Social Awareness in Leadership – Why Does It Matter?

Social awareness in leadership is vital. Let’s talk about how it can help you to thrive.

If you ask a dozen people what they would consider to be the most important traits for leadership, you’d hear a lot of the same answers. A good leader should be calm, professional, empathic – the textbook example of a stalwart figure leading their team to success against overwhelming deadlines and workplace pressure. However, if you give people a little more time, they might start to suggest other characteristics like social awareness.

You might not know it, but social awareness can be pretty important if you want to get good leadership results. Why does it matter? What even is social awareness? What can you do to improve your social awareness? These are all good questions, so let’s explore them.

How Can Social Awareness Help Leadership?

Being socially aware has more benefits than you might think.

Without doubt, we all want our leaders to be socially aware because they can recognise and identify social dynamics and situations.

Interpersonal interactions are a complicated thing. Honestly, people don’t give enough credence to the idea that interactions between people are much more nuanced and complex than you might think. In the modern office environment, there are a lot of reasons why people might not get along, for example? There’s basic clashes of personality types, but also things like professional envy, and simple dislike between people who haven’t quite gotten on since induction day.

The problem is that these kinds of interpersonal conflict might not be immediately obvious, but they do show up during projects. A good leader who has some social awareness will be aware of these problems. Not only will they recognise these challenges, but they will also be able to take the appropriate steps to deal with them.

How to Improve Social Awareness

So, how do you improve social awareness as a manager or a team leader? Well, what you need to do is try and look for ways to improve your listening skills and your emotional intelligence. This means when you look at the situation, and you recognise that two members of your team do not get along, you have to make a decision about what to do with that information.

Naturally, this is not the easiest thing to do. After all, negotiating peace between people who don’t like each other can be difficult. You need to decide whether you are going to try and sit the disagreeing parties down and see if you can reach a conclusion to the problem, or whether you are going to keep them separated during projects to make sure that there is peace and cooperation between the team.

Whatever it is that you decide to do, it’s important to be confident in your ability to manage effectively. Your team will be looking to you for guidance on what to do which means that if you want there to be some semblance of peace, you need to help cultivate it and focus on delivering a resolution of some kind. It is important to project the type of energy which helps people to work cooperatively and not get caught up in fights and arguments.

Final Thoughts

So, the role of social awareness in leadership is often not clearly defined. Your overarching goal should be to try and help your team to reach some common ground by working with them to deliver an atmosphere which emphasises cooperation and growth. Being socially aware of the dynamic between team members and what you can do to help this is important for getting some of the best results. At the end of the day, it can be hard to do, but it’ll give you a lot of options for cooperation and collaboration.


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