Linking Self-Awareness and Relationship Building
We’ve all been there.
You know, at that moment in an awkward business, social or community environment when it becomes pretty clear to most parties involved that one among you has an alarming lack of self-awareness. Whether that reality is betrayed by one’s behavior or language, such a lack of self-awareness is often a signal to others to disengage, maybe for good. Maybe this was you at a younger age, or at decidedly different point in your career.
Whatever the case, the key is understanding yourself – your tendencies, your style, your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to interacting with others in the workplace – so you can put your best self forward and maximize your potential as a global business executive. This self-realisation, which can be bolstered by raising your understanding of emotional intelligence (how your actions impact others), is an important first step toward taking your relationship building skills to the next level.
Relationships are, after all, the unifying currency all great leaders share, whether it is in the corporate boardroom, on the factory floor, on an important business trip or sales call, and even outside today’s modern work spaces. Relationships define who we are and how we are thought of in the minds of others, from our own colleagues to our direct competitors. They also mold something of how we view ourselves.
Just consider, for a moment at least, how the combination of high self-awareness with a knack for building great relationships can improve your performance in your leadership role, build trust among customers and increase the rapport on your team. If you can engage with others in a way that adds value to his or her experience, you will likely satisfy their business needs and win them over as key supporters as you move up the corporate ladder. This is an important parable in times like these because we have all witnessed the case of the highly empowered, very self-aware leader whose behavior has the opposite effect on relationships. He or she is the kind of leader others must continually work around or apologise for, because he or she doesn’t understand how relationships are kept and reinforced once they are built.
If we take a step back, we can see that self-awareness and relationship building go hand in hand. Relationships that last and bring fruit for both sides are those that are grounded in trust, value and, occasionally, some level of tension or conflict that ultimately leads people to focus on the important beliefs or characteristics or experiences they share. Sometimes, we need the self-awareness to know when to push and when to pull, and when to see things from another perspective if at least to honor an important relationship.
The more we know ourselves, it seems, the better we can position ourselves to know others better, too.
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