Managers! How can you act with critical awareness?
Updated: Sep 30
Part of a manager's job is to make employees feel comfortable. This can only be achieved when you are in tune with what your team members experience and how they move through the world. But why does being critically aware matter and how do you master it?
During the In this Together broadcast on Adopting a Conscious Approach When Building Relationships and Communities－hosted by VP of Customer Success at Rungway, Harry Dhebar－we touched on whether we have complete confidence in our managers. Harry shared that 50% of employees feel uncomfortable talking to their manager about something happening in their personal life and pinpointed how to overcome this issue; by being conscious of the environment you create and how you interact with your team.
What is consciousness?
Consciousness can be defined as “acting with critical awareness”. It is characterised by “sensation, emotion, volition, and thought” and is a key component for effective collaboration in the workplace.
Critical awareness works in two parts: Firstly, you must be aware of your own preferences for working. What are your strengths and weaknesses and do you know the limits of your own knowledge? All these things will impact on how you manage a team. Being in tune with yourself will inform you of where you need to improve your intrapersonal intelligence or seek out training.
Secondly, you must be critically aware of other people's differences. How do they like to be managed, where do they draw their energy from and where do they face specific challenges in the workplace? This will allow you to cater to their individual needs and not adopt a one size fits all approach.
How to be critically aware?
1.Understand the dimensions of conscious business - A simple framework 🙌
Harry shared a simple framework from Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values by Fred Kofman, which you can use to navigate the workplace and interact well with your team. There are three parts to workplace interaction which you need to be conscious of:
The personal self ‘I’ - During an interaction, what is the outcome for you as an individual? Is it health and happiness, productivity, growth etc.?
The interpersonal ‘we’ - This is your team or the relationship you have with a customer. Do you practice solidarity, trust and respect with every interaction? Have you taken the time to understand their point of view and what they want out of the interaction?
The impersonal ‘It’ - this refers to the task at hand. Has the team achieved its ongoing goals? Did you do it as a collective and did the task cause any tension?
Every interaction you have is an opportunity to be conscious of your approach regarding the ‘I’, the ‘We’ and the ‘It’. Ask yourself, ‘Is there equity across the three steps of interaction?’.
2.Consider everyone's individual experience 🌍
How do we go about learning to understand our colleagues, customers and prospects in a ‘conscious’ way?
First, remember our identities are made up of a combination of markers like race, gender, sexuality, religion and culture. This rich tapestry of difference brings great variations of ideas to a business.
Second, with your customers and prospects, understanding what makes them tick enables you to create narratives for your products or services which will appeal to them. With colleagues, you need to be certain you are engineering equal opportunities for every staff member. This requires understanding what inequalities they may face or how changes to the workplace will affect them. Show you are taking the time to acknowledge their experiences.
3.Make yourself accessible 🥰
This is probably the easiest step to implement. Giving colleagues access to you helps to build their trust and confidence. Set aside time in the diary for group discussions, where job titles are left at the door and you can talk about team dynamics freely. Or perhaps ensure you spend time asking what you can do to make their experience better during appraisals.
Share your own thoughts with your team if you feel able. Openness breeds openness－show them that your door is always open.
You can catch up on Harry Dhebar’s full broadcast on Adopting a Conscious Approach When Building Relationships and Communities and benefit from his many years’ experience of strengthening critical awareness in business.
Our In This Together broadcasts bring together leaders from across industries and disciplines to provide insights and learnings on the hottest industry topics. Catch up on what you missed like Mark Roberge and Christopher Lochhead, by visiting our YouTube channels.
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