Self- Awareness for Emerging Leaders

People look up to leaders who are resilient, strong, and trustworthy.  Leaders are needed to change organizations and to produce results. In addition, they are needed to motivate team members and expand their strengths. For leaders to produce results and create motivated teams, it is key they have high levels of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the key that helps us manage during uncertain times. Emotional intelligence is defined as

the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions (emotional self-awareness), as well as the emotions of others.

People with a high level of emotional intelligence know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean and how their emotions impact others in their personal life and at work. According to Daniel Goleman, there are 5 key elements to emotional intelligence.

  • self-awareness
  • self-regulation
  • motivation
  • empathy
  • social skills

In this article, we will focus on emotional self-awareness and self-regulation.

Emotional self-awareness

Emotional self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Emerging leaders can use this competency to recognize

  • their feelings
  • understand how their feelings are impacting their attitude and performance
  • how their behavior (as a result of their feelings) are impacting others

Let’s review 3 steps to help you increase your emotional self-awareness.

  • The first step is to identify your feelings. What is my current emotional state? Describe the circumstance that triggered the feeling (who, what, when, why and where)?  Identify how your body is reacting (e.g., tone, headache, closed arms)? Describe your self-talk?

If you are having problems identifying your emotions, check out the Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. This wheel of emotion will help you identify your emotion.   As you identify your emotions, describe them aloud or write them down. For example, you may be feeling sadness or fear because you have concerns that your team does not have a clear direction on where to go from here.  

  • Observe how this feel. Allow yourself to feel this way without judgement or criticizing yourself.
  • Accept yourself just as you are in this moment.
    • accept your imperfections and mistakes
    • focus on your strengths and positive qualities
    • get the facts right – focus on what you can control now
    • disregard what others may think of your decisions


Lastly, it is time to act (self-regulation). Self -regulation is the ability to choose how we think, feel, and the actions we take. Here are some suggestions to help you improve your ability to self-regulate.

  • practice deep breathing, mindfulness activities and yoga regularly to remain calm (review our article on mindfulness principles to relax your mind)
  • know your values and purpose – review our article on identifying your purpose
  • connect with others – reach out to family, friends or co-workers who can assist you during this time; let them know how you feel
  • start a journal to record your thoughts and feelings each day
  • do not judge or evaluate yourself   
  • think about solutions to challenges that you have control over
  • talk to someone you trust
  • seek professional help if you feel you cannot regulate your emotions along

Moreover, emotional intelligence is not a technical skill it is a soft skill. It helps emerging leaders successfully manage stress, provide effective feedback, and communicate with others.

If you need additional help increasing your leadership skills, check out our training and coaching services that help individuals, groups and teams lead from the inside out.

For any additional questions, call or text us at 404-954-0211 I Email us at [email protected]