Did you hear about the manager who always shot the messenger whenever they brought bad news? He eventually stopped hearing bad news. Unfortunately for him, this wasn’t because there was none to report.
This is an anecdote that Dave Gray, co-creator of the Culture Map, shared in a recent episode of my podcast.
Such calamities are all too commonplace, particularly in a workplace where we have grown accustom to looking towards leaders for answers and certainty. Unfortunately, today’s business environment is far too uncertain and fast changing for any one person to have all of the answers.
It is becoming apparent to all and sundry that a cultural change needs to take place in order to support behaviours critical toinnovation and change. Think challenging the status quo, rapid experimentation, customer empathy and calculated risk taking.
Yet, when it comes to cultural change, we tend to think holistically - big, ambitious campaigns that are supposed to bring everybodyalong for the journey.
But the first step that you can take today, particularly if you’re a leader with influence over others, is to become more self aware of your own behaviours to avoid becoming the proverbial manager who stopped hearing bad news.
Self awareness is defined as having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
So how does one become more self aware in the workplace?
1. “I know that I know nothing” - Socrates
Showing some vulnerability and acknowledging you don’t have all the answers and need to collaborate with others to reach great heights goes a long way. When you think you have all the answers across cross-functional lines and varying areas of expertise, it can only result in one-sided conversations, frustrated employees and limited outcomes.
It’s important that you encourage the challenging of your ideas because others may see, know, feel or do things that you haven’t which all bring a unique perspective to the table.