I have been highlighting the importance of emotional intelligence in my blog series this month. Why is social awareness an important competency for you to practice during this time of crisis? With you and your team members working remotely, being able to read how each employee is doing under this stress gives you an indication of what support they need individually to get their work done. This is about being able to understand the needs of others and respond to those needs. It does not mean that you agree with where they are, but you simply relate to them where they are. Empathy is one word to describe this important leadership competency.
How to Show Social Awareness
Isn't your role as a leader to influence and inspire others so they are motivated to accomplish their goals? The practice of social awareness begins by making eye contact, observing facial expressions, posture and physical positioning. If you know how your employees normally show up, how are they showing up on Zoom? If they don’t look “normal”, have a one-on-one conversation with them. If you want to know, ask them what they need at this time. My experience with employees showing a stress response is they need something as basic as reassurance from you, to be affirmed or to simply be listened to.
3 Outcomes of Being Socially Aware
Creation of bonds: Understanding someone’s perspective and connecting with them creates a tightly knit bond. Imagine the power of your teams when you have that bond.
Gain understanding and insight: Remember we all have different filters and see, feel and hear things differently. Understanding where someone is coming from and not passing judgement on their perspective is key. Listen and seek to understand. Knowledge gives you the keys to tap into their motivation.
Cultivation of communication skills: Empathy teaches presence. Acting in empathy means you are listening in a way that makes people want to communicate and share information with you. They feel safe in your presence. They share about their lives because they trust you. Trust is the foundation for every relationship.
Practicing social awareness takes patience. It is a learned skill set for some and comes naturally for others. The good news is it can be taught. Leadership is having the ability to relate, connect and listen to your people. Practicing this competency during COVID 19 is especially important for you and your team.