There are many great conversations around the holidays. Unfortunately, there are also some weird conversations. There is nothing more awkward than being in a one-sided conversation. The person is going on and on and doesn’t realize you are no longer listening. You started off trying to be a good sport and hang in there, but you start to lose focus after the fifteenth cat story. The problem is a lack of self-awareness.
When people lack self-awareness it is painful to watch because they often don’t know it. Self-awareness is the ability to accurately describe yourself and others. It allows you to assess situations and respond appropriately. When someone is not self-aware it is impossible to lead effectively. The reason is trust. Trust is built on the foundation of honesty. Those who are not self-aware are not honest with themselves. They don’t know where they excel and where they need work.
As leaders we must all grow in our self-awareness and it starts by taking a look in the mirror. There are many ways to gain self-awareness. One of the best ways to evaluate your leadership is to take a behavioral assessment. One of the assessments I use with my clients is called Communicating With Style. It covers the four personality types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance.
I use the example of being shipwrecked on a deserted island to explain the personality types. If your personality style is Dominance and you land on the deserted island, you will quickly jump into action. You will build a fire, spear some fish and find shelter. If your personality style is Influence, you will pull everyone together and find out their strengths. Then you will assign leaders and teams to get the work done. If your style is Steadiness, you will take a deep breath and ask everyone to relax. You will ask everyone to assess the damage and create a list of supplies and meet back at the checkpoint in an hour to create a plan of action. And finally if your style is Compliance, you will let everyone know there is a right way and a wrong way to survive. You will let everyone know where the housing should be situated, how the food should be cooked and the dangers of the island.
All of the personality types are valuable, and all are needed to make a team work. The more we become self-aware the more we become aware of others and what they need to be successful. When we understand communication styles we have more productive and interesting conversations. So this year for the holidays if you find a conversation going off course, think about the communication styles and try a new approach. Having great conversations and making memories with people you care about is the most important part of the holidays. Wishing you a great Christmas season!
Question: What is your primary personality type? What is one thing you could work on next year to be a better communicator?