Emotional self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your emotions and how they impact your behavior. It is different from cognitive self-awareness, which focuses on your thoughts and ideas rather than your feelings. Emotional self-awareness gives you the ability to see how you feel and why you feel that way, as well as see how your feelings help or hinder what you do.
According to research from Cornell University, a high level of Emotional Self-Awareness predicts your overall success at work. Research done by Korn Ferry Hay Group echoes this research, finding that 92% of leaders with strength in Emotional Self-Awareness had high energy and high performing teams. Conversely, lack of emotional self-awareness gets in the way of empathy - sensing the emotions of others. Leaders with low self-awareness tended to create negative climates at work. After all, it’s hard to maintain a positive outlook or influence others if you don’t know how you feel.
A helpful tool to build emotional self-awareness skills is to do a quick personal scan as follows. Below are a few prompts to start the process; please select one:
How am I feeling right now?
How am I feeling about a specific change?
How am I feeling about a specific person?
How am I feeling about a specific project?
Being specific is important. In the face of an event, it is easy to expand your emotional attribution beyond the specific situation. You can us this practice of being specific in almost any professional or personal situation, and it’s a tool you can revisit over and over as your situations change and evolve.