It can be scary figuring out how to talk to your boss. When is the timing right? How should you begin the conversation? What are the correct questions to ask? Unfortunately, the only way to get better at this is to practice and become aware of the situation and the risks. Situational awareness, or paying attention to your surroundings, can help you succeed in all aspects of your life, including your business relationships and performance.
The best way to practice learning situational awareness is to ask yourself, or others, questions; you need to learn and observe before you can try it yourself. By asking questions, you are opening yourself up to the idea that you do not have all the answers, but all the answers can be found in time. While situational awareness may not begin as second nature, once you start to observe your surroundings and listen to the people you interact with, you will discover that it becomes easier. By simply looking for it, situational awareness presents itself to you.
You may be wondering, “What’s the point? Why practice situational awareness at all? What will I get out of it?” Being aware of the situation makes you a leader – you become observant and know how to respond quickly to tasks, planned or unexpected. In a work environment, your boss will see you as reliable, confident, and trustworthy. If you are able to act quickly and calmly under pressure, you will be the one getting a raise.
There are a few things to note when practicing situational awareness. Trust your gut – your instincts will begin to practice situational awareness before your mind catches up, so listening to your initial gut feeling on a particular matter is, in fact, the beginning of situational awareness. Listen to your co-workers – learn what they do, how they work well, what their project priorities are, and ask for advice when you need help. By communicating with other members of your professional team, you are able to gain more information and be more aware of the situation as a whole, not just your part in the plan. Share your knowledge – providing information to team members and sharing your experiences helps strengthen your leadership skills, creates better communications practices, and makes you look good in front of your boss.
Ways to check your situational awareness are easy to look for, as well. Make sure you aren’t confused about tasks, your information matches with others’, you are able to solve conflicts when they arise, and you know your expectations and limitations. Pushing too hard to get something done undoes the work situational awareness starts. Listen to conflicts and find the solution, communicate all useful information, and makes sure you are aware of the entire process without being fixated solely on the end goal. Additionally, you have to be healthy, both physically and mentally, or situational awareness will not help. You need to be open to suggestions, flexible with plans, able to think on your feet, and resist impulsiveness. When you experience stress, make sure you know how your body will react and how you can combat it. Do you freeze up or panic? Do you run from a situation or blame someone else? Do you make mistakes or ignore problems? Remember being aware of the situation will help you combat these stress symptoms: relax, stay calm, fix the problem promptly, focus on solutions rather than the error itself, get help when you need it, and always have a back-up plan.
Situational awareness will prepare you for the times you need to act quickly and want to take risks in a project. It will calm you when problems arise and train you to be observant in all aspects of life. Ultimately, you will succeed at a greater rate by being aware of your situations and knowing how to deal when the unexpected arrives.
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