Did you know that these two different, but related aspects of collaboration are becoming more and more relevant today?
If you want to learn about this skill, kinaesthetic awareness, and improve your communication and impact, don’t miss the opportunity to join me mid-October for the program Learn communicating with impact – be like an Aikido warrior.

A key personal skill for effective collaboration … kinaesthetic awareness!

Today’s business environment can be seen as a “social economy” which is founded on collaboration. If resources were the competitive advantage of the past, being flexible and collaborative are more likely to drive success going forward, according to Greg Satell. In this respect he states Geoff Colvin, who calls for a shift in emphasis from ‘knowledge workers’ to ‘relationship workers’ with EMPATHY as the most critical 21st century skill.
If empathy is a critical skill, the best way to develop it in my view is by developing your kinaesthetic awareness. This is not just a sensory skill that your body uses to know where it is in space, but also receives the signals when communicating with others.

For me this is the most insightful statement on this topic:

Collaboration requires that we work closely with others,
but the closer you come to others,
the more important it is to know your own boundaries,
needs, and vulnerabilities.

(Bryner & Markova, ‘An Unused Intelligence, Physical Thinking for 21st Century Leadership’)

You may recognise what is meant with kinaesthetic awareness in this example they describe. Have you ever found yourself agreeing to some plan in a meeting and then later been totally confused or angry that you agreed? Somehow your body was signalling ‘no’ to you on the spot, but you didn’t notice.
As a martial artist, I know how important my kinaesthetic awareness is in the interaction with others. Like on the Aikido mat, when you collaborate in the workplace you encounter someone else, whether in the same physical space or virtually. In this interaction there is a continuous flow of information on a verbal level, but more importantly on non-verbal levels. You could consider this as external demands or pressure that you can feel through your bodily senses, e.g. by muscles tensing up, body temperature changes, shallower breathing, etc.
Noticing your physical reactions when you work with others, is a key skill to enable choice in your response.

Anita Paalvast, taking my corporate experience with a top tier bank, and one of the most powerful martial arts systems, I established Aikido@Work in 2009 and work as International Coach, Trainer and Consultant on topics of leadership, communication and collaboration. At the heart of the Aikido@Work approach is exploring and learning through direct experience.