There is no “fast forward” button. There is no shortcut, no “work around,” no Cliff’s Notes.
You have to do the work. And there is a hierarchy that can be learned, can even be mastered, but only over time and through experience, persistence, patience and a deep commitment to continuous learning:
Self-awareness: you accurately notice yourself, both your inner state and your behaviors – especially under stress.
Self-management: armed with your awareness of what you feel and how you act – again, especially under stress – you are able to anticipate and redirect yourself into more positive and beneficial behaviors.
Social awareness: perhaps the greatest gift of self-awareness and self-management is that it makes you keenly, empathetically aware of other’s feelings. Once you become fluent in your own emotional state you are capable of acknowledging the emotional states of others.
Relationship management: because you notice more you are prepared to respond well. You are prepared to stay present with another person as they experience a difficult emotional state and help them to work through it constructively.
As I ask my students: You will be a great accountant. So great, in fact, that you are promoted to management. And in your first week as a manager, an employee, formerly a peer, comes to your office to tell you that his mother has died suddenly. She had been sick but was expected to recover. The loss is sudden and your employee is shattered. He breaks down in tears standing in your doorway. What do you do?
What do you do?
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.