The #1 skill your workplace needs

By CLAIRE MARKWICK

There are no shortage of blog posts, articles, stories and books on what it takes to build a high performing team.  There have been things written on the subject for decades and no doubt will be for decades to come.

Get a group of people together in a room to complete a set task and I can guarantee there will be some degree of chaos while the natural order of things plays out.  Someone will want to take charge and jump to get started right away; while someone else will prefer a slower, more methodical approach to ensure everything is covered. 

You’ll have the person that wants to analyse all the facts and asks a lot of questions; while having someone else wanting to start a brainstorming session to consider the thoughts and opinions of all those in the room!

“As humans, we are hardwired to take the path of least resistance…”

What we each consider the “right” way of going about things will differ and as such it likely won’t be too long before our group of people begins to fracture and break off to form smaller clicks with those who think the same way.

It’s naturally what happens.

As human beings we are hardwired to take the path of least resistance and so if we are faced with working with someone who thinks the same as us and agrees with us; or to work with someone who challenges us; which one do you think we are most likely to gravitate towards?

Consider a time when you have gone somewhere new where there is a room full of people you don’t know; how long does it take before people start to gravitate towards those who are “the same?”

Without realising it, we can bring this unconscious behavior into our workplaces too.  There will be people we are naturally connected with and those who press our buttons.  Consider how might this play out in an interview situation for example or when choosing a team for a project?

Has there ever been a time where choosing someone “the same” has just felt like the easiest option?

Does that mean it is the right option?

As businesses grow, there is a need for the workforce to grow.

There are many things that we might choose to consider when building a team, such as what job do I need the person to do?  Who will they be working with?  What skills, experience or qualifications does that person need?

When we think about listing the top skills that we need in the workplace; again, there might be any number that come to mind…confidence; communication; influence; determination; assertiveness; a fast learner; the ability to use our initiative or work autonomously…the list goes on.

These are without doubt, fine qualities that would be beneficial in all workplaces; though I do not believe them to be the top skill.  For in my, humble opinion, there is one thing that far outweighs anything else when it comes to a top skill; something in fact that even trumps technical expertise…

…self-awareness.

With self-awareness comes an understanding of how we are; how we operate and how we interact;

With self-awareness comes the appreciation that others see the world differently;

With self-awareness we can identify those with whom we don’t have a natural connection and can learn to adapt to form better working relationships.

Imagine a workforce of self-aware people.  

A team who understood themselves and each other.

What could they achieve?

How much self-awareness do you feel you have?

What about others in your business or organisation?

How does that play out in the team?

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