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Self-aware and self-managing – do you know the difference?

In fact the difference between being self-aware and self-managing is about the size of an elephant!

Well, do you talk too much in meetings or with friends and then make it all ok in your own head because ‘they know what you’re like’ and you have so many exciting ideas and interesting things to say? Have you ever stopped to wonder why others may not speak in meetings where you are present? Do you perhaps think it’s because they have nothing to say, they are dull or they have not got the bottle to speak out, or has it crossed your mind that the actual problem may be you?

The two areas I am writing about today have become elements to prove competence for the new suite of vocational standards for all levels of management.

Self-awareness means that you know that you talk too much but self-management means doing something about it like learning to shut up! You can only really start to take control of yourself if you learn to stop and think, be more aware of what you are doing – not what others are or are not doing. Be aware that yours is the only voice heard and it may not be because you are the most interesting person on earth.

Have you ever asked yourself why you have so much to say? Why you need to be the first to speak or the one to have the last word? The answer to that question may help you to understand why you don’t give others a chance. It could be that you don’t think others will speak because that is your experience, it may be that you are afraid they will say something stupid or it’s something that you need to own and execute… another job! There will be a reason and whatever it is it has caused you to develop a habit (that may be very difficult to break).

Here’s a thought – if you attend a meeting and at the end of it you only know what you went into the room with – was it worth your while turning up? Could you have told them everything in an email instead and saved everyone time and money? Giving up the things that you are comfortable doing is akin to giving up drinking or smoking – it takes a decision to do it and focus to see it through. Start by noticing what you do and then understanding why you do it and then what you will lose if you stop doing it, then set about a plan to make the changes that you want you to make.

People who manage themselves well become much stronger leaders and better respected by others for their ability to recognise when to change behaviours.

Penny Whitelock FinstLM

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