Socially aware individuals are more attuned to the emotions and needs of others, which can lead to better work relationships, effective communication, and enhanced leadership skills. Developing social awareness is a crucial component of emotional intelligence that involves understanding and empathizing with the emotions and perspectives of others.
The Unlimited Benefits of Having Social Awareness at Work
Why Having Social Awareness At Work Is Vital
How would you rate your interactions with your colleagues at work? Do you actively listen when they speak? How often do you practise empathy by putting yourself in someone's shoes? Do you take time to observe what is happening around you? These are just a few questions to help you realize your level of social awareness.
When we practice mindfulness, we realize how fortunate we are and how many daily pleasures we take for granted or overlook altogether. We may also lack awareness in our social interactions, which can negatively impact our lives.
Do You Live A 'Drive-By Life'?
If we lack social awareness, it can be due to the 'drive-by life' phenomenon. Do you find yourself running through the day tightly tied to your calendar, not taking time to be present as you brush by colleagues and family members to complete the next task or appointment? If your passions are getting in the way of living in the moment, you might be living a drive-by life. I write more about my thoughts on this here.
If so, it might be time to focus on your social awareness skills. Contemplate the benefits of observing those in your surroundings at work and home. Be mindful of the actions of those around you. This practice will also enhance your emotional intelligence.
While developing your social awareness, you should also learn about observing the ripple effect of your emotions. Here's how.
A Jump Start To Becoming More Socially Aware
It starts with just 10 or 15 minutes—pretty doable, right? You can improve your social awareness skills at work by taking 10-15 minutes and taking a tour of your surroundings. Take notice of both the mood of the room and those around you.
- Find a social setting such as a coffee shop, mall, museum, etc. Ideally, you want to select a location where you won’t be interrupted during your time there.
- Locate a comfortable spot, sit down and view your surroundings.
- Watch those around you and listen to their conversations.
- After focusing on social interactions, you will become curious about the people you observe.
Strategies To Boost Social Awareness And Emotional Intelligence
Try these strategies to help you improve your social awareness:
- Pay close attention to what others say without interrupting or judging. Make an effort to understand their point of view.
- Put yourself in others' shoes to understand their feelings and experiences. Try to empathize and feel what they might be feeling.
- Pay attention to non-verbal cues like body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to understand better emotions that may not be clearly expressed.
- Ask open-ended questions to learn more about others. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings.
- Practice Mindfulness exercises to help you stay present in the moment and become more attuned to the emotions and needs of those around you.
- Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, or mentors to gain insights into how you come across socially and areas for improvement.
- Reflect on your interactions and journal about your experiences, emotions, and what you've learned about others.
- Be open-minded and challenge your own biases and preconceptions. Try to see situations from multiple angles.
- Cultivate empathy by consciously trying to understand and share the emotions of others.
Here's the thing—no matter your role at work, investing time to get to know those around you will significantly enhance your relationships and social awareness. Here's more on how social awareness can improve your relationships.
When you focus on others and learn about them, you'll be surprised by how that information will positively impact your work and relationships. The benefits of social awareness are limitless at work and in your personal life. If you want to improve your social awareness, a key component of emotional intelligence, consider taking a self-assessment to provide a personal analysis of your perception of your behaviour.
This article was originally published on August 11, 2018, and has been updated (September 2023).
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