Are you really self-aware?

Here’s a shocking fact. The Harvard Business Review has reported that while 95 per cent of people think they’re self-aware, only 10 to 15 per cent actually are. This isn’t a stat this prestigious review pulled out of its hat. It’s a stat that emerged after a nearly five-year research program conducted on the subject.

Two issues to consider here:

  1. Are you self-aware and, if not, what are you going to do about it?
  2. Do you work with colleagues who aren’t self-aware and, if so, what can you do about it?

Lack of emotional intelligence, or EQ, can play havoc in the workplace. It can elevate stress levels, decrease productivity, destroy motivation, and even force highly talented people to exit as fast as they can. Think ‘brain drain’ and the impact it has on organisational success.

Without healthy doses of EQ, so called ‘professionals’ in the workforce often justify bad behaviour as necessary to ‘lead’. They don’t listen because they believe leaders are best when ploughing through issues without any regard for people. They’re not empathetic because they believe those who report to them should suck it up and get on with life. They’re notorious for taking credit instead of giving credit and for blaming others and never themselves. They wrongly believe fear is a great leadership skill. They’re poor communicators but believe they’re brilliant ones.

As we’ve said, there are two issues to consider here:

  1. your own EQ
  2. dealing with lack of EQ in others.

Your own EQ

How have you ever methodically tested your EQ levels or have you just self-assessed after, say, reading the odd article on the topic?

If you think your EQ skills are sophisticated, think about how you respond on your worst days at work, when they matter most. Is there room for improvement?

If you’re not sure where your EQ skills sit and have never had them tested, do yourself a favour. Take a great course designed to build your understanding of EQ and sharpen your skills around self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Everyone needs expert EQ skills to lead and reach great heights. You’re no exception.

At the end of such a course, you’ll know precisely where you stand on the EQ spectrum. If you’re fab at it, you’ll still have gained new strengths. If you’re not so fab, you’ll walk away with a plan for putting EQ skills into action.

Kim Vella is hosting her next EQ Skills for Leaders Workshop in Canberra on 26 and 27 February, with limited seats available and an early bird special on offer now.

Also consider talking to a coach, but not just any old coach. Talk to an executive coach who is internationally accredited and who follows the International Coach Federation’s Pledge of Ethics. You want a coach who uses an effective strengths-based coaching methodology and has a collaborative mindset—someone who will listen and support you (and your team) in developing and refining your leadership capabilities to align with your core values.

Kim has a PhD in Sociology and is a member of the International Coach Federation. She’s also a certified Conversational Intelligence® practitioner. Discover more about Kim and book a free 30-minute coaching session to discover the many ways you can strengthen your EQ, remembering that such skills are valuable both at work and in your personal life.

Lack of EQ in others

Dealing with colleagues who lack EQ can be tricky.

  1. Determine if you’re dealing with a person who isn’t aware that they lack EQ, or whether you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t give a damn and has no interest in changing. If it’s the former, you may be able to help. If it’s the latter, don’t waste your time offering support.
  2. Determine what’s causing the lack of self-awareness. For example, does the person need coaching or further education? Is their home life or personal relationship on the rocks, preventing them from concentrating?
  3. Ask if you’re the right person to help. If you’re a leader, then certainly. If you’re a colleague at the same level, then perhaps not. If you proceed, keep in mind that it’s important to provide high-quality, open and honest feedback in a non-threatening way and face-to-face. You shouldn’t start the conversation without warning, but rather have a plan in place for how support will be provided. And remember that we’re all human, no matter where we stand on the EQ spectrum, so be calm and compassionate.
  4. Remember that as a leader you’re there to help even if you fear doing so, as many leaders do (this fear is right up there with public speaking and even dying!). If you’re unsure, get yourself a coach and strengthen your skills.

And here’s a final thought…you can’t help someone be self-aware if YOU aren’t self-aware. Registered for that course yet?

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