Jason Yip
2 min readJun 23, 2024

DIY leadership development: Build self-awareness

Γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Cause effect diagram: build self-awareness to understand your motivations and understand your preferred working styles; understand your motivations, understand your preferred working styles and communicate your preferred working styles to improve your interactions with others.


Building self-awareness is about understanding your own motivations and improving how you interact with others. When this is collectively done, it also helps humanise your learning cohort.

What is typically done?

I’ve generally seen MBTI, DiSC, and Enneagrams. These are all pseudoscience, but it may still be useful to do them so that you can talk about it with other leaders.

Basically, you get a particular type and therefore, there are better or worse ways of interacting with you.

What is better?

If you stick with personality traits, Big 5 has more scientific validity.

I prefer focusing on strengths rather than personality. For example, VIA character strengths or CliftonStrengths (more focused on work-related strengths).

Understanding strengths is about understanding what energises and drains you and others to help design more effective interactions and work structures.

As an example, I’ve previously used CliftonStrengths for leadership team building.

Personal User Manual / README

A personal user manual or personal README is a trendy way to operationalize your new self-awareness.

You create and share a document that describes your preferred working style, communication preferences, values, strengths, etc.

These can be useful but be careful about approaching this in an entitled way (i.e., “this is how I expect you all to interact with me” vs “this is a useful guide for how to best interact with me”).

The personal user manual / README may or may not fit within your organisation’s culture but it can still be a useful exercise to build self-awareness.

Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl