Self-awareness, which may be defined as being conscious of what you’re good at while acknowledging what you still need to learn, is one of the most underrated leadership skills. Apparently, it’s also one of the most rare. According to the Change Style Indicator, a research study on management styles that has been conducted for two decades, leaders are more likely to be unaware of how their behavior impacts others. Also, in appearing as if they know everything all of the time and disguising their mistakes and weaknesses, they diminish their credibility with colleagues and reports.
In organizational psychology research, self-awareness is often incorporated under the broader umbrella of emotional intelligence, or EQ. Here are brief descriptions of the main components of EQ.
It may sound like there is a lot involved in being emotionally intelligent, but truthfully a lot of these components go together, meaning that if you’re strong in one, you’ll naturally be strong in the others.
For instance, people who are strong in leadership are often equally adept in inducing change, gaining cooperation, building teams, and resolving conflicts.
Therefore, in addition to honing each component, you can employ several strategies that will help you improve your overall EQ.
Think about the things that routinely stress you out or make you upset and flustered – like being criticized by a client for something that isn’t your fault – and rehearse reacting in a civil manner the next time these situations come up.
The old adage is that men yell and women cry. Regardless of whether or not this is true for you, be on guard for the warning signals that you’re losing control (heart beating faster, tears pricking at your eyelids, etc.). As soon as you observe them, politely excuse yourself so that you can calm down before proceeding with the conversation. If you’re worried about being rude or disruptive, don’t be. You’ll look much worse if you end of making a “scene.”
Emotionally intelligent people are cognizant not just of what they say, but also how they’re saying it. In the midst of a conversation, make sure that you’re using appropriate eye contact and facial expressions. Position yourself next to the person you’re speaking to, but don’t get so close that you invade her space. Your tone should accurately convey your message, and smile unless you’re in the process of telling the person something she doesn’t want to hear. You should also ensure that you accurately read others’ nonverbal cues so that if you’re not getting a good response to your message, you can quickly change your approach.