How much time do we invest in ourselves or our team to help increase our awareness? This one skill and behaviour is the key to unlocking the information, tools and techniques in all the other training courses we attend or experiences we have. It is self-awareness that delivers better team work, communication, stakeholder management, customer interaction and service. When we are self- aware we respect both ourselves and others. This makes it much easier to ask for and accept feedback; we don’t take it personally! It makes it easier to communicate as we seek to understand rather than persuade; this builds bridges, opens communication and expands possibilities.
There is a lot of corporate training in Leadership, Communication, Change Management Team Building etc. While these are all useful there is, to my mind, in most cases a common thread and fatal flaw to these programmes – they are focused on the external.
We have all been on courses where we tell participants about Leadership styles and highlight the styles of the great leaders we should all aspire to be. We look at the top ten tips for Communication, or techniques for developing a range of skills. All this is helpful but if I am not aware of my own leadership style how can I look at that of others? If I am not aware of my own attitude to people with different skills sets, backgrounds or aspirations how can I connect with them. If I am not aware of my own attitude to risk, to change or to certainty how can I have meaningful conversations about how we can deal with these?
It is this piece to the jigsaw that is, too often, missing. We cannot benefit from these courses if we are not aware of our own skill sets, development opportunities and most importantly willingness to learn.
Case for change
Companies are getting to grips with an increasingly fast- changing landscape and they are looking for ways to help them cope with the challenges presented and to realise the possibilities available. They are looking from a corporate perspective and also from that of the individual; how we help the individual deal with stress, and remain calm and centered.
In my view we need to start with supporting ourselves and our teams in developing greater self –awareness. If we do not include self-awareness in our development plans we reduce the impact of our investment in training programmes and minimise our ability to work collaboratively with others