ATD Blog

Social Awareness: Step 3 to Mastering EQ

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Over the last several months, you have joined me in exploring the power of Social and Emotional Intelligence (SEI) in our professional careers. We’ve learned that these interpersonal skills are critical to our career success—they make the difference between getting that “dream” job; being promoted rapidly; commanding a top salary; or seeing our careers unravel almost overnight. Let’s not let that happen...

As a reminder, there are four groupings of SEI  competencies each building on the one before:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Emotional Self-Management
  • Social/Situational Awareness
  • Relationship Management

Our previous conversations on Self-Awareness and Emotional Self-Management focused on ourselves. Now we move to understanding and appreciating other people in different situations. This is called social awareness (interpersonal and situational). Social awareness is the ability to understand and appreciate others perceptions, feelings, needs, and concerns on both an interpersonal level and on an organizational level.

You may know someone who has this gift (hopefully you do too) but you probably also know several other people who seem to be “clueless” about what’s happening around them. How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10? Do you miss those subtle clues about how others are feeling, how they perceive the situation, or what their real concerns are? If you are missing those signals more often than not, then you may also be finding yourself having frequent misunderstandings and trouble working with others in your job. 


So what are we to do? Here are five simple steps to increase your social awareness: 

  1. Pay attention to what’s going on at work especially to understand the context and history of why people are responding as they are.
  2. Become an astute observer of people in all kinds of situations.
  3. Listen closely to what is important to others.
  4. Shift your mindset to one of “curiosity.”
  5. Allow yourself to see someone else’s perspective without judgment.

You will be surprised. Your mastery of social awareness will grow exponentially as you open up yourself to this wealth of information happening right in front of you. Now ask yourself, “What am I learning here?” This learning opens up the doors to being able to connect with others and allows you to then move into communication and collaboration. 
That brings us to that fourth set of SEI competencies--Relationship Management. Watch for next month’s blog post on how to master the complexities of work relationships with your boss, colleagues, customers, and direct reports.

About the Author

Katherine (Kit) Prendergast, PCC, holds coaching certifications in Social & Emotional Intelligence (SEI); Executive Leadership Development (CELDC), and Career Management (CCMC). As the owner of Career Connections of Sierra Nevada, a well-established coaching and training company in Northern Nevada, Kit brings  a wealth of experience, expertise, and energy to inspire you to create the life you truly want at this time. She welcomes coaching and training clients nationally and internationally. 

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