Raising self-awareness: What works?

Posted 21 November 2017 by
Helen Rayner, Lead Consultant, OPP

In our first blog post, we discussed how respondents developed their self-awareness. Seeing as we also asked respondents what their MBTI best-fit type was, we explored whether people with different type preferences used the same or different methods to develop their self-awareness. But did different types find some methods more effective for developing self-awareness? 


Those with preferences for Extraversion were more likely to mention feedback from clients, their wider network, subordinates and 360 degree tools as particular ways they have developed their self-awareness. We know that those with preferences for Extraversion are orientated to the world around them, including other people. What is interesting here, and links to Extraversion, is that all of these sources of feedback are external to the respondent.


Those with preferences for Sensing said that receiving feedback from their manager had helped to increase their self-awareness. We might expect feedback that comes from a manager to be related to specific projects/tasks, KPIs or their interpersonal style. Of course, what we do not know is the MBTI type of the manager giving feedback; this may well flavour the type and style of feedback they give to their direct reports.


Those with preferences for iNtuition noted that their wider network, training to be a coach, receiving coaching and completing values measures were ways in which they had developed their self-awareness. These methods are more systemic, which may be why they are preferred by those who have preferences for iNtuition. 


Journaling and Feeling preferences were related. Journaling provides a way of reflecting on how thoughts, actions and insights might relate to values and feelings. It is interesting that we did not see any significant differences between those with preferences for Extraversion and Introversion here. From the respondents to this survey, we note that journaling is not exclusive to those with preferences for Introversion.


Feedback from clients and their wider network, as well as receiving professional help (eg coaching) were ways in which those with Perceiving preferences had developed their self-awareness. Specifically, it was those with NFP preferences who were more drawn to these methods, which are more systemic and holistic. People with preferences for NFP are likely to find the big picture, patterns, connections and a focus on people and relationships more appealing than people with STJ preferences.

Ways of increasing self-awareness

Self awareness

Most frequently-used methods to increase self-awareness


Usefulness of feedback

Although it can be quite straightforward to gain feedback from peers and managers, it is noticeable that respondents did not rate these as being the most useful ways of developing self-awareness. Instead, the top three most effective ways of developing self-awareness were as follows: 

  1. Training to become a coach
  2. Professional help (eg receiving coaching)
  3. Completing personality questionnaires

We know that 66% of people have received feedback from a manager, but this did not make the top three most useful methods. If you are a manager, what do you think your reports might say about this? 

Our parting question is this: do you think you are using the most effective methods for developing your self-awareness? And, if not, what steps could you take to improve the quality of the feedback you are giving or receiving? 

We hope you have enjoyed this series of blog posts on self-awareness. If you would like to talk further about how we might be able to support you to develop your self-awareness, please do get in touch. 
Finally, we would like to thank all the respondents who took the time to complete our survey. 

Related material:

Self awareness: why is it important?

How does personality type affect self-awareness?

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