012: Up-levelling your social awareness to step into high performance leadership

95% of people think they are self-aware, but only between 10 and 15 percent really demonstrate high levels of self-awareness.
That might be shocking. But consider that far more than 50 percent of people that drive also think they are above average drivers… clearly that can’t be true.

The irony with self-awareness is that the more self-aware you are, the more likely you are to realize whether you are actually as self-aware and in control of your emotions as you think.

In today’s episode, I’m continuing the emotional intelligence journey and discussing how to use your newly awakened self-awareness to build great leadership. It’s time to lean into pausing, reflecting, listening, and reacting in a constructive way. To realize when your outbursts are negatively impacting your team. Taking us all from needing to be liked as a leader, or assuming that to be great at what you do you need to be feared, and instead, learning how to show up as an authentic and transparent leader that builds team productivity through understanding others around you, and acting in full knowledge of that awareness, instead of irrespective of it.

Because when we act and react with knowledge of how our actions will be received we are able to boost productivity, create greater impact, boost creativity, empathy and so much more.

Ready to step up your emotional intelligence and lean into your high-performance leadership? Let’s dive into part two of emotional intelligence as we turn our focus on social awareness and relationship management.

Show Notes

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Want to read instead of listen? Here’s the transcript:

Hey, hey, hey, it’s Toni here from tonicollis.com, your place to go to up level your leadership and career. Welcome back to the Leading Women in Tech Podcast. Let me just start with a little update. I am just back from a lovely long weekend out with the parents. We’re still doing careful social distancing around here. We’re allowed family bubbles. So my bubble includes my parents even though they live on the other side of the country. Well, there’s Scotland being Scotland. It’s a tiny country. But I got to spend a lovely weekend with them catching up, checking in on how they’re doing and just the weather was glorious. Being with family was glorious and we were just trying to get as many of those visits in as possible because we’re fully aware that come the autumn, come winter things may well take a turn for the worse with COVID, so we’re just trying to pack all those in. So that’s what we’ve been up to around here. I also at the time of recording this, the doors are hours away from closing on the Leveraging LinkedIn Kit, you will have missed that. If you missed it and you really want it in and you’re excited make sure you join the wait list. Just go to tonicollis.com/linkedinkit and you can join the wait list for when we open doors next time. I’m not sure when that will be because I really want to support the people that have bought at this time first and give them all my attention but I will be opening the doors on that at some point in the future. So get on the wait list. You’ll probably get some access to some early action bonuses if you’re on the wait list that I probably wouldn’t give out to anybody else. So make sure you do that. And I’m already hearing some amazing stories from people here who started using it, how it’s already bringing them clarity, empowering them to take action on their LinkedIn profile. I’m even getting information about how it’s helping them actually understand what they want from their career. So it’s turned into a little bit of a one to one coaching without me in the ring which is totally awesome and I am just loving that. So if you are one of the amazing women who has got their hands on the LinkedIn Kit, do drop me a message and let me know how you’re getting on. I would love to know and let me know if you’re circling because, hey, I’m always here to improve things. I also have another bit of housekeeping before we crack on to today’s episode, because if you’ve been listening for awhile you know that if you leave a review of this podcast you get the chance to win a coaching call with me. I haven’t given one of these way yet because it was still in our early days. So I didn’t give one away for July or August. So I’m giving away two this month. So here we go. There are two amazingly lovely reviews. I’m going to read them out because they just are inspiring and it’s just wonderful to hear that this podcast is helping you so let me share them with you. If this was you drop me a message to support our tonicollis.com and I will sort you out with a complimentary coaching call. So the first one is the August one from adrana79 and she said, “I love listening to this podcast. Every episode is packed with insightful and perspective shifting ideas. Sometimes I sit with pen and paper to catch all the concrete steps I can take for the next week, month, quarter. It’s also great to just listen to it when I am too busy to sit down, to read up on things or plan.” Oh, I love that. I just, that is who I am entirely. Sit down, pen and paper, take action. Even though I listen to podcasts in the car, sometimes I’m like oh, I need to pull the car right over and take action. Love that one. And the second one from July, is some techy lady, she says, “Five inspiration podcasts. I stole some actual steps that you can take to Up level or love the solidness podcast.” Thank you so much for leaving those reviews. If you are excited