Streetwise: Understanding Others

January 17, 2020

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

 

This is the twenty-fifth, and final, installment in our 25 week series exploring the 25 competencies, or soft skills, that our assessments measure. Each week we’ll give you the definition of that competency, explain its value, and give you tips to help you develop it. This week: Understanding Others.

Understanding Others is being able to understand the uniqueness and contributions of other people. It’s all about seeing each person for who they really are and acknowledging the strengths they bring to your team. Understanding Others takes time and a sincere commitment. You can’t get to know a person overnight, and no one will not truly open up to you unless they can tell your interest is genuine.

Those who are skilled in Understanding Others know that each human being is a unique individual who brings unique talents and perspectives to the world — and to the work at hand. And those skilled in Understanding Others set out to understand the talents and perspectives of as many people as they can. They love getting to know new people and building relationships. They listen without judgment or prejudice. They are simply eager to learn. They evaluate each person they meet on an individual basis and they don’t buy in to stereotypes.

Understanding Others is a critical skill for a leader because it allows you to build rapport and trust with your employees. You will get to know each individual for who they really are, and you will be better able to assign tasks that fit their unique set of skills. As a result, employees will be more fully engaged and more productive, and your company will be known as a place that truly values its people — a priceless reputation in today’s tight employment market.

If you’d like to develop your ability to Understand Others, start by asking questions. Get to know your colleagues better. Ask about their families, their hobbies, their hopes, their dreams. What is the favorite part of their job? The least favorite? And why. Find out how their career path brought them to your company. Take the time to engage with each person individually and listen attentively. Afterwards, you may even want to write down the highlights of what you learned so you can better recall what they shared. Developing relationships doesn’t happen in a single conversation, of course, so keep at it. The result will be well worth the time you spend.