Whenever you’ve tried to pursue something – a fruitful job interview, a presentation well done, or a healthy relationship with your virtual team – you may have heard the age-old advice: “just be yourself”. Even we have said it. To be yourself, you have to recognize and acknowledge everything about yourself – even the bad stuff. You must know yourself wholly.
What does it mean to know your whole self?
We have talked about the shadow self before and how engaging with our shadow selves helps us gain greater self-awareness and heightens our empathy for others.
Imagine yourself driving a car; the space behind the passenger seat just outside your door that isn’t visible to your side mirror is your blind spot. Your blind spot is similar to the shadow self: it is not visible until you make the conscious effort to turn your head and see what is or isn’t there. Failing to see or acknowledge your blind spot is dangerous and can cause accidents.
Not acknowledging a car in your blind spot and risking a car crash is similar to not acknowledging the qualities in yourself you may not like and risking another sort of crash – a breakdown of a relationship with a virtual team member, for example.
How can your blind spot affect your virtual team so much?
In a face-to-face environment, body language is present along with verbal correspondence to communicate with your team. You get immediate reactions from others and you can respond instantaneously.
In a virtual team, it can be more challenging to know your virtual team mates’ reactions to you. Behind a computer screen or on the other end of a telephone line, it can be easier for a slighted team member to hide or disguise his or her disengagement, annoyance, or anger.
In a virtual workplace, without the aid of indicators like a half-smile or crossed arms, your knowledge of yourself can help you navigate through your virtual team and help strengthen your relationships rather than hurt them.
How does not knowing yourself impact your relationship with others?
If you have a quality that causes strain in your relationships, you must identify this problematic quality and take ownership of it. Taking ownership means that you can take control of it; you can work through it, you can change it, you can stop it.
Seeing what is in your blind spot is empowering! It lets you know if and when you can change lanes to get to where you want to be.
What conscious efforts do you make to ensure you have a good handle on your blind spots?