Self-Awareness Workshops

Are You Superficial?

Most people show the world a superficial face while they boil under the surface. You can tell this is the case by how quickly they react to perceived attacks, withdraw when confronted or get uncomfortable when touchy subjects come up. We’re not accustomed to dealing calmly and candidly with the deeper issues in life, the things that really matter. Here are some examples of the concepts you’ll encounter when you look at yourself in more detail:

  • How you treat yourself.
  • How you treat others.
  • Whether you are living your dreams.
  • What kind of a person you are.
  • Whether you let life happen to you or take control of your destiny.
  • How confident you really are.
  • What kind of relationships you build.
  • Whether you practice self-awareness and take a careful look at how you feel, think and behave.
  • How you deal with the issues that cause you fear or discomfort.
  • Whether you live life authentically or settle for being someone else.

Examining issues like these openly and honestly is a vital part of personal development. Consciously understanding yourself and being willing to work hard on being the most whole person possible will bring you the greatest happiness and success in life. What will you do to look below the surface?

How to Stop Ignoring Diversity

Many leaders try to ignore workplace diversity because they think it means losing power or giving up control to unfamiliar people. What often gets overlooked is that diversity means being able to use the various talents and abilities of your employees and celebrating their ideas and perspectives. Here are some ideas to help you stop ignoring diversity:

  • People may seem different but we all care about our children and want to build a satisfying career.
  • Practice self-awareness by understanding that other people may not have the motives you attribute to them.
  • Different ideas and perspectives add to the knowledge pool in your organization and give you more options.
  • Other people may know things you don’t and help you become wiser.
  • One person can only handle so much. Challenges become less daunting when you have many people with many different brains and talents backing you up.
  • In general, people aren’t out to get you or take your job, so its OK to see them as allies.
  • You seem different to others but they’re willing to work with you.
  • Diversity isn’t threatening unless you decide it is.
  • Listen to people and enjoy learning about them and how they would like to help your organization succeed.

It’s easy to think that diversity is some annoyance that forces you to do things you don’t want to do but it’s a useful tool in any workplace. Every organization is made up of a huge variety of people and leadership decides whether it takes advantage of the available brainpower or keeps people in boxes. Proactive leaders understand that a wide range of perspectives and ideas can build a stronger, more nimble organization. What will you do to celebrate diversity in your workplace?

Take care,


The Undesirable Effects of Workplace Hierarchy

Hierarchy is an inescapable reality in our workplaces even though it stifles creativity and independent thinking. It generally comes from what we saw in our families: One or two people who are in charge, write the law and don’t allow for any input or questioning because it’s against the order they’ve imposed. Leaders who lack self-awareness may not realize how the walls they build between people affect the functioning of their organizations. Authoritarian¬†hierarchy creates many undesirable effects:

  • People don’t feel important.
  • People aren’t heard.
  • All rules are issued from above.
  • Creative thinking is discouraged.
  • Questioning is forbidden.
  • People are labelled and put in boxes.
  • Decision-making is based on rank or status.
  • Leadership enjoys additional perks.
  • People are afraid to think autonomously.
  • Everyone’s role is defined from the top.
  • Little tolerance for new ideas or approaches.

A large percentage of our workplaces are designed to manage and control employees rather than let them shine. The key to creating a dynamic, fluid workplace is to get rid of the barriers between people and encourage them to interact freely and share ideas. Sure, there will be times when leadership has to make a final decision, but it will be less frequent because people are amazingly adept at thinking on their own when we let them. How will you reduce the influence of hierarchy in your workplace?

Take care,


Leadership and Resolving Workplace Conflict

If you’re a leader who values self-awareness, you understand that your actions play a big part in resolving workplace conflict because you set the standard for how people interact and treat each other. Many leadership approaches focus on managing disputes superficially rather than resolving them long-term. Here are some examples of frequently used, ineffective conflict resolution techniques:

  • Agree to disagree.
  • Find out who is wrong.
  • One person dictates a solution.
  • Raise your voice and tell people to stop it or knock it off.
  • Say you’re over it and pretend it never happened but never get over it.
  • Passively or actively make the other person’s life difficult.
  • Discipline the person or send them to HR.

The reason these approaches don’t work is that they don’t address the root cause of the situation or encourage people to work collaboratively to find a solution. Here are some examples of behaviors that work:

  • Agree to behave kindly and respectfully.
  • Agree to work together to resolve the issue.
  • Answer the question, “What’s really going on?”
  • Identify the root cause together.
  • Brainstorm possible ways to fix the situation.
  • Choose a single brainstorm item to start working on together.
  • Encourage each person to choose how he or she will contribute to a resolution.
  • Evaluate progress and make adjustments if necessary.
  • Praise people for their participation.

You get to decide whether you put a band aid on conflict or you resolve it permanently. Savvy leaders enjoy happy workplaces where their employees are trained in how to move past conflicts and interact positively. What will you do to practice long-term conflict resolution?

Take care,


Self-Awareness and The Big Mouth

People who lack self-awareness have no idea what’s coming out of their mouths and they’ll say things that reveal their inner thoughts and get them in trouble at work and at home. We see examples of this all around us when people make sexist, racially tinged or other inappropriate or clumsy comments because they have limited understanding of how their statements might affect others. It happens a lot in the workplace when leaders trample on their employees or hurt them in some way without realizing that there are other options.

A major element of self-awareness is the ability to practice effective communication, as in, thinking before you speak and, more importantly, being as healthy a person as you possibly can be so that you understand how not to step on others. Here are some tips to heal a case of big mouth:

  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Resist the urge to say the first thing that comes to your mind.
  • Ask yourself how your words might be perceived by others.
  • If you think what you have to say might be offensive, it will likely be.
  • Clarify what’s going on by asking open-ended questions.
  • Ask people for feedback.
  • Watch people’s facial expressions and reactions.
  • Choose to step outside yourself and consider others’ feelings.
  • Think of a kind way of saying things.
  • Say things that build people up.
  • Monitor your own body language and reactions.

When you practice these behaviors you’ll run a far smaller risk of finding a foot lodged in your mouth and you’ll build a more compassionate and respectful workplace. You’ll also save time and effort because you won’t have to deal with the misunderstandings or conflicts that arise when the message is clouded by extraneous elements. What will you do to make sure you’re communicating effectively, kindly and compassionately?

Take care,