Love your Self-awareness


It is no secret that I enjoy discussions of self-awareness, relationships and psychological type. I became a student of the Myers-Briggs and a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in 2013 and while I don’t use it directly in my recruiting work, I apply the principals to my professional and personal life every day.

Whether or not you understand the meaning behind the alphabet soup of the 16 MBTI types, it is likely that you have heard of the instrument or one of its many personality assessment cousins. There are thousands of articles referencing the MBTI and its application in the workplace and home.  A recent one sparked my curiosity about self-awareness.

Self-awareness is a lifelong process, and in my opinion, one of the most under-rated virtues. Self-aware people understand the way they are hard-wired and the impact those personality traits have on the world and people around them. They may or may not be willing to change to keep the peace in those relationships but they are, at least, aware of why conflict or harmony exists and are better equipped to manage it.

Last week, my husband and I celebrated our 16th anniversary and as I do every year, I planned to run through a litany of questions to reveal the state of our union. The first question I asked provoked such an immediate and powerful answer that we never got to a second question. I’ll keep his response between us but will share the question because I believe that so much can come from it. The question was:

“What’s it like to be married to me?”

Think about that question for a moment. It sounds simple but it has the power to access feelings that may surprise you.  Wouldn’t you like to be asked that question of your spouse? How about changing it up for your boss, your assistant or your business partner?

“What’s it like to be my {insert relationship}” may feel vulnerable to you but I encourage you to ask it within your inner circle. Learn what it’s like for people to relate to you in the unique way they do. Be appreciative of anyone who takes the time to provide a thoughtful answer. Most importantly, learn from the answer and consider it against the landscape of your own self-awareness.

As a Recruiter who interviews candidates regularly, I am often charged with answering the question that is never asked: “What’s it like to interview me?” or “what impression am I making on you?”. Most of my candidates appreciate the unsolicited feedback and adjust accordingly in follow-up interviews with my clients.

Providing unsolicited feedback to my clients, many of whom are executives, can be tricky. A self-aware hiring manager who understands what it’s like to work for that company and what it’s like to be his/her subordinate will improve the likelihood of a successful placement.  

Chris Harvey, a Los Angeles-based Psychotherapist adds “self-awareness is just as important in the workplace as it is in one’s personal life.” Among other things, Chris treats individuals for work-related stress and shares “chief among the complaints are of managers who fail to offer validation and constructive feedback to their employees.”

The onus is on all of us to ask questions, listen to feedback and consider ourselves a work in progress. So tell me, what’s it like to read this article? I genuinely welcome your honest feedback.