Self-Aware Employees are “Addicted to Progress”

What is Self Awareness?

Self awareness is the knowledge of one’s own capabilities, behaviors and personality. When employees have a better understanding of themselves, they feel empowered to:

  • assess their current activity and performance status,
  • identify where they can make improvements,
  • execute the changes, and
  • build on their areas of strength.

The role of a manager is to speed up this self awareness in their staff. That means looking at performance management in a new light. One that allows organizations to create a culture of continuous improvement in their engagement and motivation of employees. research has proven that all staff want to feel that they have made progress at work. They can go home feeling more satisfied, engaged and willing to do it all again tomorrow.  The managers role is to find the means for them to achieve their goals and while at work become “fixated on progress”.

What Should Managers Do?

In our fast paced, highly competitive globalized marketplaces, managers will not get the best results from their people by using traditional “command and control” management techniques. It’s time for them to fully to embrace the new paradigm of “staff self-management”.  As Einstein reminded us you don’t get different outcomes from using the same approach.

Managers need a new logic for today’s challenges. Employees will not respond to archaic management styles that don’t allow them to be engaged with the company and their colleagues. They want to feel valuable in their role.

In the busy world of monthly reporting, managers have less and less time to spend with staff. This means organizations can’t rely on periodic appraisals or managers being proactive about dealing with employee performance. Moving to employee self-management means encouraging staff to take accountability for their own progress.

Leaderboards are a Self Management Tool

Leaderboards are the key to a new understanding of performance reviews. They provide immediate performance feedback to individuals and teams on the activities they are doing and their progress towards their target. This is the perfect tool to allow individuals to effectively manage themselves with the support of their manager. Leaderboards also highlight those staff who are falling behind and clearly need coaching or training to lift their game.  Managers can then focus on performance management for under performing employees.  Rather than a one size fits all approach to managing the team.

Employees who become responsible for reviewing their own performance, feel in control and can keep in tune with their day-to-day “wins”. The more employees who do self manage the more the organization is likely to have a high performing culture with a daily focus on making progress towards their goals.  This focus can also motivate innovation as aware employees look for better ways to do their activities and achieve the desired progress.

Managers and staff should be thinking of performance reviews in the context of sports teams, or an orchestra, where members of the team are evaluated at the end of every period of play. The leaderboard which shows individual activity, progress against their target and the time they have to modify behaviours and activity levels as required.

The information displayed on a leaderboard is also objective. It is not about the person. It is about their performance and activity level. Leaderboards eliminate any tendency for mangers to talk about personal attributes or make subjective comments. In sport the analogy is playing the ball, not the person.

Staying ‘on game’

Creating a culture of self-management keeps staff motivated and “on top of their game”. Staff to take it upon themselves to monitor their own KPIs and be driven enough to make it happen. Visibility of staff performance data on a leaderboard encourages them to identify what behavioral change is required, execute the change and accelerate towards the target. Leaderboards provide the guidance on performance and progress. Every move they make, every claim they stake, is reflected on the leaderboard and displayed on the office TV. This also allows everyone to celebrate the milestones of progress against a goal.


People who don’t know their strengths and weaknesses actually tend to overestimate themselves. Poor self-awareness leads to poor performance and, consequently, termination. Providing the tools for staff to know themselves helps them use their strengths better, develop where they can, and with the help of a manager, avoid areas where they are unskilled or unsuited. The simple truth: people who are self aware and know themselves do a better job.


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About the Author:

Matt Bullock
Serial entrepreneur who loves a deep dive into technology and applying it to solve business problems. Matt recognized that gamification of business activity processes would lead to greater staff engagement, increase productivity and motivate the team to do more, so that businesses sell more and grow more.