Personality Matters - OPP's blog

Self awareness: why is it important?

Posted 28 Sep 2017 by Helen Rayner, Lead Consultant, OPP

In the first of our self-awareness series, we’ll share how people benefited from improved self-awareness and how they got there. 

Who did we speak to? 

The research took place between April and June 2017, and was completed by 937 people. 71% of respondents were female, 27% male, 2% transgender/preferred not to disclose, and the age range was 14 to 90 years with a mean age of 45. Respondents knew their reported MBTI best-fit type, so we might expect a higher level of awareness than across the broader population.

What did we ask?

Our survey included questions such as 

  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of being self-aware?
  • Where has self-awareness been most useful?
  • How has MBTI knowledge informed everyday behaviours? 

But first, we asked respondents for their views on self-awareness generally. 

What did people say about self-awareness?

From our questionnaire, 87% of respondents said it was important for them to monitor their mental state. 78% enjoyed exploring their inner self, while 98% said that it was important to understand why people behave the way they do.

 

What are the advantages of self-awareness?

The top advantage from our respondents was understanding reactions and motivation. The next three – management of self/others/choices, adapting behaviours and improving relationships – are perhaps more obviously connected with what we do every day in the workplace. 

It’s worth noting that self-awareness can help people to avoid unpleasant/negative experiences or mistakes. Introverts were more likely than Extraverts to use self-awareness to avoid unpleasant situations.  And if we look at adapting behaviours – again, crucial for working with different types of people – Sensing types were most likely to flex and adapt their behaviour, according to the situation. But more about MBTI personality type and self-awareness in our next blog. 

As a counterpoint, the biggest reported disadvantage of self-awareness was over-thinking or over-analysing

As well as exploring benefits to individuals, we also asked what people perceived as the benefits to others. Many of the responses included comments about being a ‘better person’ and increased ‘productivity’.

How does self-awareness benefit businesses and organisations?

Since becoming aware of their MBTI type (ie since becoming more self-aware), our respondents said they:

  • Make better decisions (61% of respondents said this)
  • Are more confident leaders (64%)
  • Feel more confident in their contributions at work (67%)
  • Capitalise on their strengths more (85%) 

They also said that self-awareness had been most helpful in the following areas:

  • Dealing with change
  • Managing/leading others
  • Coping with stress
  • Working with others in a team 

These findings indicate a strong potential link between self-awareness and workplace performance. 

What’s the best way to develop self-awareness?

We asked respondents which methods they used to improve their self-awareness, and which ones worked best. 

Feedback from peers came out top, with 86% rating it as effective/very effective. Completing a personality questionnaire was the next most effective (78% said it was effective or very effective), followed by feedback from family (63%). 

Summary

These top-level findings from the research show that increased self-awareness has a favourable impact on key work-related areas, such as decision-making, leadership, confidence and capitalising on strengths. We’ll look more closely at the business implications for self-awareness in a future blog post, but the next blog will focus on the individual – we explore self-awareness and MBTI type in more detail.  

 

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