When self-awareness in the workplace is mentioned, it usually involves leadership and how management can enhance business performance by being self-aware of the finer details in the business. Self-awareness, however, extends to all employees.
When employees are tuned out, things are missed leading to potentially dangerous situations.
Hearing Unusual Noises: White noise is part of many workplaces. The noise becomes standard so many listen to music and pop their headphones in. This blocks out all noise except the loudest. There are all sorts of noises that could mean imminent danger such as your coworker calling out to you because something is about to fall on you. If you don’t hear them, you’ll be injured and they feel bad.
Noticing Something Out Of Place/Bottlenecks: The workplace can be very autonomous, especially when you do the same task hours on end. Everything should be smooth and it’s not unusual for people to end up daydreaming. But by daydreaming you may miss that bottleneck further up manufacturing line that is causing a hold up which can turn dangerous if not addressed immediately.
Sensing Tension Between Colleagues: Workplace banter is totally normal. There will be some colleagues you know that can take a few joking words from you, and you’ll take as good as you get. Sometimes this goes too far and things get physical in a bad way. You need to be self-aware of this, even your best banter buddy might be having an off day in which case you need to ease back on your joking behavior.
The same goes for relationships between colleagues not involving you. Being conscious of other interactions can allow you to stop conversations getting heated, a colleague not feeling heard or someone just might need a shoulder to cry on. You never know! If a physical fight breaks out, there’s a chance you could have diffused the situations earlier.
Remembering To Do Something Once Off Differently: Every now and again, your boss might need you to do something outside of the regular standard operating procedures. What happens if your boss normally leaves last but has decided to leave early and asked you to lock up. If you forget about this, you have left an entire building exposed. Who knows what may happen.
No, you don’t have to have a fixed morning routine, meditate for 30 minutes every day before yoga and sun salutations. Self-awareness is tough to teach as there is no quantitative score.
The easiest way to increase self-awareness in the workplace is to eliminate distractions. trying to find a balance between letting employees have fun while not being bored and staying on task with stimulation is a never ending quest of improvement.
Next time you are in an office environment, take a look at how many people have headphones on. How self-aware can they be?