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Self reflection and self expectations

Saskia Schwarze
21 July 2022
Career at Swisslog Healthcare
Reading Time: 5 min.
It's 7:20 p.m. You are alone in the office. The lights are on. The cleaning staff has already emptied the trash cans. The motion detector in the hallway hasn't had a reason to serve its purpose for quite some time. It' s 7:21 p.m. Why are you still sitting at your desk at this hour, despite the fact that your workday began at eight a.m.? The inner struggle between pride, a sense of responsibility and the need for balance. High self-efficacy expectations? You bet. The promise of success? A matter of perspective.
Self-reflection illustration

Regular feedback as well as appraisal and development discussions are important management tools and part of a strong corporate culture. Such discussions encourage self reflection and are a way of comparing how employees see themselves with how they are perceived by others. Self perception? That’s right. Only those who know themselves best are in a strong position to properly use and further develop their strengths, to unleash their full potential, and to reflect on themselves and their own actions.

A common question: What are your strengths? If you look back to the beginning of your career, you might recognize yourself: the ability to work in a team, flexibility and a sense of responsibility. At the same time, this list reminds us of standard phrases used in cover letters. Now what's behind it? How do your strengths show up in your everyday life?

In a nutshell: ‘Teamwork skills’ isn’t hard to say. The challenge is to define it for yourself and fill it with meaning.

  • “I am supportive.”
  • “I always communicate in an appreciative manner.”
  • “On the way to the top, I never leave the weakest team member behind.”
  • “I enjoy working out solutions in a team.”


Sounds more tangible this way, doesn’t it? Enough with the buzzword bingo and on to more depth. This is how we get to know ourselves and understand who we are. What makes you a team player? It’s important to learn to reflect on yourself, to look into your strengths and weaknesses in more detail, including your individual experiences. Everyone should be aware of their strengths and competencies but, at the same time, be able to openly reflect on traits they want to work on.

Let’s have a look at how we are perceived by others: “You need a lot of appreciation. However, don’t consider this negatively.” It’s rather food for thought. An inspiration to start reflecting on why you care so much about recognition and praise – which isn’t necessarily bad, by the way: A culture of praise is incredibly important in corporate culture.

Reflect on yourself

Do we sometimes really need (too) much recognition? Does that make us selfish? No. Everyone needs a certain amount of recognition and praise for the things they do. One needs more, the other less. In some situations, praise can be motivating to keep going instead of giving up or facing new challenges. Having a closer look at what drives you, personally, is a valuable tool for personal development. What is it that motivates me?

Ideally, we share such insights with others. Why not give your manager a hint that you are one of those people that is driven by praise?

Who else might help us with our external image? Share your thoughts with others and find people who know you well and will give you honest feedback: family, friends, colleagues or mentors. This is what helps us to better understand who we are and how we are perceived by others.

What does this have to do with the expectations we set for ourselves and why are some of us still sitting in front of the screen at 7:20 p.m.? It’s not surprising that there’s not one simple answer to this question.

Maybe you’re a detail-oriented perfectionist, determined and ambitious. Those traits then meet the desire to please everyone – and suddenly it’s 7.20 p.m. In this example, it becomes clear that the one to suffer is you. You should start asking yourself:

  • When was the last time you took time for yourself and your personal development?
  • Have you ever reflected on your strengths?
  • What motivates you?


Invest in yourself and draw your conclusions about your self-awareness from it. Try to balance your strengths, needs and self expectations.

Saskia Schwarze, HR Manager Northern Europe & GCC at Swisslog Healthcare

What I learn from this is to hand over tasks with the risk that they are not 100% executed the way I would do them, learning to say "no", as well as setting boundaries.

Saskia Schwarze, HR Manager Northern Europe & GCC

Will this process ever be completed? Definitely not. Situations from job interviews or appraisals help us to work on ourselves and address our issues and weaknesses. And yes, there will always be moments when you have to pause for a second to realize that criticism is not necessarily meant personally – we never stop learning. Our strengths and weaknesses have brought us to where we are today.

Everyone of us has situations in which we have to take a deep breath and ask ourselves whether we can handle it all. Are the expectations we have for ourselves too high? Is the pressure from others too high? Are we still on the right track? It’s 7:21 p.m. Be proud of yourself and what you do, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. Always keep your health in mind. Ask the people you know and trust to support you in reflecting on yourself and your way.

Reflection is an important tool for our personal development. Invest time in yourself and find out more about yourself because individual strengths and weaknesses make a difference. At Swisslog Healthcare, we firmly believe this. Develop yourself with us: Apply for one of our open positions worldwide. We are happy to hear from you!

About the author

HR Manager Northern Europe & GCC Saskia Schwarze is in charge of all people and culture issues in her segment. She fosters the development of our employees so they can grow and become more and more successful and satisfied in what they do.

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