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The Role and Areas of Self-awareness in Management

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Identifying yourself – from character, desires, feelings, to motivation – is one of the keys to success in choosing a career that suits you. Well, it turns out, recognizing yourself is not only important in the first step of starting a career, but also for future career advancement. Consciousness of character, desires, feelings, and self-motivation is called self-awareness. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and journalist for The New York Times, wrote an article about self-awareness. He gave an example of an employee named Julie who was fired because he could never receive input properly. Every time given constructive input, Julie always turned defensive and responded with various excuses. After being fired, Julie felt angry and felt the reason behind her dismissal was too high a company’s expectations. It is here that Julie does not have self-awareness – she is not unwilling to admit the mistakes that made her fired, instead she is totally unaware that she has a habit of being defensive and inability to accept criticism. By looking into this example case, having self-awareness especially in workplace environment is essential.


Getting to know and realize yourself may have become the oldest topic in teaching in various cultures. In Indonesia Java, for example, there is a saying: “mulat sariro, wani hangroso” (dare to feel and see your own self) (Sogen & Ombudsman, 2018). The meaning of this saying is more or less: before acting it must be thought clearly, not recklessly, so as not to disappoint others, dare to see ourselves with all the shortcomings and always ready to get criticism from anyone and anytime. If you feel capable, then act, but if you cannot, you have to say no.

Self-awareness is come from two words: “self” and “awareness”. According to Cambridge dictionary, “self” is the set of someone’s characteristics, such as ability and personality, that are not physical and make that person unique from other people. (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.) While “awareness” is knowledge that something exists, or understanding of a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience. (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.) When it combined, self-awareness is conscious knowledge of a person about one’s own surrounding information or external events and their internal events.


According to Stephen P. Robbins, Leadership is the ability to influence a group toward achieving goals. While the definition of Leadership according to Richard L. Daft is the ability to influence and lead people to achieving goals. From some of these definitions, it is very clear that leadership is a management function that is closely related to achieving organizational goals.

In general, the notion of leadership and its functions is divided into several points. These several points are maintaining integration and coordination in an organization so that it can run effectively, initiating organizational structures, overcoming conflicts and conflicts that arise, evaluating and re-evaluating, formulating organizational or institutional goals and determining the means and efficient ways to achieve these objectives, and also make changes, revisions, development innovations and improvements in the organization.

Five Areas of Self-Awareness

There are five of the most critical areas of self-awareness that have been found to be key in developing successful management:

Core Self-Evaluation (CSE)

Core self-evaluation is the fundamental evaluation each person has developed about himself or herself. Core self-evaluation is sometimes referred to as overall positive self-regard — or the extent to which people value themselves and feel proficient as individuals. It identifies the general personality orientation that guides behavior. Core self-evaluation is comprised of four components:

  • Self-esteem: The confidence in one’s own abilities and worth.
  • Self-efficacy: The capability and competence to perform a task successfully.
  • Self-control/ locus of control: The capability to control one’s own feelings, emotions, experiences and circumstances.
  • Emotional Stability: The tendency to have a positive outlook and optimistic approach to life.

Emotional Intelligence

In these days, people become more aware of emotional intelligence that it used to, especially in workplace. Emotional intelligence is ability to diagnose, to recognize and to manage one’s own emotions, and ability to recognize, diagnose and understand other people emotions. Emotional intelligence has been identified as among the most important factors in accounting for success in leaders and managers. According to Goleman, in contributing to excellence, emotional intelligence skills are twice as essential as intelligence quality (IQ).


Values define the fundamental standards of an individual about good and bad, worthy and worthless, desirable and undesirable, right and wrong, moral and immoral. Values are divided into two points: personal values, and cultural values.

Personal Values

Personal values are the core of the dynamics of behavior, and play so large a part in unifying personality. According to Rokeach, the total number of values people possess is relatively small and that the values are the same for all individuals, but in different degrees. Everyone values peace, for instance, but some make it a priority greater than others.

Attitudes Toward Change

Attitudes toward change identifies the adaptability of individuals. It includes the extent to which individuals are tolerant of ambiguous, uncertain conditions, and the extent to which they are inclined to accept personal responsibility for their actions under changing conditions.

Learning Style

Learning style is often called as cognitive style. Cognitive style is the manner in which a person gathers and evaluates information he/she receives. Cognitive style identifies individual thought processes, perceptions, and methods for acquiring and storing information. It determines not only what kind of information is received by an individual, but how that individual interprets, judges, and responds to the information. Researchers discovered that individual cognitive style differences influence perception, learning, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, and creativity


In conclusion, Self-Awareness is not intended just for individuals who plan to enter managerial positions or who currently manage organizations. It is meant to help you better manage many aspects of your life and relationships. It is meant to help you actually change your behavior, to improve your competence, and to be savvy in your relationships with different kinds of people. It is intended to improve your social and emotional intelligence. John Holt equating self-awareness to intelligence:

“When we talk about intelligence, we do not mean the ability to get a good score on a certain kind of test or even the ability to do well in school; these are at best only indicators of something larger, deeper, and far more important. By intelligence we mean a style of life, a way of behaving in various situations. The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”


  1. Allport, G. & Vernon, P., 1931, 1960. The Study of Values Manual. Boston: Houghton Mifflin: s.n.
  2. Cambridge Dictionary, n.d. awareness. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 6 2019].
  3. Cambridge Dictionary, n.d. self. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 6 2019].
  4. Rokeach, M., 1973. The Nature of Human Values. s.l.:Free Press.
  5. Sogen, D. D. & Ombudsman, M., 2018. Pahlawan, Mulat Sariro Hangroso Wani. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 2 6 2019].
  6. Whetten, D. A. & Cameron, K. S., 2011. Developing Management Skills. 8th ed. s.l.:Prentice Hall.

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