about the opportunity of getting your own coaching call you want to break through some of those barriers between you and the success you are capable of, then drop a review and you might just win yourself a coaching call in October. So let’s talk about the topic of today’s podcast, Emotional Intelligence. We’re on part two of this last week we discussed self-awareness, the ability to recognize emotions in yourself. We’re now going until the bell self-awareness and how that impacts others and emotions in others managing your emotions and their impact on others. Basically the stuff that happens outside yourself, you have to work on yourself first, because if you don’t have great self-awareness, you can’t work on how that impacts other people. So if you haven’t listened to episode 11 yet, pause this, go back and listen. I’ll still be here waiting for you to do this. So go and do that. You back, great because here’s the thing. Research by various groups including I’ve got one by Talent Smart assume that emotional intelligence is actually the strongest predictor of performance. 71% of hiring managers say they value emotional intelligence, so EQ over IQ, okay? This is a big deal because here’s how it plays out. When you have employees with high emotional intelligence see what they are more likely to stay calm under pressure. They’re more likely to resolve conflicts. They’re more likely to respond to coworkers with empathy. When you do that, you’re a better boss. We’ll talk about this a little bit more than the rest of the episode, but here’s something that’s a bit of a shocker. 95% of people think they’re self aware but only 10 to 15% actually are. It’s a bit we all think we’re better. We’re above average on driving, right? We all think we’re a great driver compared to the average that can’t be true by definition of what average is. This is so true with self-awareness. We all think we’re more self aware than we really are but to bring out the best in others, you have to bring out the best in yourself first because you have to know what you do and how you behave impacts those around you. So you have to understand what you’re doing, what you’re bringing out in the workplace. There are multiple ways of doing this which I covered last week. But a couple of things I didn’t mention actually were 360 reviews. This is something I do as a coach but you can do this within your organization. I like to comment as an external coach to do this because I think it offers a level of perspective that you don’t get from inside but it’s something I do with many of my clients. The ones who are actively trying to get a promotion from within or we know there’s some blocker that we haven’t identified yet. The other of course is coaching. A lot of what I do as a coach and other coaches will tell you this. If you’re a manager who is coaching your staff, you should know this, that a lot of the time self-awareness can be developed in somebody by calling them out on their assumptions. The number of times my clients, we all do this, I do this with my coach by the way. We will describe a situation and the coach pulls that person up on their interpretation, such as it wasn’t really about you. Are you sure it was about that situation. I can think of five other reasons why that would have happened. It doesn’t mean that their assumption was incorrect, but jumping to a particular assumption narrows the scope makes you assume quite often the worst of a situation. So coaching is a really powerful tool for lifting self awareness and as soon as you develop yourself awareness you improve your external impact on others. And the third one is mentoring. Mentoring and coaching there’s a strong overlap a lot of the time but a mentor, especially if they’re within your organization and a lot of the time I would say, get a mentor from outside, but the mentor within can quite often give you different perspectives. So that’s a recap of why self-awareness is important, how to tackle it very quickly, but go back and listen to episode 11 more and dig into that in detail because you do need the self awareness piece first in order to work on how your behavior impacts others. You want to be able to step back and out of your thoughts to think about others emotions. Because you need to start with recognizing the emotions in yourself and if that’s changing your behavior, how is it changing your behavior? Understand the basis for your emotions, are other people having those same emotional reactions that you are or not or are other people responding to the emotional reaction that you have. Can you tell that you’re reacting that way? As I mentioned last week, quite often, we don’t know the emotions there until afterwards. Emotions are really slow to permeate our thought processes. And quite often what we notice first is a physical symptom, maybe a hot flash in the face or a knot in the stomach or a headache or something that. But the thing is other people that are around you will notice a change in your behavior. Maybe not explicitly, I mean it might be unconscious and they noticed it changing your behavior. So if you could work on your self-awareness and realize, “Oh, I’ve got a hot flush.” That means this particular thing. I look at people around you and see how they’re reacting all of a sudden you can start understanding how your emotion reaction is impacting the situation. Because here’s the thing, having a high emotional intelligence isn’t about manipulating others. It is about having control. It is about knowing when your emotions are not within your control that you may be damaging relationships. You