Self-awareness and how to get it: The key to flourishing

Quiet quitting, the Great Resignation, Tech Shame, Proximity Bias, Employee Experience…these human resource buzzwords are everywhere! What can an engaged executive do about these and other human talent conundrums? Fight, flight, or freeze…there must be another way. At Humanidei, we suggest another F-word: flourish. We encourage you to use the right combination of fight, flight, and freeze to create a flourishing organization by developing yourself and your culture.

Harvard-trained neuroscientist, Juliette Han, also a faculty member at Columbia Business School and an academic advisor at Harvard Medical School, has isolated an unusual skill that provides successful people a competitive edge in the workplace: Self-awareness. She says that people often mistakenly believe that self-awareness is “all about understanding your feelings and flaws.” Her research, combined with other researchers arriving at the same conclusions, highlights that being self-aware means reflecting on your strengths and aligning strengths with goals. Other research shows that developing self-awareness helps people to be more creative, leads to sound decision making, strengthens communication, and builds stronger interpersonal relationships. Han calls it “the most underrated skill” that successful people use to advance their careers.

Dr. Han believes that “You can have all the technical skills and charisma in the world, but if you’re completely oblivious of yourself, how you come across and interact in the world, it’s a lot harder to build strong relationships, interact with your boss and co-workers and deepen the friendships you need to truly succeed.”

Another interesting data point from Harvard, Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford indicates that 85% of career success is due to well-developed soft skills; hard skills account for only 15% of career success. (Blinklist 2022) It’s not to say that hard skills are unimportant for success, most people can learn many tasks easily. In fact, in this time of AI, the Harvard Business Review said, “As the impact of AI and disruptive technology grows, candidates who can perform tasks that machines cannot are becoming more valuable.”Ironically, most US employers spent a whopping 72% of their training dollars on hard skills and only 28% on soft skills. (Guillem Recolons 2022) A bit of a disconnect…

Soft skills combine social and interpersonal skills, character traits, and professional attitudes to build the discipline needed for adaptability, collaboration, critical thinking, leadership, problem solving, professional communication, teamwork, time management, and work ethic (this is not an exhaustive list).

Executive coaching is one of the most effective ways to build self-awareness and identify areas for soft skill improvement. Developing an executive’s self-awareness is the first step in building a strong, sustainable corporate culture. At the same time, one of the first steps of self-awareness is to understand that an organization’s culture is not fully the C-suite’s responsibility. Leadership sets the tone and has enormous impact on the organizational culture; however, it is not a single-person job.

Peter Drucker, often described as “the father of modern management,” is quoted as saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Just as Dr. Han wasn’t suggesting that hard skills aren’t important, Drucker wasn’t suggesting that strategy is unimportant; he was merely putting the emphasis on people not process. If we believe that Mr. Drucker was correct, why do we still make many decisions based on process rather than people?

There is a strong business case for building self-aware executives committed to developing a strong culture. To do that, it’s critical that leadership is willing to invest in themselves and their people. To that end, Humanidei offers extensive executive coaching and coaching circles. These experiences will provide executives with both self-awareness and innovative ideas for strengthening corporate cultures.

“Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right.” – Peter Drucker

Let’s do the “right thing” by working together to build communities of caring executives in the credit union space. Together we can flourish!

Contact us to learn more!


Contact the author: Humanidei

Contact the author: Humanidei

Tracie Kenyon

Tracie Kenyon

Tracie delights in helping people find their true potential and she’s passionate about credit unions. Her 38-year career has spanned four states, four credit unions, and two leagues; she ... Web: Details