In my first post on 3×3 Management I gave my thoughts Leadership and the three key ideas of management styles, effective recruitment and personal values.
In my second post I looked at people management and the three key ideas of treating people with respect but setting limits, recognising good performance and addressing poor performance, and giving your people room to grow and develop.
In this post I will look at the need for self-awareness and the three key ideas of recognising how you feel in certain situations, understanding why you feel the way you do, and the vital skill of learning to separate how you feel from how you behave
Theme 3: SELF-AWARENESS
Self-Awareness Idea 1: Recognise how you feel in certain situations
I think this is the key to good management. After all, if you do not understand yourself, how can you hope to understand your team members and colleagues?
And if you do not understand your team members and colleagues, how can you hope to build effective relationships with them?
I learned about this when I was racing motorcycles. For many years i would be a complete bundle of nerves while waiting for my race to start.
Nerves before an important event, sporting, personal or business, are normal and, some would argre, helpful in focusing the mind.
My nerves weren’t like that. In spite of being a decently quick and moderately successful racer I was was focused on every negative imaginable.
While I later learned how to conquer my nerves, at first all I could do was recognise that this was how I was feeling and learn to almost stand outside myself and watch me being nervous.
It wasn’t a cure but it helped.
Only later did I start thinking about Idea w, why was I feeling like I did
Self-Awareness Idea 2: Think about why you feel like that
I learned to understand my feeling through a conversation with a good friend and fellow racer. Having listened to me bemoaning my nerves he asked me why I raced if it made me feel so bad.
The answer was I loved the buzz of doing well, especially beating competitors on superior machinery.
Noting that I seldom fell off and was a regular podium finisher, his next question challenged me on how real my fears were.
This took a bit of answering. I knew people who had been injured and killed racing motorcycles and was concerned that it might happen to me, but this didn’t seem the complete answer.
After a lot of thinking I eventually realised that I had a monkey on my back (I hadn’t yet won a race in seven years of trying) and that I felt I would have to push myself into areas that I couldn’t cope with in order to try and win.
And, of course, as a racer the option of going slower or not trying to win wasn’t an option…..
This was something of a breakthrough. At least I had an understanding of why I was feeling the way I did before a race, and with this knowledge could try and do something about it.
It may be a coincidence, but two meetings later I won my first race, beating all the 1100cc Superbikes on my sweet handling but relatively slow (only 150 mph) 750.
In my heart I do believe that recognising my emotions took away the need to try too hard and just let the results come.
I later found that the same applied at work: by understanding why I felt the way I did I could put a plan in place to address the underlying issues.
Self-Awareness Idea 3: Learn to separate how you feel from how you behave
At work I noticed that two kinds of manager: those who got angry with their staff and those that didn’t. More interestingly, those that didn’t get angry seemed to get better results from their team.
I discussed this with my then line manager (Peter S. You know who you are). Peter was definitely one of the calm managers who seemed to get great results effortlessly.
I was more than surprised to learn that he did get angry and annoyed but, as he summed up it to me “how I feel isn’t important. What counts is to get the situation sorted out. This means focusing on the problem and not on your emotions“.
I learned much more about problem solving while doing my MBA, but a lot of it came back to Peter’s succinct summary.
The separation of emotions form actions is arguably most important when addressing unacceptable performance or behaviour.
Consider the example of a team member that routinely misses their deadlines. How useful is it to berate them for being lazy or similar?
If you do believe that their performance is an issue of personal motivation, then this is the area to discuss with them.
As a final thought on this topic: how you would like to be treated if your line manager was dissatisfied with your performance or behaviour? shouted at or being part of a fact based discussion.
Did you find this post interesting? Would you like to say something about it? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or start a discussion.