Context is Everything

Context is Everything

The idea of social awareness makes us think of the human component. But one of the most overlooked social awareness skills is reading the situation & understanding what it calls for.

An easy way to analyze the situation is to use the DISC framework*. Usually we think of the tool as applying to people’s styles. There is a time and place for each of them, but each is more useful in a particular context. 

Start by looking at the situation to figure out if it is conceptual vs detailed and task vs people oriented.  You can sort situations into which approach is needed of the four styles:

– Goal-oriented: Decisive, competitive, independent, assertive

– Group-oriented: Optimistic, enthusiastic, persuasive, innovative

– Relationship-oriented: Helpful, calm, consistent, empathetic

– Detail-Oriented: Organized, efficient, accurate, logical

With this information in mind, you can shift into gear that best fits the scenario. Even if it isn’t your natural style, you can do it well with some extra energy and thought.

Let’s practice. Which style would you use?

  • You are representing your company at a networking event and want to make connections.
    • Don’t get too detailed about operations. This is the time to be very social, upbeat and friendly. (I)
  • A coworker has just lost a close family member.
    • Don’t ask for too many details or tell them to cheer up or move on. They need support and understanding. (S)
  • You are telling an IT tech about your computer problem.
    • They don’t need to know how annoyed you are that the thingamajig isn’t doing what it’s supposed to.  Tell them exactly what isn’t working & what the error message said exactly. ( C)
  • You are talking to your manager who is running late to a meeting.
    • No time for pleasantries. If you can’t wait until after the meeting, get to the point quickly. (D)

You have your own natural style and you shouldn’t change it. Just be aware that it won’t always serve you well. You will be much more successful when you flex to the situation and meet the people you are working with in the middle.

* Schedule a free coaching session if you want to find out how they will help you and your team improve communication, prevent and resolve conflict, develop leadership skills, and master innovation.