Self-Awareness Provides a Competitive Edge in the Workplace

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Obtaining a college degree may improve your competitive edge in the workplace, but research also suggests that something else can play a key factor in your success at work: self-awareness.

According to Harvard Business Review, self-awareness is the skill of being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and values from moment to moment. It is often viewed as the starting point of leadership. To have influence over those that follow you, experts say that you must first understand your own emotions. Having control over your emotions and understanding how they might influence others appears to be a trending topic in organizations. One example is Richard Branson, the well-known CEO of Virgin Group, who regularly demonstrates his self-awareness skills by harnessing his positive energy to motivate his employees. Virgin’s digital presence shows how he likes to have fun with his followers and acknowledges how his own emotions shift performance.

Harvard Business Review ties the leadership skill of high self-awareness to other important skills like authenticity and integrity. Research suggests that practicing mindfulness can help improve your level of self-awareness. Potential Project recommends the practices of breathing exercises, muscle-relaxation techniques, and patience to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness also helps you to better monitor the behavior, reactions, and emotions of the people you lead. As Millennials continue to flood the workforce, the issue of self-awareness becomes increasingly important. If older generations can pass down this knowledge to younger generations, the workforce can hope for a brighter future filled with empowering leaders.