What does 'getting to know yourself better' mean?
Getting to know yourself better is called ‘self-awareness’. And self-awareness is defined as being the conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
Why is self-awareness key to influencing others?
It’s key because when we are wanting to influence others, it helps to understand how we relate to others, and how we can do this in the best way.
We get to know this by understanding the impact (positive and negative) we have on others, and, more importantly, the impact (positive and negative) that others have on us. You see, we automatically better understand and are able to adjust how we impact on others once we’ve understood the impact other people and situations have on us, and learned to broaden our own range of possible responses.
Lack of self-awareness can cost you
When I worked in corporate land, I once had the job of telling a group of senior executives that the review we’d commissioned from a Big 4 consulting firm had concluded our process was “behind the curve”. Although true, I’d failed to anticipate the impact this phrase would have. They didn’t like it. I was met with defensiveness, which did not land well with me. I, in turn, became defensive. I’d been ‘triggered’ and was unable to get the meeting back on track because I was caught up in defending myself. The meeting was unproductive and had to be re-scheduled.
At that point in my career, my level of self-awareness had not equipped me sufficiently to plan HOW I would communicate the review’s findings in a way that people would be able to hear. Had I known about it, I could have used a tool called Perceptual Positions to prepare for the meeting. Had I known how to, I could have explored the developmental feedback I’d received about my tendency to get defensive when challenged. Then I’d have been able to catch myself becoming defensive and would have had a good chance of being able to act differently. With better self-awareness, I would have been able to persuade them to listen to and consider the findings of the report, making for a smooth meeting. In short, I would have been more influential.
At that time, the problem was that I didn’t know how to become more self-aware and I didn’t have any tools to build it, or my influencing skills. This is not what I want for you. Instead, I want to share two powerful tools.