One of the most powerful tools – both in our professional and personal lives – is increasing our self awareness. Our thoughts, feelings and beliefs influence how we act, sometimes without us even realising! Being aware of our own strengths and weaknesses, our preferences, how we tend to communicate with others and respond to them can have huge benefits.
The flip side of this is understanding that other people bring their own perceptions, experiences, beliefs and so on to any interaction we have. What may seem “obvious” to us is very often not true for those around us.
In our development workshops with teams, we often discuss what is known as the “Ladder of Perception” to help illustrate how an incident may affect different people in different ways, and how a seemingly innocent remark or action can have unintended consequences.
Imagine for example your business has a new manager, and you have just passed this person in the hallway. He walked by you without looking up or saying hello. What are your immediate thoughts and feelings? Some people will say “I wouldn’t notice as I wasn’t looking up either”. Others may think “Maybe he is shy or busy”. However to others this may be interpreted as arrogance, unfriendliness or even a sign that that person is already going to be against them. Our response may be based on our own personality – if we are the sort of person that likes to talk to those we pass or not – and on positive or negative experiences we have had elsewhere.
One of the tools we use most often is Insights Discovery. Grounded in the work of psychologist Carl Jung, Insights provides an easy to use common language about what drives our behaviours and how this understanding can help us improve our personal, interpersonal and team effectiveness.