“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” — Tao Te Ching
1. Knowing yourself increase your ability to anticipate your behaviors
Do you tend to talk too much? Too little? Are you overly cool or too social at work? All of us have behavioral tendencies – they’re part of our personality. But, if our behaviors are too extreme or inappropriate, they become self-defeating. If you know yourself, you can anticipate how you will probably respond to upcoming situations. If you anticipate that your behaviors will be successful, great! If you’re worried that you might fall back into self defeating behaviors or not achieve the outcomes you seek, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to adjust.
2. Focus attention on other people so you gain clues about them
If you know yourself and accept yourself, you will have more energy to focus on colleagues, staff, customers, bosses, and other significant people. Paying close attention to how other people communicate enables you to know them better, anticipate their preferences, and gain awareness of their communication style. Sometimes you only get few clues, especially in new or quick communications. But, people are always transmitting something about themselves. Pay attention! Listen! Observe!
3. Adapt yourself appropriately to the situation
The combination of self awareness plus attention to others enables you to adapt. Maybe you’re feeling very fatigued but you’re meeting with a high energy person. Rather than inadvertently convey a lack of enthusiasm, pluck up, demonstrate that you care, use vibrant language, and come to conclusion swiftly. You’re in, you’re out and you’ve retained an ally. Move onto something less demanding to recoup your energy. Successful communicators put other people’s needs ahead of their own. Respond to others in a way that makes them want to say, “Yes! I like working with you.”
4. Monitor and restrain yourself
One of the blessings of knowing yourself is that you can catch yourself doing something wrong before it is too late. If the boring staff meetings drive you to distraction, be aware of communications that could cause more harm than good. Strategize and plan what behaviors you DO want to use. Don’t lose control of yourself. Don’t lose others’ trust. Monitor your tone, your content, and your nonverbal communications.
5. Use your strengths wisely
Knowing yourself increases your ability to use your strengths wisely and widely. Step up when your communication style supports your team, retains a grouchy customer, or overcomes obstacles. Strengths tend to come naturally to us so they should be at your fingertips. Let others lean on you. In return, you’ll be able to lean on them some day. Hone your strengths. Strive to be outstanding in areas where you are already very good.
The “Communication Feedback: Know Thyself” workshop has encouraged thousands of participants to study their own style of communications and learn skills to interact effectively with others. Kaye Sullivan has taught these concepts to executives, teams, and employees at all levels. Contact her for more information, customized workshops, or questions at email@example.com.