want to make sure that the emotions that are on display are to some extent controlled. I am all about authenticity and transparency by the way. I’m not saying I want you to turn up as a false version of you and actually one of the things that shows up with high EQ is people are more authentic and more transparent. But the key thing is you’re more measured when you’re like this because you recognize something’s happening you take action. And so it was a moral thing to experience rather than this extreme oscillation. Executive presence requires emotional intelligence. Some would argue that executive presence is entirely emotional intelligence work. So if anybody’s ever said to you, “You need to work on your executive presence, that’s the thing that’s lacking.” You probably need to work on your emotional intelligence in order to do that because executive presence is really about understanding what’s going on around you. Executive presence after all is about a presence that reassures, that reaffirm, that creates momentum, makes swift decisions, energizes action and assist in with buy-in and change in order to deal with that, you need to be fully tuned into your emotions and the emotions of the people around you. You need to keep feelings in check not pretend to be something that you’re not, but your feelings need to not influence your decision making. When we make decisions from an emotional place rather than a rational place and we all think we’re more rational than we really are, we make poor decisions which is why emotional intelligence is so price in senior leadership. And it helps with resilience under pressure because you learn how to step out of your emotional reaction, pause, reflect and recover from it quicker so you can create a positive cycle because when you keep things in check you recover quicker, you are less explosive. If you’ve ever seen somebody lose their temper at work you know the damage that can be done. Trust builds in your team, less fall out happens in the first place. You get more action. You get more buy in. There’s more trust. There’s more productivity that makes your life easier so you’re less likely to be emotionally pushed and the whole cycle improves. You create a cycle of happier, more productive staff who are more likely to come to with problems before they become serious, rather than not coming to you with issues because they’ve scattered the reaction. I’ve worked in workplaces where the staff just do not take problems to senior leadership. One could argue that’s not leadership. Senior management would be a better phrase, because they’re scared of their reaction. So the things that make it all the way to the top are ready to spontaneously combust, which creates a negative cycle because the senior management are like always, “Oh, it’s this person again, they only bring me disasters.” They only bring you disasters because they don’t feel secure in bringing you small things that you could have fixed. And so, when we can step into this self-awareness and promoting a positive emotional exterior we step into a more positive leadership spiral. So basically this is just stuff that will make your life easier. Mostly what I talk about on this podcast in terms of the leadership side of things is about creating this positive upward spiral. And when you improve your leadership, your leadership is more influential on those around you, it’s more positive, they have a better experience. They work harder. You avoid more problems. Life becomes easier. That’s really what all of this is about. Because here’s the thing to become a high performer to reach the VP, the VPA, the C-Suite and beyond, if you are going for some level of CEO or something else, it isn’t sufficient to just be highly skilled technically. All leaders at some point possess a similar level of skill but to make it to that top level, to make it to be a really high performer, to break through and truly be impactful and change the well because that’s what I’m here for, you have to possess something more. That thing starts with emotional intelligence. By the way, that’s mostly what I end up working with my clients on. They come to me often for strategy but a large part of it is mindset and a large part of the mindset work is self-awareness, emotional intelligence and the impact of yourself on others, that social awareness and relationship management. And if you are circling to build the programs you want with limited resources, you’re frustrated that you don’t have a seat at the table and it’s time to start strategizing on your career and that may well start with not strengthening your technical skills, but strengthening your leadership skills. If you would to come work with me, by the way, I only have four spots opening between now and the end of the year, that’s it, just four spots and I will be putting my prices up early next year. So if you want to come in at my current price, because renewing clients get the price held at the price they come in at and that’s one thing that I love to do for my clients because they are all just fabulous women. So if you want to come in and my current price, you need to grab one of those four spots to go and check out tonicollis.com/workwithtoni or if you are ready to just pop in a free no obligation discovery call, you can book one straight away at bit.ly/discovertoni. I will put both those links in the show notes as usual, but yeah, four spots. So if you’re go grab them. I know you already have the technical skills. I am yet to meet a client who genuinely doesn’t have the technical capabilities or at least in 90% of them. They quite often come to me saying, “I need to get this qualification. I need to get this. I need to get that and need to get the other thing.” They are actually not lacking as much as they think they are technically but the difference between those who stay just below senior leadership and those who get up there is their ability to lead and that is hugely governed by your understanding of how you and your emotions, actions and reactions impact those around you and how to read those around you to take action, to ensure desired outcomes. It’s about gentle nurturing. It’s not about manipulation in case you think that’s what this is about. Because when you self monitor your emotions, you are covering off the self-awareness, but you’re building social awareness and relationship management, which are the two key things I want to finish up talking about. Social-awareness and relationship management, those are the missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to emotional intelligence. So the first one social awareness, the key here is to work on empathy. Empathy is not a fixed setting that you have. You either have it or you don’t on or off. It’s a fixed level. It is something that you can learn. So if you think I’ve got empathy or I don’t have any, I can promise you, you can improve and you should be improving because it’s so important. And empathy starts with pausing and reflecting and doing mindset work which is one of the reasons why that mindset work from episode 11, there was a least a mindset moment at the end, go check that out if you haven’t already, on delivering yourself awareness and pausing to understand, start there and then expand that outwards to look at the impact on those around you. Continue to extend and reflect. Strive to understand your colleague’s feelings and perspectives. Challenge your assumptions about their feelings, challenge your assumptions about their reactions. Is that genuinely the only way, are you sure they’re angry, are you sure they’re not something else? Are they actually angry about this thing or are they upset about that thing? I’m focusing on negatives there but it’s really good to develop on the positives too, but they tend to come easier to is because negative emotions tend to bring a negative reaction in ourselves which shuts down a lot of our empathy. So it’s really important to be working on continually striving to understand your colleagues around you. Once you have clarity, I want you to challenge any assumptions that you have. This is one of the things I do as a coach. Clients will come to me, tell me some things say this happened and it was just terrible because this was unrealistic, this was unfair and I’m always like is that genuinely the only way of looking at that? And nine times out of 10, they’re all multiple explanations. We don’t know which one they are but it proves to you that your initial assumption is invalid. And as soon as we start pointing fingers, we know we have a problem here. So I want you to step back, challenge your assumptions and then focus on how could you improve your communication to be more effective, more precise, get more out of the people around you and also help them manage their emotions. And which brings me to the second part, relationship management. A large part of relationship management is helping others. Influencing, coaching and mentoring and resolving conflict. So if you’ve done the work to consider how people can improve communication, start with yourself. But the next step is to coach others and mentor others, mentoring routine in order to improve their communication to and this is when you see massive improvement in an organization is when you go from developing your self-awareness to developing your social awareness and then up-leveling even more to helping other people develop their self awareness. It’s one of the reasons why as a coach I quite often coach my clients in coaching their teams. It’s a really big part of great leadership is coaching and mentoring your teams. I’m not going to go into the difference today between coaching and mentoring but as a leader, you probably should be doing both. The other one, resolving conflict is a really big deal. Most of us shy away from resolving conflict. I certainly did early in my career, but multiple studies show huge amounts of lost productivity because of unresolved conflict that result in gossip, impacts morale, drops productivity. You have to be okay with tough conversations, kind, but tough. And thing is you need to have your social awareness turned on in order to understand how to have those conversations effectively because two different people will need to hear two different things potentially. A way to resolve a conflict is to make sure that you’re respectful. Ideally it isn’t about pointing fingers. I’m not convinced the pointing thing has ever sold anything to be honest. I always prefer to remove people from it and talk about the thing that happened not the person that caused it and I think that really helps us to resolve conflict. I feel that’s a topic for another day though. But really work on bringing your social awareness, understanding your colleagues to those resolving conflict conversations. Don’t be afraid of resolving conflict. And the final one, all wrapped into relationship management is start being more precise in your communications. Now, if you’ve been around here long enough you know I’m both those persons. I don’t write short emails. It’s not in my skill set. I can do, but it takes a lot of time and effort. So I don’t focus on it because I don’t believe that moves the needle. I run my own business so I can get away with that. But what I did find when I was working in corporate is that you have to be precise. Precise doesn’t mean short, it means precise and there is a difference. A lot of people think precise means short and sweet and to the point. There is often an overlap, but quite often you need to be longer in order to get the precision in. What we want to do is remove ambiguity from situation and when we do this, people feel calmer. They don’t feel that they don’t have a decision made. They have clarity on a decision that’s been made and how it’s going to impact them. And this is a really big one for that relationship management, social awareness and especially if you are delegating responsibilities, you need people to feel that they have controlled or something that they have clarity in what they need to be doing. Great social awareness allows you to see when you’re not communicating clarity well. So in summary, the two things you need to really be focusing on after you’ve developed your self-management and self-awareness is social awareness and relationship management. And you will find that as you do these things, ask for all things in leadership you do a little work on each one, you’ll go back, you’ll find more information. You’ll understand yourself better. You can want more on your self-awareness which improves your self-management, which allows you to do more social awareness and it improves your relationship management. You’ll get more back and you go up and up and up. So you have to do all this work but it becomes so much easier over time. If you are wanting some support to do this work do not forget of course that I only have four spots open on my coaching program between now and Christmas. So head over to tonicollis.com/workwithtoni. But let’s finish up with a leadership mindset moment. If you are new around here, a leadership mindset moment is an actionable tip to help you take action today to up-level the way you think and the way you act so you can improve yourself based around the topic of today’s podcast. So today I want you to step away from the need to feel university liked or universally feared. Most of the women listening to this podcast tend to not be in the camp of universally feared being a desirable trait, I don’t know, maybe you should correct me on that. Send me an email, if that’s where you are starting. I would love to know, but either way, that’s not what leadership is about. As soon as you are governing your reactions based on a, “I want to be liked or I want to be feared.” And by the way, I was one of those who I didn’t want anybody to hate me. So I automatically stepped into what can I do to make these people like me more? The problem when you do that is you aren’t respectful to other people, their priorities, their time and you’re not actually delivering on social awareness. You’re less likely to have those tough conversations. You were less likely to resolve conflicts. So I want you to step away from that. I want you to consider what impact your emotions and the emotions that other people are having is having on the collective productivity. Then take a further step back. I want you to take one team member at a time. Maybe just do one person a week or something, if you’ve got 10 team members, yes, that’s going to take you 10 weeks, but let’s start to give you the space to work through this. Take one person at a time. Think through some productivity issues they’ve had. The ups and the downs, they’ve had good days and bad days, what happened in those highs and lows, can you predict highs and lows in the future for that person, what impacted them, what was good? Focus on the needs that they have to turn up productive, motivated, and excited, have conversations with them in case it’s something external to the organization. I want you to calmly engage with their work and understand them. Take the time to work through your core team and one at a time, understand each of them and do this starting today. This will better provide you with a better understanding of how to turn up when you are under pressure because when you’re under pressure, it’s so much harder to pause, take stock, reflect, you go into autopilot. So I want your autopilot to be governed by knowledge that’s going to empower you. That’s going to make you more socially aware. That’s going to help you provide better relationship management. So take the time when you’re not in that super stressed, I have deadlines, I’m stressed, something’s gone wrong frame of mind to understand each of your immediate team members. I want you then to also always challenge your assumptions. I feel like challenging our assumptions should be an additional motto to leadership? Right, I really recommend that you get a coach to help you with this. It doesn’t have to be me by the way. There are lots of great coaches out there, but if it’s anything else, if this is something that you know you need to work on the best way to work on that is to have somebody challenge you. So I highly recommend getting yourself a third party person to challenge you on this stuff. Okay, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast. Don’t forget to leave me a review if you would to win a coaching call next month. And of course you can check out the show notes in your favorite podcast player or at tonicollis.com/episode12. Until next time, remember to stay on your tech leadership game and follow your dreams because the world really does need that uniqueness that you bring as a leading woman in tech.  

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