Originally published by Neil Blumenthal on LinkedIn: Know Yourself

The key to an ideal workplace, in one hyphenated word, is this:  self-awareness.

I'm currently trying to hire for a new position within the company that we've never hired for. The hiring process is new territory for me. Instead of plunging ahead, I force myself to slow down and consider a number of questions: First, how do I ensure that we post the most effective position description? What are traditional profiles within this type of role? What matters most to people who apply for this position? What kind of person will best fit the version of this role that exists at Warby Parker? In other words, I'm doing my best to approach the process with self-awareness-- an awareness of my own inexperience in hiring for this specific role, an awareness of what I need to educate myself on, and an awareness of how candidates may think of Warby Parker.

Self-awareness is a trait--or maybe "practice" is the more accurate way to put it--that everyone can always improve at. It is part emotional intelligence, part perceptiveness, part critical thinking. It means knowing your weaknesses, of course, but it also means knowing your strengths and what motivates you.

These variables often come up when we talk about management, since a big part of managing is knowing how to motivate your direct reports. But it's also a topic you should reframe in relation to yourself. When you're faced with a task that seems tedious or challenging, can you reframe the task to make it interesting or useful or productive? Can you find a way to make its completion an energizing exercise rather than a stultifying one? If you know yourself well enough to do this, you'll find learning opportunities sprouting up every day and from all directions.

The most valuable aspect of self-awareness is that its benefits reach far beyond the individual. The more adept you become at motivating yourself, the more adept you'll be at sensing the factors that motivate others (and putting them to use). Self-aware employees make a self-aware company. And a self-aware company is a dynamic company--not only "dynamic" in the figurative sense, but in the literal sense of changing constantly. A workplace that encourages self-awareness is an environment where the most productive, curious, and innovative people thrive.

Published on: Jul 28, 2016
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