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Toxic Work Culture Series: Remedy-Self-Aware=Self-Correct

Another week to explore the many sides of a Toxic workplace. This week, CPR explores additional attributes of a Toxic leader. Today, CPR's lens dissects the concept of self-awareness. First, it is essential to understand the definition of self-awareness. Oxford defines self-awareness as the conscious knowledge of one's character, feelings, motives, and desires. Self-awareness is a beautiful attribute to hone and develop whether you are in a leadership position. Studies illustrate that self-awareness improves communication, confidence, and job performance (Sutton et al., 2015), all attributes required for effective leadership. Additional proven attributes of self-awareness include:

  • More proactive, boost our acceptance, and encourage positive self-development (Sutton, 2016)

  • See things from the perspective of others, practice self-control, work creatively and productively, and experience pride in ourselves and our work as well as general self-esteem (Silvia & O’Brien, 2004)

  • Better decision-making (Ridley, Schutz, Glanz, & Weinstein, 1992)

For leaders, self-awareness may also signify how we show up, and do we do so in a way that enables others to show up? Claire Bremmer (2020) from Myers Briggs offered tips for building self-awareness:

  • Ask for feedback from those who care and can be critical and honest.

  • Seek out mentorship and support from different people relating to areas where you want to grow

  • Take context into account and notice patterns.

  • Reflect (often!) by asking what rather than why questions

  • Reframe “I can’t do that” to “I can’t do that yet.”

  • Remember that self-awareness is not a finite attribute but an ongoing process.

On the flip side, research (Schumer, 2019) points to a leader's lack of self-awareness as the main culprit associated with organizational distress. This leader is unaware of their character, feelings, motives, and desires, contributing to organizational toxicity. When you lack self-awareness, self-reflection and introspection no longer exist. Without self-reflection, leaders are unaware of their surroundings; they operate with inflated egos, which can be costly. Typically, the leader does not view the world objectively, resulting in error. A leader who is not self-aware is likely to cultivate a work environment that is not conducive to constructing high-performance teams and promoting a more cohesive work environment. As a leader, electing self-awareness=self-correct is a move that is guaranteed to create an organizational shift paving the way towards improvement.

For leadership coaching, reach out to CPR LLC via email at

Warm Regards,


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