In researching self-awareness (SA), the self/other ratings studies (SORs) appeared as key research in both defining SA and working out how to assess it and improve it.

Essentially the SORs carry out research on ‘what do I think of me, what do you think of me’. If you know anything about 360 degree reviews, the SORs carry out 360s (and sometimes also use other measures), on a massive scale.

My take-homes from the SORs that I reviewed are:

• They’re generally interested in people working in senior roles or leadership/management training to take on senior roles

• Individuals’ views of themselves is often over-rated

• People who score their abilities higher than other people do (over-raters) tend to be under-performers

• People who score their abilities lower than other people do (under-raters) tend to be the best performers

• High performing managers have the highest SA

• Women are rated as having significantly more SA than men

It’s interesting, and of course logical when you think about it, that as people become more self-aware, they realise what they don’t know and become more humble and able to better assess themselves, bring their self-assessment scores down. Knowing more about yourself means you have a better perception of what you don’t know. Conversely, if you think there’s nothing you don’t know, your scores will always be high, which is encompassed in the Kruger Dunning effect – which I’ll talk about another day.

If you want to know more about the SORs, look up studies by Atwater and Yammarino (1992), Van Velsor et al (1993), Sosik and Megerian (1999), Fleenor (2010). Put ‘self other ratings studies’ in to Google and you’ll get lots of Google Scholar links back