Guest Post: How to Build True Relational Capital

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Turn Self-Awareness Into Other-Awareness

By Joleen Graumann

Relational capital is an intangible resource.

Even so, we live in an age where relational capital has surged in value. Nurturing and managing healthy relationships is key to both personal and commercial success. Self-awareness – the ability to see personal strengths and weaknesses objectively – plays a big part in building relational capital. So not surprisingly, the self-awareness movement is gaining rapid widespread acclaim right along with the relational capital movement.

For instance, there is no shortage of personality assessments you can take to develop self-awareness. Google “personality assessment” and you’ll get about 264,000,000 results in 0.61 seconds. Search Amazon for “personality assessment” and you’ll get over 10,000 hits.

The topic of healthy relationships, too, stays in the headlines. Gary Chapman’s book 5 Love Languages, a modern classic on building healthy relationships first published in 1992, still ranks on Amazon’s Bestseller List at #5. Meanwhile, other similar books and tools remain on center stage: The Road Back to You ranks #44 in Self Help … Emotional Intelligence clocks in at #88 … even  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, conceived in the 1960s, remains a timeless children’s book that teaches the value of differences and ranks #29 in popularity among consumers.

If there’s any question that people are looking for ways to grow in self-awareness and to build relational capital, Stanford University puts that to rest: it now offers a class on Emotional Intelligence.

The plethora of information can be overwhelming. As you’re working towards becoming self-aware, how do you choose an authentic and helpful personality assessment? And once you have that information, what do you do with it?

Three Things to Know About Self-Awareness

The first thing you must understand about self-awareness is that no one else defines you. Remember this powerful truth: your identity is in Christ Jesus. You are who He says you are.

Second, understand how you are made. God created you on purpose and in His image. You are finely and divinely woven together to function as you. There is no one else with your mix of personality, abilities, passions, gifting, and experiences. You are a fingerprint upon this world—no one else is like you, with your unique individuality.

Third, begin to understand yourself not only to become self-aware but also in order to appreciate others around you. Valuing the differences in others is both insightful and breathtaking. One of my favorite tools to use for this purpose is the Leading From Your Strengths Assessment. As you value what other people have to offer, you will recognize that God has crafted us all to support and work with each other. His handiwork in our differences is an amazing gift.

Turn Self-Awareness Around to Other-Awareness

In this day we are upended in the workplace. Now more than ever is a time to cultivate and invest in the relational capital that God offers us. Take the time to get to know the people on your team. Ask them to complete the Leading From Your Strengths profile. Check to make sure you have the right people in the right places and with the right fit. Allow your team members the opportunity to reflect on their individual self-awareness and get to know you and the people around them.

When you’re in the midst of a season when you don’t feel you’re moving forward or it seems like your hands are tied, take stock of something that you can do: show people you want to get to know them better and that you truly value the person they are. Check-in with them. Let them know how much you value them.  Say, “Hey, you know, whenever I need _________, you’re the person I come to. Do you know that? You really make a difference in my life.”

This all points to the fact that self-awareness isn’t just about knowing your own strengths. It’s about knowing the strengths of others and valuing those strengths.

And that kind of knowledge builds true relational capital.

Joleen Graumann is a wife, stay at home-home schooling mama, writer & creative communicator. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in English and a minor in Romance Linguistics. Joleen is a Level I & II certified trainer in Leading From Your Strengths and uses her skills as a writer and communications coach. She and her family make their home in Seattle, WA.

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