Internal Versus External Self-Awareness

Jacob Morgan
3 min readAug 21, 2021

Aside from the hard technical skills leaders need to succeed, future leaders also need softer skills, including emotional intelligence. One of the biggest aspects of emotional intelligence is self-awareness.

Being self-aware means being in tune with your emotions, feelings, state of mind, motives, and desires.

Dr. Tasha Eurich, self-awareness expert and best-selling author of Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think, discovered that 95% of people think they are self-aware, but only about 15% of people actually are.

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Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don’t define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

http://bit.ly/defineleadership

Clearly, there’s a disconnect between how aware we think we are of our emotions and the truth.

Dr. Eurich says there are two types of self-awareness: internal and external.

Internal self-awareness is how we see our own values, thoughts, and emotions. To practice this, move away from asking what. Instead of asking “Why did I say that to a team member?”, ask “What made me say that to my team member?” You can’t always rationalize the why, but you can always explain the what.

External self-awareness is how we are seen by others. To practice this, create an open and safe environment where team members and peers can be honest with you. Encourage critical feedback that ultimately helps you improve.

The goal of self-awareness is to balance internal and external self-awareness, or to have how you see yourself be the same as how you are seen by others. When the two sides match, you can target areas for improvement and change how you interact with yourself and with others.

Being able to master both sides of self-awareness is crucial for future leaders as they develop emotional intelligence.

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don’t define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

http://bit.ly/defineleadership

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Jacob Morgan

4x Best-Selling Author, Speaker, & Futurist. Founder of FutureOfWorkUniversity.com. Exploring Leadership, Employee Experience, & The Future of Work