Is It Time for Self-​Awareness Training for Managers?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are your team members coming to you with the same old complaints about a co-​worker or a manager? It may be time for self-​awareness training for managers in your organization. One place to start is to understand the difference between self-​awareness and behaving badly.

Self-​Awareness Versus Behaving Badly

John Hall outlined the difference between lacking self-​awareness and behaving badly in his recent Forbes column. Leaders should understand this difference. A manager who claims they brought a client to the company, when they know that one of their employees did, is behaving badly. When a manager denies missing a deadline that everyone knows about, they are not self-​aware. A manager who behaves badly may need to hear some feedback about changing their ways, along with a note being added to their personnel file. If they indicate they are interested in changing they'll benefit from training designed to improve their self-awareness.

Research shows that up to 32% of employees cite bosses for having self-​awareness problems. When a sales manager suffers from a lack of self-​awareness, team members lose motivation. And eventually, productivity and sales take a hit. According to our research, up to 80% of sales reps who experience toxic behavior in the workplace, whether it's from a co-​worker or a manager, leave the organization.

Identifying Self-​Awareness Issues

Self-​awareness training for managers means treading carefully. If you've been hearing complaints, these managers likely have trouble working with others. They may also have developed elaborate defense mechanisms. In many cases, these mechanisms are what’s keeping them from accepting the truth about themselves. For example, they tend to be defensive when you give them honest feedback. They also believe their work is better than it is.

How To Help

When you need to improve the working conditions in the office by talking to your abrasive employee, plan your strategy in advance. Keep in mind that you’re not going to be able to change many things about your employee. You also don’t have to leave them feeling that they’ve been attacked for who they are naturally.

Given those conditions, try to be specific. Pull the employee into a private space and let them know that their loud phone conversations full of graphic details about their night life make it hard for their team members to concentrate. If it’s appropriate, give the employee an example of how you had to change some of your behavior to improve the office environment for everyone else. When you keep the tone positive and update, your employee may change their behavior, and everyone will benefit.

And don't forget to insist that the employee enroll in self-​awareness training for managers. This kind of training may involve role-​playing to help the manager understand how employees feel when they don't receive empathetic guidance. A good training program may also emphasize the importance of thinking before speaking. Consistent work on their level of self-​awareness will help your sales managers improve.