More On Self-Awareness


Self-awareness is knowing who you are and how you are seen. It is important for job performance, career success, leadership effectiveness, etc

Research has shown

"...Although 95% of people think they are self-aware, only 10 to 15% actually are.........Most people display a complete lack of insight into how they are coming across..."
Tasha Eurich, 2018

"...un-self-aware colleagues are just frustrating; they can cut a team's chance of success in half......the consequences of working with unaware colleagues include increased stress, decreased motivation, and a greater likelihood of leaving one's job..."
Tasha Eurich, 2018

The starting point to tackle this lack of self-awareness is to understand the problem by determining the source of the problem, ie what is behind the tension?

NB in addition to lack of self-awareness, interpersonal conflicts can arise owing to different priorities, incompatible communication styles, lack of trust, etc

Some behaviours of un-self-aware individuals are

"...    i) they won't listen to, or accept, critical feedback
        ii) they cannot empathise with, or take the perspective of, others
        iii) they have difficulty 'reading a room' and tailoring their message to the audience
        iv) they possess an inflated opinion of the contributions and performance
        v) they are harmful to others without realising it
        vi) they take credit for success and blame others for failures..."

Tasha Eurich, 2018

They are different from other difficult colleagues, like office jerks, who know exactly what they are doing and are not willing to change. These people tend to rule by fear, intimidation, humiliation, etc. Usually they will unapologetically acknowledge their behaviour and have no intention of changing their behaviour.

In contrast, un-self-aware don't see how they are perceived by others; they need to realise that they need to change before any improvement can be undertaken.

To help somebody to improve their self-awareness levels, you need to consider

- are you the right messenger? (you must have the right relationship with the other party, ie be trusted by them and able to give critical feedback to them, ie

"...they must fundamentally believe that you have their best interests at heart. When trust is present, the other person feels more comfortable being vulnerable, a pre-requisite to accept one is unaware behaviour..."
Tasha Eurich, 2018

- are you willing to accept the worst-case scenario? (the other party's reaction can vary from anger, tears, silent treatment, yelling, etc to career limiting reactions, eg staff leaving, sabotaging, being fired, etc; power differentials are an important element, ie confronting your boss is riskier than with your peers, colleagues, direct reports, etc.

Once understanding the problem, you then progress to

i) having a private conversation with them

ii) choosing the best time to have the conversation, ie when they are most receptive, eg

"...wait until your colleague expresses feelings of frustration or dissatisfaction......caused by their unawareness..."
Tasha Eurich, 2018

This can be a good opportunity to offer an observation (don't use the word 'feedback' as this risks an adverse reaction)

iii) when expressing this observation, focus on their specific, observable behaviour and how it is limiting their success and

"...end the conversation by reaffirming your support and asking how you can help..."
Tasha Eurich, 2018

If they do not accept your help, you need to minimise their on-going negative impact.

Using mindfulness to reframe their behaviour, ie

"...Specifically, noticing what you are feeling in a given moment allows you to reframe the situation and be more resilient..."
Tasha Eurich, 2018

iv) find their humanity by adopting the mindset of compassion without judgement. It has been found

"...honing our compassion skills helps us remain calm in the face of difficult people and situations..."
Tasha Eurich, 2018

Need to have a positive approach

v) play the long game (people do change; sometimes unaware behaviours need to be highlighted multiple times before remedial action happens)



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