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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Is your head in the sand?

I'm sure your answer to the question "Is your head in the sand" will have been "No."
The challenge I'm setting everyone reading this post is to determine what behaviour(s) you have your head in the sand about, and identify how you're going to take your head out of the sand, and take responsibility for the impact of these behaviours.

So often a manager or leader will say that their team needs to become more self aware, and yet they are totally head in the sand about their own level of self awareness. Completely oblivious about the negative impact their behaviours have on others, and yet often able to see the behaviour in others. (I've written a couple of blogs on how our judgement of others may just be a sign there's something, in the behaviour we're judging the other for, that we can learn from - one blog uses nature, and the other is much more logical. Follow the hypertext links to learn more,)

One model that helps demonstrate what's going on, even if it doesn't solve the problem, is Ingham and Luft's Johari Window :

We might know more about ourself than others do  

 or they may know more about us then we do

 And always there's an "unknown", that may get smaller, but always hidden from everyone.

I'd suggest there's another model that aligns with, and confuses this analysis.


That's because before something is consciously known to us it's unconsciously not known to us - that is we're unconsciously incompetent, and then aim to be consciously competent via conscious incompetence before finishing at unconscious competence (see here for more on this model).

If I mix the 2 models - we can believe we know something about ourself but other's know it to be inaccurate. That is I'm unconsciously incompetent about a blind spot, even if I believe myself to be unconsciously competent, and open about it!!

So how do we do what today's Osho card invites us to do, and become more aware about all of who we are, and therefore be able to take responsibility for how our behaviours positively, and perhaps more importantly negatively, impact others?


The solution I believe will be found in one of the following:
  • Firstly remembering we're looking for something hidden or unknown by us about ourselves - so common reactions when we start exploring the evidence may be disbelief, denial, anger, or resistance , or even rushing to put your head back in the sand.
Or perhaps more helpfully:
  • Asking your manager for feedback, and paying attention to it
  • Asking your team for feedback - and not closing them down defensively with a "I know that" before they've finished
  • Asking others you work with for feedback
  • Observation - observing what reaction you get from others - and taking ownership for the response you get rather than blaming the other person
  • Discovery - self awareness about your identify, values, beliefs, skills and behaviours - ie what makes you tick, and why do you judge others as you do 
  • Discovery about others you work with - what makes them tick, and what behaviours would make it easier to communicate with, and understand, them
  • Coaching can be a great means of helping you expand what you know about yourself, and knowing what changes might be useful to help you achieve better results  
  • Learning - this is where the learning ladder above works well with the Johari window - learning or relearning skills can help us understand areas where we were unconsciously incompetent that we didn't know what we didn't know about.
It's not an easy problem to solve, and yet if we could solve it I suspect we'd have less Toxic leaders  that I wrote about yesterday. The challenge is many of those toxic leaders will be sitting very firmly in the hidden or unknown box above, oblivious to the fact we're talking about them - talking about you?  

We all think we're different, and that any and all advice provided isn't directed at us - me included.

What happens however, if every sentence in this blog was directed at YOU? What happens if there was a behaviour, that you're oblivious to, that's stopping you or the organisation achieving its goals? What happens if there's a behaviour that every minute of every day is taking you further away from you achieving those goals. Wouldn't you want to know about it? Wouldn't you want to do something about it? Imagine for a moment what life could be like if you, and the organisation, could achieve the goals you've set yourselves?

The choice is yours - hunt for the hidden or unknown aspects of yourself, and increase the likelihood of you achieving your goals, or bury your head back in the sand, and keep getting the same results! 

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach 
Inspiring change inside and out - and here's why I think inspiring change is important

Hypertext links in the text either take you to blogs I've written on the subject, or to other sources of information about that subject. 

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