To Build Greater Self-Awareness. Psychologytoday.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-resilience/201308/why-business-leaders-need-build-greater-self-awareness
- Musselwhite, C. (2007). Self Awareness and the Effective Leader. Inc.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014, from http://www.inc.com/resources/leadership/articles/20071001/musselwhite.html