Podcast: Why Self-Awareness Makes You a Better Leader?

Leader’s low self-awareness comes with high costs due to personal misunderstandings and organizational difficulties, warns Aalto EE’s Senior Advisor Ben Nothnagel.


Self-awareness means understanding and recognizing how our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts influence our own performance and well-being, as well as their impact on those around us.

Self-awareness is a two-way route: How do I see myself? And how aware I am of how others see me? Self-awareness is all about being aware of the patterns of behaviors and thoughts that limit and benefit you.

But why does it matter in organizations?

High self-awareness is seen as a valuable predictor of effective performance and success as a leader. Nothnagel takes an engineering approach to it: emotions are data sent by our body to our brain. If you are mindful, you’ll interpret that data and make good decisions based on it.

“The low self-aware leader has less information and is, therefore, unable to choose solutions that make people collaborate better, perform better, and implement better or reach goals.”

Self-awareness, self-leadership, self-development... Sounds quite self-centered, doesn’t it?

“If we look at selfishness, I think it is people who are not self-aware because then you exclude others and how you treat them from your choices,” claims Ben Nothnagel.

What do internal and external self-awareness mean, and what are the differences between those? Where to start the journey towards self-awareness? And why are the benefits of high self-awareness not limited solely to succeeding in working life but also extend to other relationships as well? These questions are discussed in the podcast episode.

The guest of the podcast episode is Aalto EE’s Senior Advisor Ben Nothnagel, who teaches in Aalto EE programs such as Aalto MBA and Executive MBA programs. Nothnagel has played a pivotal role in designing the personal development process included in the mentioned programs. The podcast is hosted by journalist Reetta Räty.

Currently reading: Aalto Leaders' Insight: Podcast: Why Self-Awareness Makes You a Better Leader?

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