When I say the word, “social” you probably picture something like the photo above. Out to wine and dine with some friends and family. But, what if I were to add the word, “awareness.” Those words paired together spell out a very important ingredient for success. Social Awareness increases our success in life, leadership, faith, family, and more. It goes beyond the typical “self-awareness” which is another vital part of being emotionally intelligent. Becoming more socially aware moves beyond self and onto others to help you better understand them and how to work with them. Social Awareness is another great gift the Enneagram gives us as we understand all the Types.
If you follow this blog at all you know that we believe in the research that the greatest predictor of your success in life and leadership is NOT “IQ” but “EQ” or your Emotional Intelligence. It’s why we love the Enneagram so much because it increases all areas of Emotional Intelligence.
Today we are going to focus on HOW to become more socially aware. When we move beyond only self-awareness to seeking to understand those around us it breaks down barriers, allows for smoother conflict, and improves the working environment at work and at home. It’s a truly invaluable skill. So, if it’s invaluable, how do we increase it?
This is number one = pay attention. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes and know exactly how everyone spent their day from a glance. Rather, spend time scanning those you engage with. Notice their body language. Notice their tone. Do they seem agitated? Do they seem tense? Are they joyful? Is there anything out of the ordinary that could cue you in on their behavior? Paying attention is a display of love. It means so much to people when you break the silence and notice something about them that could lead to addressing an issue in their life or their relationship with you.
Master The Clarifying Question.
When I coach people in the Enneagram, I always coach them to master the “clarifying question.” These are questions that don’t take the accusatory form we normally use when seeking clarity. It moves from saying something like, “Why are you being such a jerk today???” to this far more kind way, “I notice you seem tense and agitated right now. I want you to know I care. Is there something you need to discuss with somebody or with me?”
If we can master the clarifying question, we will see walls break down and conflict resolve much more often. It takes the discipline of self-awareness to not allow your negative emotions to get the best of you and instead seek to understand the other person as you both move forward in unity.
Use Your Temperature Gauge.
A 3rd and final way to increase your social awareness (though there are more but we don’t have time today) is to use your temperature gauge. What do we mean by that? Know how the other party is feeling in the moment. Some of us like to press and press the issue until we force a resolution (I’m talking to you, Enneagram Eights!). For others, they need some space to process, gather thoughts, and then come back. Someone wise in social awareness will learn to gauge these things. They know when to press and when to back off.
How Aware Are You?
Those are three great tools for us to use as we become more socially aware. Which one would be great for you to start using today? See, the more we seek to better understand ourselves and others, the more we move through life loving others and seeing our vision become reality. Emotional intelligence is a skill we all can increase. Do the work of understanding what’s going on around you. You will not be sorry!