Hard work only takes you so far.
Excellent leadership is not something found in a dusty old tome in
the back of the library, it is achieved successfully through action.
In our fast-moving, complex and ever-changing world we have lost the importance of the softer skills that are so crucial to understanding, collaborating with and leading people – that is, the ability to read the unspoken needs of your audience,
however small (social awareness) and the ability to know yourself and the impact you have on others (self-awareness).
Geographically dispersed teams, digital communication, social networking, video conferencing and other forms of new media are being blamed for this loss of empathy. Without the signals of body language and non-verbal communication, without knowing our team members and with the additional ability to log off, unfriend, delete and ignore, we aren’t taking action to understand the needs of others.
Our People Make Us
We are losing trust. Trust is the greatest determinant of success in relationships, in business or otherwise – people by nature seek confidence and belief in their partners, peers and bosses. A recent Gallup survey found that 51% of actively disengaged associates would get rid of their leader if they could, and one quarter of all employees say they would like the opportunity. What then, are our leaders doing to solidify relationships of trust? How do your people know they can trust you, that you care about them? Be aware. Show them you see and hear them, respond to their needs and feelings, and they’ll be with you all the way.
According to Daniel Goleman, the competencies associated with being socially aware are:
- Empathy: understanding others’ emotions, needs and concerns.
- Organisational Awareness: the ability to understand the politics within an organisation and their effect on the workforce.
- Service: the ability to understand and meet the needs of clients and customers.
In other words, be able to read the (hypothetical) room, rake up the eggshells, be the shoulder to cry on and the punching bag until people are working effectively together and then take them with you to go forth and help others work productively in the same way.
Emotional intelligence is at the heart of what we do at The Colour Works, internally throughout our team as well as externally with clients – as individuals we hold widely different strengths, weaknesses and motivations, yet in organisations we’re gathered together to meet targets and work productively alongside our team members with as little resistance as possible. 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures, and we are committed to changing that.
Building Social Awareness
Make the change easier.
Complete an Insights Discovery Personal Profile and get your team to follow suit. Discover your style and how others perceive you and in turn understand others so that you can effectively adapt to meet their needs, gain trust and create authentic workplace relationships.
Observe the room.
Be it a conversation with a colleague or a full team meeting, watch your audience for a few minutes prior to engaging them. Note the overall feel and how it might be impacting you and your own energy. Is the mood negative or positive? Is there silence? Are people laughing? Clear the air to settle the room.
If you and your team have been profiled, use them!
Show your colours!
Consider how you might be being perceived. What is your facial expression and body language conveying? Are you holding back or too involved?
Social awareness should eventually be built in to your daily interactions. Pay attention, give everyone a voice, listen, follow up diligently and mark progress as a collective.
Social awareness is a key element of your emotional intelligence. Instead of grumbling about people who aren’t understanding of your needs, focus rather on your own practise. As it improves, with emotional intelligence hot on it’s heels, so will your work life balance, your awareness of the needs behind the behaviour of others and your ability to respond positively to change.
Read up on emotional intelligence, your difficult person, trust, communication, stress and the behaviours through change