Improving Perception Competencies

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Self-perception competencies

Having self-perception means you can read yourself, and you have self-confidence. It means you’re aware of your emotions and capabilities. When you can read yourself, you know what you do well and what your limits are. You’re open to what your feelings are trying to tell you.

Certain characteristics and behaviors are indicators of poor self-awareness, including projecting emotions, associating emotions with memories or other unpleasant emotions, believing you should feel a different way than you do, refusing to acknowledge feelings or denying them, and blaming others for your feelings.

When you have good self-awareness and can read yourself, you know that your emotions can affect your work and those you work with.

Although some emotions hinder self-awareness, you can use many techniques to improve your ability to read yourself

  • Ask for feedback from people in your life. The 360-degree feedback technique in many companies makes use of this idea. Customers, peers, subordinates, and supervisors can all provide valuable feedback.
  • Only when you identify your strengths and weaknesses will you be able to take stock of your real self. You also need to identify your emotional triggers, which are situations or personalities that provoke an intense emotional response.
  • It’s not enough to just identify your emotions; you must also interpret your emotions and your goals. When you experience emotions, ask “What is this feeling trying to tell me?”
  • Self-observation is enhanced by visualizing yourself as if you were observing someone else. Self-observation and self-curiosity will allow you to tune into yourself and identify even your more subtle moods.
  • Recording your reactions and thoughts in an emotional journal gives you detachment. Just a few minutes a day can help you understand what makes you incompatible with certain people or jobs, and learn ways to deal with it. Understanding the true meaning in your writing may take several weeks.

Social perception competencies

Once you have the ability to read yourself, you need to become socially perceptive. Then you can understand and empathize with others and their emotions, and accurately read even potentially volatile situations and people.

The first competency in the social perception domain is empathizing. Empathizing with others helps you understand what motivates them so that you can better align their goals with organizational goals, provide constructive feedback, and help solve problems. Whenever you deal with another person, ask yourself “What’s this person dealing with right now? What do they want or need from this interaction? What are they feeling?” Asking these questions will help you empathize.

There are several techniques that can improve your skills at feeling empathy for other people

  • Listen first – A real conversation doesn’t consist of just taking turns talking. For empathic listening, you need to hear the other person’s side of the story first, and really listen, without interrupting or getting defensive.
  • Stand in their shoes – Create empathy and understanding by trying to stand in someone’s shoes for a while. Write down what you know about a person’s interests, background, and situation. Write in the first person, as though you are the person.
  • Find common ground – When you search for common ground, focus on the characteristics in someone that are the same as yours and that are positive. This helps raise your awareness of what the other person is feeling.

The second competency in the social perception domain is reading the big picture. An accurate high-level view allows you, as a leader, to better address conflict and other problems among employees. It also helps you cultivate positive relationships and detect key power relationships and networks.

There are some specific techniques you can use to enhance your awareness of the big picture:

  • To track emotions during meetings, check your understanding of what coworkers are communicating by stating in your own words what you think they’re feeling when they make a statement.
  • To analyze the organizational culture, you uncover written and unwritten rules, as well as determine which actions are rewarded and how mistakes are handled. You must also ascertain goals and missions, and interpret benefits and other organizational gestures for the values they represent.

You can assess the company culture by asking yourself certain questions

  • Do I fully understand the organizational structure?
  • Can I accomplish things both formally and informally?
  • Do I know who the key decision makers are?
  • Can I recognize who influences whom and who seeks advice from whom?
  • Do I know who has worked together and for how long?

Having strong self-perception and social awareness will allow you to communicate well with others, manage conflicts, and lead effectively. Self-awareness means being aware of your emotions, strengths, limits, and capabilities. Social competencies are especially important when you have to interact with customers, coworkers, and teams.

Techniques you can use to enhance the self-perception competency of reading yourself include soliciting feedback from multiple sources; identifying your strengths, weaknesses, and emotional triggers; interpreting your goals and feelings; self-observation; and recording your reactions and thoughts.


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