Social Awareness in Management

18th October 2022

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

On the 12th of October 2022, UKZN Extended Learning (UEL) hosted the first module of its Emerging Managers Programme (EMP). This programme aims to fill the knowledge gap of individuals entering or aspiring to be in leadership positions within their respective fields. In today’s world, effective leadership requires a heightened degree of social awareness. Technology has reduced the need to physically connect, changing how we communicate, which has defined human culture for many years. Due to these changes, we must listen actively and empathise with the community around us, regardless of the medium of communication.

Individuals with emotional intelligence and self-awareness can understand and manage their emotions and recognise their influence on those around them. In addition to understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses, emerging managers should also recognise their emotions and impact on their team’s performance. Bringing out the best in others requires first bringing out the finest in ourselves, which is where self-awareness comes in. Ms Ntandokazi Qumba (Customer Success Analyst, CloudApper), a delegate on the programme, mentioned:

“There are aspects of ourselves that we are not aware of that are pointed out by other people. It gives us an opportunity to get to know ourselves while nurturing a development area, as it gives us a chance to work on doing better through feedback. Some people can be so unaware of how they affect the next person leading to people gossiping by their back instead of providing feedback.”

Incoming leaders must be able to manage their emotions, which involves coping with stress and maintaining a positive outlook despite setbacks. Those who lack self-management have trouble controlling their impulses and are more likely to react without thinking. Reacting to a situation is much easier than taking the time to respond intuitively. It is easier to transition from reaction to response if you are more in touch with your emotional intelligence.

The ability to read a room is equally significant as understanding and managing your own emotions. To be socially aware, you must be able to recognise the emotions of others within your organisation. In addition, you must recognise the dynamics that are taking place within it. Empathy is a key characteristic of leaders who excel at social awareness. Communicating with colleagues is more effective when their feelings and perspectives are understood.

Those who lead their organisations set the tone of the working environment and culture—further perpetuating the need for emotionally intelligent leadership. Being conscious of one’s ability to perform effectively in their respective role is pertinent. However, this would be futile if they were ineffective at communicating with their peers. Part of the leadership role is to make sure nobody in the team feels less competent than the others. Comprehending colleagues on a deeper level can elevate a person’s career and boost their team’s performance.

Please click here to learn more about our Emerging Managers Programme.

You can also contact us directly for more information on the programme:

Thobeka Malinga

T: +27 31 260 1234