Why is self awareness important?

As a business leader you are often told to have emotional intelligence.

But what does it mean to have emotional intelligence or to be emotionally intelligent?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but emotional intelligence comes from a place of self-reflection – making the time to asking ourselves who we are, what we are feeling, and why we are feeling that way.

If I, as a business leader, am reacting emotionally to something, I can easily scare away qualified and exceptional people.

Instead of reacting, I could practice taking the time to ask “Where is this feeling coming from?” “What is it that’s in me that’s causing the way I’m reacting? Could a choose a different response, instead of reacting?

As a business leader, am I willing to make the time to ask these questions, honestly, of myself?

And if I find, through asking those questions, that I’m beating myself up for something that I did or didn’t know, or did or didn’t do, in the past, what am I doing about that today? What am I doing about the way that I talk to myself as a leader?

Do I take the time to have compassion for myself? Do I take a step back to look at me, and to deal with myself in an emotionally intelligent way?

It is when we come to have compassion for ourselves that compassion for other people becomes much easier. Compassion for others is one of the strongest qualities found among all leaders. Think of any truly great leader you’ve heard of throughout history, and you would very likely list compassion as one of their strong characteristics (if you really took the time to study them).

Being placed into positions of leadership comes naturally for those who are truly compassionate in a way that lets others feel connected to them. However, true and authentic connection with others comes from being connected with ourselves… working on the person inside and understanding who that person is.

Self awareness leads to emotional intelligence because by taking the time to look within, we realize that everyone needs to be seen, to be heard, to be recognized, and to be cared for. And doing for others starts by doing it for ourselves. It’s an inside out, not an outside in, journey.

For those of you who looking to increase your impact as a leader, begin by looking inside, listening to your own stories, and having compassion for yourself.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister