As you develop a greater degree of self-awareness, you will also become more aware of the dynamics at play in your interactions with others. However, this awareness doesn’t always go two-ways. When you have a greater awareness of thinking, learning, and personality styles, you also have a responsibility to be more adaptable in your interactions with others.
Addressing Different Thinking Styles
People who share the same thinking styles often have no problems working together. If both people are global thinkers then they will appreciate each other’s willingness to see the bigger picture. However when one person thinks differently from another, this different thinking style can not only seem foreign but irrelevant. However, these differences in thinking styles can, with the right approach, complement each other. While you may be aware of your thinking style, the people you interact with might not be as aware of theirs. A subtle way of intervening is to try to accommodate different styles of thinking when you interact with others. If you are a global thinker and find yourself at odds with someone who doesn’t understand why you can’t just give them a specific step by step plan, this is your opportunity to step beyond your limitations and try a more linear thinking style.
Addressing Different Learning Styles
One side effect of deepening your own self-awareness is that you might often find yourself in a position of leadership where you have to teach others or give presentations, which is a kind of teaching when you consider it. If you are an auditory learner, take steps to design presentations and seminars that accommodate other types of learning. Use power-point and other visual aids to help visual learners, and find activities that allow tactile learners an opportunity to learn by doing, even as you accommodate your own auditory learning style through spoken instructions and explanations. One way to make sure you are accommodating the different learning styles is to video record your presentations before when you practice and during the presentation itself. This way you can study for areas where you are strong and for areas where you can improve.
Active Listening and Body Language
Another important factor in being aware of your interactions with others is being able to listen and to truly hear others. Employing the techniques of active listening can help, but these are not simply tricks. In order to be effective with others, you must be truly interested in their point of view.
In addition to being aware of a person’s speech, you also need to be aware of both their body language and your own. Typically, when there is a discrepancy between the words that are said and a person’s tone and body language, the latter will more accurately reflect the circumstances.
Transactional analysis is a way of interacting with others where you can recognize certain behavioral patterns in another person and by adjusting your behavior you can induce a change in the other person’s as well.
This post is from April’s topic on Improving Self-Awareness.