Being an effective leader requires many things. Aside from understanding our own skills and capabilities, we need to exert time and effort to understand what others can do and how factors in the environment affect our ability to lead. We need to look at the bigger picture and change our perspective on things.
Self-awareness and “models of the world” as used in the NLP Presuppositions are two of the most important concepts we should learn a leaders. Fully understanding what these ideas mean will make it easier for us to effectively lead individuals and teams.
What is Self-Awareness and Awareness of Others?
Simply defined, self-awareness is the experience of being aware of the different aspects of ourselves. Self-awareness can include feelings, behaviors, and habits.
Self-awareness is important because we can experience ourselves as separate and unique individuals once we have a better understanding. Being self-aware can empower us to implement changes by building on our strengths and identify areas that require improvement.
Awareness of others, on the other hand, is referred to as interpersonal awareness that teaches us how to understand other people and why it’s important to show understanding to them. Awareness of others is one of the cornerstones of effective leadership because understanding others will help us improve our interpersonal skills.
What Does “Models of the World” Mean?
In Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP, the term “models of the world” refers to an individual’s beliefs, filters, values, desires, and expectations. This term also talks about people’s learning and experience about the world.
In the first NLP presupposition, Respect for the Other Person’s Model of the World, this means we I should acknowledge how different other people are and accept their opinions even if it clashes with ours.
This presupposition also indicates that to be an effective leader, we should not change how other people look at certain things or tell them they’re wrong. Aside from being disrespectful, doing so will make other people feel unsafe and can discourage them from expressing themselves in the future. Once this happens, we’ll have to work twice as hard to lead people and convince them that we are effective leaders.
Every human being in the world has their own “model of the world”, and ours can impact how we see and interact with other people. This happens because our reactions to certain situations will depend on our own beliefs, values, and expectations.
While some leaders get angry the moment their colleague informs them of a project submitted past the deadline, other leaders would calmly ask their colleague why the project was submitted late and offer assistance to minimize any kind of delay moving forward. In the example provided, both of these leaders were in the same situation but acted differently simply because they have different “models of the world”.
How Can We Improve Awareness in the Context of Models of the World?
Since being a leader means working with people that have different “models of the world”, it’s essential that we exert resources to improve awareness. Understanding other people can help us predict how they would feel when placed in a certain situation and allow us to make sense of how they would react.
Improving our sense of self-awareness and awareness of others, while paying attention to the context of “models of the world” in the NLP presupposition, are important ingredients for us to become effective leaders. The more we understand ourselves and the people around us, the easier it’ll be for us to lead.
The following tips are useful for us to improve our sense of awareness:
1. Prioritize Effective Listening
Communication is vital in every team. Regardless of how skilled the members are, if they’re not communicating properly, they won’t be able to achieve goals. However, for us to become effective leaders and understand others, it’s not enough that we know how to talk — we should also learn how to listen effectively.
Through effective listening, we can better understand ourselves and others because we’ll learn how to identify facts before judging any situation. Listening will help us analyze the situation and people around us, allowing us to come up with sound decisions.
Moreover, it is also through effective listening that we’ll learn how to remain calm despite challenging situations. When we listen to our team members every time they talk to us, we won’t be as surprised when certain things happen.
2. Repeat What Is Said
Listening is an important skill that takes effort to master. Listening is different from hearing because the latter merely talks about a passive action. When we hear other people talking, we acknowledge that they’re conversing, but we don’t pay any attention to what their conversation is about. Listening, on the other hand, requires engagement.
For us to improve our listening skills and easily understand the environment and people around us, we should always repeat whatever is said to us during conversations. Being able to repeat what the other speaker tells us shows that we were actively listening to their message. Moreover, if we miss something and fail to repeat what the speaker said, the speaker can always correct us to ensure that we have a better grasp of the conversation.
Knowing how to listen attentively requires a lot of practice but is worth it in the end as it’ll be easier for team members to trust us. Most importantly, listening attentively can become our platform to understand members better because we’ll have insight as to why they act or think in a certain way.
3. Show Empathy and Compassion
One of the biggest misconceptions people have when it comes to effective leadership is that leaders should always be authoritative and strict. For many, these traits will inject fear into their team members, which many think will translate to respect.
However, this isn’t true because team members who fear leaders will likely have a hard time expressing their ideas and working effectively in the team. Fear-based leadership will only cause the leaders to lose their credibility, and the team is often afraid to act.
Instead of being too authoritative and strict, showing empathy and compassion to our members is a better direction for us to take to become effective leaders. When we empathize and become compassionate towards team members, the communication within the team can improve. These traits can also broaden our horizons and allow us to view different situations in another light.
Instead of shouting at a member whenever they fail to meet their responsibilities, we should put ourselves in their shoes and understand their situation. Is the task at hand too challenging for the member? Did we give enough time for the member to accomplish the task? Was the member provided enough resources? Being empathetic and compassionate will give us more insight into my members’ problems and gradually improve our social awareness.
Learning Is Essential
For us to become effective leaders, it’s crucial to have the willingness to learn and the ability to put this newly acquired knowledge into practice. It would be challenging for us to lead individuals and teams if our knowledge and skills become stagnant.
Now that we have an in-depth understanding of self-awareness and the phrase “models of the world”, we can finally look at leadership from another perspective. Incorporating these concepts will allow us to understand ourselves and other people better, making it easier for us to improve our leadership skills.