13 Questions to Increase Your Self-Awareness

matt consulting

Often, when I’m giving a talk at a conference or working with a team, the issue of self-awareness comes up. It’s something that’s central to servant leadership and foundational to so many other critical leadership competencies. But it can also seem a bit elusive, and so sometimes, someone will say something like this to me:

“I’m on board and want to get better at self-awareness, but how do I do it?”

The answer to this question will vary from person to person, and so I’d always encourage you to kind of think about what might work best for you; but as many of you know by now, I’m a big fan of using questions to promote thinking, learning, and growth. That extends to my own thinking, learning, and growth too.

With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to provide the sorts of questions I chew through during my times of mindfulness and reflection. Depending on the day I’ve had and the things I’ve struggled with, I might spend more time really doing a deep dive on one or two of these; while other days I’ll go through all of them. Feel free, of course, to take or leave any of these. My suggestion would be to just use these as a jumping off point for your own self-awareness exercise. Then you can figure out what works for you and go from there.

Self-awareness doesn't happen on accident. You need to cultivate it intentionally. #leadership Click To Tweet

Leadership Self-Awareness Questions

1. Did I demonstrate vulnerability today? If not, why not? What is the root cause of my reluctance to do so?

If you weren't vulnerable today, what's the root cause of your reluctance? #leadership Click To Tweet

2. When I was wrong today, did I admit it and take full responsibility? If not, why not? What is the root cause of my reluctance to do so?

Ask yourself: 'When I was wrong today, did I take full responsibility? If not, why not?' #leadership Click To Tweet

3. If I wasn’t around and others knew I would never find out what they said, would others say I demonstrated humility?

If they knew you'd never find out their answer, would your team say you were humble? #leadership Click To Tweet

4. How well did I listen? Was I merely using “active listening,” or was I listening in deeper, more meaningful ways?

5. How well did I empathize? Was I more focused on my own feelings or the feelings of others?

6. Did I help anyone who was hurting?

Part of #leadership is taking time to help the hurting. #companyculture #hr Click To Tweet

7. What evidence is there that I was self-aware today?

8. If I needed to be persuasive today, was my persuasion rooted in logic, the common good, and done with humility?

9. Did I intentionally step out of the day-to-day craziness and conceptualize potential strategies to move the team forward? Did I look down the road to anticipate obstacles to the vision, the future of my team, and the organization?

10. Did I listen to my intuition and allow past experiences and present situations to inform foresight into a variety of possible future outcomes?

11. Was my leadership today reflective of someone who views his role as one of a steward rather than one who views the team and organization as something to be used for my benefit?

12. Was my commitment to the growth of people evident today? Could others tell my interest in their growth and development extended beyond just the tangible ways they could contribute to organizational ends?

13. How did I contribute to the growth of community within my team and/or the organization?

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the questions someone could use, but it’s where I start. I’d love to hear what others use (whether it’s in the form of questions or some other method), so feel free to leave them in the comments below!