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IC Personal Competency 2: Self-awareness

This competency requires, first and foremost, a high level of sensitivity, empathy and perceptiveness. It entails two complementary elements. Firstly, a person needs to be sensitive to how s/he behaves in relation to others and to anticipate how others may react to the behaviour. Secondly, a person needs to be perceptive in ‘reading’ other people’s reactions to his/her behaviour so that if necessary, s/he can make adjustments to what s/he says or does.
Case Study Example: Minimal Self-awareness
At the beginning of the eChina-UK Programme, British and Chinese project members needed to meet each other and jointly develop a project plan for collaborative working. In one meeting, one of the British senior project members [Brit 18], who had not met any of the Chinese visitors before, started the meeting with a monologue lasting nearly nine minutes. The programme manager [Brit 17] was concerned that the Chinese partners were having difficulty following the flow of the argument, so the following interchange occurred:
Brit 17:
Can we step back a bit because we’re getting a bit detailed?
Brit 18:
Am I losing you?
Ch 20:
Well to me it’s a bit too detailed, can you give me an overall picture?
The British senior project member [Brit 18] displayed very little self-awareness during those first nine minutes. He had no sense that the Chinese partners were unable to follow the detail of his monologue, and even after this intervention, he quickly reverted to further long-winded monologue. No matter whether he was interacting with Chinese partners or with unfamiliar members of other eChina-UK projects, he was extraordinarily unaware of how he was coming across to others. (cf. Attuning)
cift_arrow.gif Tip: Choose a colleague whom you get on well with and trust, and who attends some of the same meetings as you. Ask him/her to pay attention to the ways in which others react to you, and discuss your impressions afterwards.