(This is part 2 of the “Selfie” series. Read part 1 here.)
A great friend of mine said to me two weeks ago, “I have a Challenge for you. It’s a ‘small c’ Challenge’.” We’ve been down this road before, because we’re good friends, and we’re committed to bringing Support and Challenge to each other. So it wasn’t hard for me to say, “Bring it on. Whatcha got?” He said, “Do you know how often you don’t finish your sentences? I’ve noticed it at other times, but I really noticed it the last couple of days when we’ve been presenting.” I said, “Yeah, I’ve been told about that before (especially by my sister), and I even thought about it the other day. Thanks. I’m gonna work on this.” My dad was the same way. His sentences would trail off into a quiet exit.
The lesson: I undermine my influence when I don’t know what it’s like to be on the other side of me.
How Friends Can Help You
Think about it. How often do you overhear conversations, or perhaps engage in them, where there is a reference to someone not understanding how they come across to others? Often it’s done outside of earshot, with the rolling of the eyes. “Yeah, he’s always….” “She is so….” “Do they have any idea how they come across?”
Surprise! Others are having those conversations about us! The fact is that we’re constantly under surveillance by those who actually see things we don’t naturally see. Anthony Tjan, in the Harvard Business Review writes, “You can’t be a good leader without self-awareness. It lies at the root of strong character, giving us the ability to lead with a sense of purpose, authenticity, openness, and trust. It explains our successes and our failures. And by giving us a better understanding of who we are, self-awareness lets us better understand what we need most from other people, to complement our own deficiencies in leadership.”
How You Can Help Yourself
How? Three ideas:
1. Reflect, as in “look in the mirror”. Taking even a little time to look at yourself at least brings you into the universe of self-awareness. How am I? What is missing?
2. Ask, as in “ask others what they see”. “I’m trying to be more self-aware, but I can’t do it without your input. Would you think about it and get back to me in the next few days with something you think I might not know?
3. Test, as in “do a few psychometrics from time to time“. Here’s a great suggestion: www.5voices.com. Easy as pie, and it’ll give you some good stuff to build upon.
Seriously, do this. Otherwise your sentences might…