Situational Awareness: How to Stop Hitting People with Bats

I woke up remembering that I hit a girl with a baseball bat. I was taking practice swings during recess, and I struck her on the left side of her head. I think I was in fourth grade, but I’m not sure. I am sure of the look on her face.

She looked horrified. I remember her left hand going to the side of her head and her shocked eyes. My memory stops there.

The bat must have glanced off. There was no blood. I have no recollection of the aftermath or any consequences for my neglect. I see her face in my memory, but don’t remember her name. I cringe every time her eyes come to mind.

Only a psychopath enjoys unintentionally harming anyone.

Situational awareness:

Situational awareness protects you from unintentionally harming others.

Tune in:

Distracted leaders don’t know what’s going on around them and can’t see what’s in front of them.

You’re having a conversation and thinking about the next thing on your agenda, for example. You don’t intend to, but distracted attention devalues people.

When you can’t give someone undivided attention, try saying, “I want to give you my full attention. I have a meeting in five minutes. Could we connect after the meeting?”

Situational awareness is:

Situational awareness is noticing.

  1. Notice the environment.
  2. Watch faces.
  3. Hear tone.
  4. Mention it. “I could be wrong, but something feels off. What’s happening?”
  5. Ask, “What should I be noticing?”

Situational awareness is pulling back from the next thing. Release thoughts of the next thing so you can focus on this thing.

Situational awareness is knowing the backstory of team members.

Situational awareness is respecting the agenda of others. Your busyness isn’t permission to disrupt workflow and cause unintended harm.

How might leaders practice situational awareness today?

What makes being present difficult for you?