“It’s a new day, and we must make every effort to bring our Best Selves to work,” asserts Ed Hess, author of Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change. “If we don’t, we won’t be contributors to the innovation, collaboration, and ongoing learning that defines those companies that are able to adapt to a fast-moving world.”

Hess says this is not just about “playing nice” with the other kids in the sandbox. “If you don’t show up in a way that contributes to the success of that sandcastle, you’re by default an active participant in tearing it down,” he adds. “The more you can be your Best Self at work, the more relevant and employable you’ll be.”

Seven Behaviours That Show What Your Best Self Looks Like

What does your Best Self look like? While this list isn’t the be-all end-all, Hess says if you exemplify these seven behaviours, you’re doing pretty well. 

BEHAVIOUR 1: You are able to manage your Inner World.

The best thinkers, the best learners, the best collaborators, and the best listeners have learned how to manage their Inner World—their ego, mind, body, and emotions. This means you have a quiet ego and are open-minded and good at “not knowing.” You don’t reflexively defend, deny, or deflect when someone challenges you. You are willing to change your position when you get better evidence. When talking to others, you have a quiet mind and are fully present and focused totally on listening and trying to understand what the other person is saying. You control your negative emotions and rarely fly off the handle.

Red Flags: A person who can’t “manage self” has to always be right. Others may describe you as defensive, arrogant, judgmental, or super-opinionated. 

BEHAVIOUR 2: You have an “Otherness” focus.

No one achieves success by themselves. In the Digital Age, success will be highly dependent upon your ability to build caring, trusting relationships at work that enable the highest levels of thinking and learning with others. Otherness is a mindset—a belief that you need the help of others to see what you don’t see because of the human tendency to seek confirmation of what you believe. It’s also a behavior—behaving in ways that show you respect the human dignity of the other person. 

Red Flags: You rarely ask others for help. You believe you are better than most people. In the Digital Age, a competitive, survival-of-the-fittest mindset will be the quickest pathway to failure. 

BEHAVIOUR 3: You emotionally connect in positive ways.

Positive emotions enable better learning, better decision-making, and more willingness to explore, create, and innovate. A positive emotional environment liberates people to sync their positivity with each other and be fully engaged without the limitations of worries, insecurities, and fears. This creates the opportunity to have high-quality conversations that can result in team flow that can lead to “wow” results. You behave in respectful ways to others even if you disagree with what is being said. You express gratitude often (i.e., “thank you,” “I appreciate that,” “you are kind”).

Red Flags: You are rude to others. You use body language that says, I am not really listening to you or I am dominant. You put others down. You are closed-minded or not engaged. You are constantly interrupting, raising your voice, or getting ready to attack verbally.

BEHAVIOUR 4: You enable effective collaboration.

Effective collaboration begins with leaders setting an example. You know how to set up meetings so that people feel psychologically “safe” to join in. During meetings, your people are fully present, attentive, and connected to each other. Everyone gets to speak. People challenge the status quo and seek the best possible idea, regardless of the status or position of who suggested it.

Red Flags: You dominate and aggressively push your views. Meetings are not genuine open discussions—the answer is predetermined, and your real goal is consent and compliance. Some of your people don’t speak up at all. Too often, your critiques get personal.

BEHAVIOUR 5: You practice reflective listening.

You allow others to talk. You reframe what you think the other person is saying, to make sure you understand. You ask clarifying questions before telling, advocating, or disagreeing. When you do disagree, you critique the idea, not the person.

Red Flags: You don’t make eye contact. You interrupt. You multi-task during meetings. You are a great “teller,” not a great listener. 

BEHAVIOUR 6: You possess courage.

In the Digital Age, everyone will have to excel at going into the unknown and figuring things out. That takes courage. You also understand that most learning comes from having conversations with people who have different views from you. You don’t mind having respectful difficult conversations. You volunteer for new projects, openly share your views, and ask for lots of feedback.

Red Flags: You are unwilling to take risks. You appear guarded and closed-lipped. Because you fear making mistakes or looking bad, you rarely step out of your comfort zone.

BEHAVIOUR 7: You enable and participate in evidence-based decision-making.

You are not married to your ideas. You are open-minded. You never assume. You are always seeking data, even if it will disconfirm your theory or even force a return to the drawing board. You seem to get the statement “I am not my ideas” on a deep level.

Red Flags: You defend your ideas even when there’s no data to support them. You rarely ask for the input of others (and if it’s given, you don’t listen to it). You are invested in being “right.”

Becoming your Best Self is a never-ending journey. But there are many things you can do to accelerate your growth, from meditating to practicing gratitude to setting daily intentions. All of these efforts combined enable you to begin to cast off unwanted behaviours and replace them with the key behaviours that make Hyper-Learning possible and bring out your Best Self at work.

Source: Value Walk