For the past two weeks we have been discussing Self-Awareness and Self-Management, two of the Four Dimensions of Emotional Intelligence, as originally popularized by Dr. Daniel Goleman. If you missed it, click those links and catch up to us!

Our final 2021 Thought Partner Friday has us exploring the last two dimensions: Social Awareness and Relationship Management. Not that developing any of the four dimensions is necessarily easy, these two dimensions piggyback on the personal growth we cultivated with the previous two, in order to help us put into practice how we see, acknowledge, and respond to others in the most emotionally intelligent way possible. 

In thinking about your upcoming events, you might be saying to yourself: “I could probably stand to brush up on my Social Awareness and Relationship Management before a couple of these events. What does that look like? Can I work on those skills ASAP?” Yes, you can! Read on, my friend.

Before I gift you with strategies and ideas to consider, let’s define what these terms mean.

Social Awareness involves having the ability to understand others and their point of view. It includes empathy, which means understanding other people and taking an active interest in their concerns.

Relationship Management includes being able to foster teamwork and collaboration, developing others through feedback and guidance, building supportive bonds with others, and handling conflict management.

Whew…as mentioned above, not necessarily easy competencies to develop. Yet, they can be developed, and if you focus on a few keys, you’ll be skating through not only these upcoming social events, but work and personal situations yet to come.

A few strategies to practice your social awareness in any given situation:

  • Practice empathy – 
    • Try to demonstrate to the person that you understand where they’re coming from and make a conscious effort to recognize and name the other person’s emotions.
    • When you have an emotional response to someone, take a deep breath and count slowly to ten before responding. This will give you a chance to collect yourself, calm your breathing, and speak without saying something inappropriate.
  • Practice taking the temperature of the room whenever a group has gathered –
    • You can always check if you are accurately reading the room by simply asking those present. If you are a leader, you might have to give the team permission to give you an answer. Or you can provide an anonymous way for them to express their feelings.
  • Reframe your thinking about a “difficult” person –
    • Try to distance yourself from your own emotions and put yourself in that person’s shoes for a moment. “What’s this person dealing with?” This may help you view the person and the situation more objectively and dispassionately.

A few strategies to practice your relationship management in any given situation:

  • Work on giving consistent signals –
    • This includes providing direct feedback. Giving consistent signals can be difficult especially under time constraints or when you’re stressed or tired.
  • Work on your ability to persuade and influence people with your point of view –
    • Look for common ground when there’s a disagreement, help to solve problems, and prepare and be persistent in the face of obstacles.
  • Build relationships inside and outside your team and call people by their names –
    • Actively using people’s names is a strategy for relationship building
    • Consider which relationships matter most and ask yourself what has worked in the past that you can use again now.

I want to personally thank each of you (yes, like Santa, I get a list of those who have been nice and opened their TPFs each week!) for being a part of my Thought Partner Friday community this past year. It has meant so much to me to interact with you and to build a learning environment with you.

One of my 2021 goals was to challenge myself to produce these TPFs EACH Friday for one year. I wasn’t entirely sure I would be able to do it, but mission accomplished! Thank you for all the encouragement and for joining this community each week.

I wish you an incredible two weeks of laughter, community, grace and relaxation. 

See you again in 2022!