If you’re looking to increase your influence, win over clients and build more meaningful relationships in your business, then keep reading.
Extremely successful leaders throughout all types of businesses have this one thing in common. They’re socially in-tune with those around them, or in other words, socially aware. Business studies conducted around the globe have demonstrated the strong impact that social awareness of its leaders have on the overall success of an organization.
Leaders who exhibit strong emotional competencies consistently outperform their counterparts. So what does “strong emotional competencies” mean?
What does it mean?
“You will catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is a classic idiom we have all heard, but also a golden principle for successful leaders.
Being socially aware refers to being aware of what others are feeling through what they are saying and how they are acting. It also means being aware of what’s happening around you, understanding the effect your words and actions have on others, being tuned into organizational politics, and being aware of how our environments influence us.
Successful leaders know that in order to reach their goals they cannot operate alone and it pays to be nice. This is such a commonly understood and accepted truth, yet it’s shocking to see how many are unable to act on it.
A Tale Of Two Leaders
Skeptical about how social awareness could actually prevent you from reaching that next step? Let’s take James for example. James was a department manager in a large corporation. He was highly qualified, intelligent and driven to succeed. Sounds like the perfect cocktail right? Yet he ended up loosing complete support of his team, missing his goals and being passed over for promotions? Let’s break it down.
1. He was blind to the needs of his team.
2. He did not take the time to learn their individual interests and strengths.
3. He was oblivious of the team’s dissatisfaction with his leadership.
To James, his team dissolving and the upset with his leadership was a surprise and shock, but for the team members, it was a slow build up. This is being socially unaware.
Now, take my good friend and colleague, Sara.
Sara is authentic and has high integrity. I know it, her company knows it and her team knows it. She has an ability to bring out the best in others and utilize their strengths, reaching her goals without stepping on any toes.
So what makes her leadership abilities shine so brightly?
1. She has a knack for finding common ground and bringing opposing parties together for mutual gain.
2. She is gracious in her successes, and shares the wealth with her team.
3. She genuinely connects with people on a personal level.
Just like kids on a playground, we all want to be on the team with the nice captain rather than the bully.
3 Things You Can Practice TODAY To Increase Your Social Awareness
1. Pay Attention To Your Body Language
Make a special effort to smile, stand up straight, make eye contact and avoid crossing your arms.
2. Listen with Genuine Interest
Ask an employee how they are, and listen with the intent to understand. Do they have children or an interesting hobby? Even just ask about their weekend plans. Level with them and be a friend.
3. Send Out a Personal Feedback Survey
Warning: You’ll get RESULTS with this… and some may be difficult to hear. Taking criticism well is a sign of true confidence, compassion and self-awareness. The key is the survey needs to be anonymous and send it to at least 10 people. Here are some questions you can ask…
1. What are some of my strengths?
2. What are some of my weaknesses?
3. Rate my body language: 1 being aggressive or intimidating, 4 being open and friendly.
4. Rate my tone of voice: 1 being aggressive or intimidating, 4 being open and friendly.
5. Rate my ability to handle stress: 1 being extremely unpleasant to be around, 4 being handles stress professionally and with grace.
6. Rate my listening skills: 1 being doesn’t listen well and 4 being “I always feel heard.
These three tips will boost your social awareness, which will enhance your effectiveness as a leader.
“The Complete Summary: Working With Emotional Intelligence By Daniel Goleman.” Soundview Executive Book Summaries, 2010.
“The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence.” Cary Cherniss, Ph.D, Rutgers Universoty; Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, 1999.
“Return on Emotion: Predicting and Improving Human Performance.” Diana Durek and Wendy Gordon, February 2006.
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