Published On: 27 June 2024

Why is self-awareness so important in the workplace? Let’s take a closer look!

Self-awareness is the ability to recognise and understand your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s a key part of emotional intelligence, because knowing yourself and how you impact others will help you maintain strong relationships, build trust, and improve communication.

According to the insightful blog, self-awareness is no longer just about individual well-being. There is a direct line between self-awareness and its impact in the workplace when it comes to productivity, job satisfaction and the organisation’s bottom line. Because being mindful goes beyond self, it involves understanding the perspective of others, being aware of the team’s collective strengths, and recognising the different mindsets of colleagues.

In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, the importance of self-awareness in the workplace cannot be overstated. This is particularly true in non-governmental organisations (NGOs), where leadership styles often diverge from traditional hierarchical models.

Unique Leadership Dynamics in NGOs:

  1. Promoting Collaborative Leadership: Self-aware leaders can better facilitate open communication and trust. They understand their own biases and limitations and are open to feedback, fostering an environment where team members feel valued and heard. This collaborative approach ensures diverse perspectives are considered, leading to more innovative and inclusive solutions.
  1. Enhancing Self-Management: Self-management, a critical aspect of self-awareness, involves regulating one’s emotions and behaviours, especially in stressful situations. The ability to manage oneself effectively is crucial. Self-aware employees can maintain their composure, make thoughtful decisions, and stay focused on the mission even under pressure. This resilience not only enhances individual performance, but also positively influences the overall team dynamic.
  1. Upholding Integrity: Integrity is at the heart of self-awareness. It involves aligning one’s actions with personal and organisational values. In NGOs, integrity is paramount, as these organisations are often held to high ethical standards by their stakeholders. Self-aware individuals are more likely to act with honesty and transparency, fostering trust and credibility both within the organisation and with external partners. This trust is essential for NGOs, which rely heavily on public and donor support.
  1. Improving Communication Skills: Effective communication is a cornerstone of successful NGOs. Self-aware individuals are better communicators because they understand the impact of their words and actions on others. They can tailor their communication style to different audiences, ensuring clarity and empathy. This skill is vital in NGOs, where conveying the mission, engaging with diverse stakeholders, and advocating for causes require nuanced and impactful communication.

By prioritising self-awareness, a vital organisational asset, we can cultivate a resilient, ethical, and collaborative workforce capable of driving meaningful change in the world. In an environment where every individual’s contribution is vital, self-awareness transforms not only personal growth but also the collective impact of the organisation.

10 Powerful Examples of Self-Awareness at Work:

  1. Adapting to Change.
  2. Recognising Personal Biases.
  3. Taking Ownership of Mistakes.
  4. Being Open to Constructive Feedback.
  5. Maintaining Boundaries.
  6. Listening First Instead of Speaking.
  7. Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses.
  8. Handling Stress in a Healthy Manner.
  9. Communicating Effectively.
  10. Emphatising With Others.

*Source: The Network Movement


Last but not least, we have asked 7 of our THINKers why they believe self-awareness is important in the workplace:



Tshepo Nkosi, Adherence Counsellor, Sekhukhune, Groblersdal
Stress is one of the daily challenges at work, and it affects our mental and physical health. Being self-aware helps us identify what triggers our stress, and this will assist us in knowing how to set boundaries in order to manage our workload well – as well as balancing our work and personal life.

Ayanda Magoso, Finance Manager – Procurement, Hillcrest HQ
Self-awareness in the workplace encourages personal growth and leads to a better contribution to the organisation. It also helps us communicate better with colleagues, and allows us to handle conflict constructively. 




Thomas Molobi, Provincial Data Manager, Centurion
In essence, self-awareness enhances personal effectiveness, promotes a positive workplace culture, and contributes to individual and organisational success. Being self-aware allows individuals to build genuine and meaningful relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.


Mangalani Makhubele, Pharmacist Assistant, Vhembe District

Self-awareness helps us make good decisions and improves our working relationships. It can also assist in building and increasing team spirit.  





Itumeleng Mosoahle, Office & Operations Manager, Sasolburg
Self-awareness helps us identify our areas of strength and weakness. It opens us up to improvement, and allows us to relate with our colleagues in a mindful manner.



Ernest Thamae, Professional Nurse, Mangaung
Self-awareness is all about the realisation of one’s emotions, actions/behaviour, biases, and the ability to therefore remove oneself from a situation (good/bad) and reflect on oneself. It allows one to fully comprehend one’s strengths and weaknesses, therefore encouraging us to choose careers or paths aligned with our values – to further positively contribute to the workplace.



Madimetja Godfrey Chokoe, Finance Officer, Sekhukhune, Groblersdal

Self-awareness is all about understanding your emotions and reactions. This will allow you to manage your responses more effectively, leading to healthier and more productive interactions with colleagues. Being self-aware helps recognise the signs of stress and burnout, and you can then take proactive steps to manage it.