Originally published in Psychology Today by Relly Nadler.
Five Emotional Intelligence Strategies with Others: Mastering the Moment
In the last blog I started with strategies to raise your emotional intelligencefor yourself. In this next in the series we will look at strategies to raise your emotional intelligence with others.
Mastering the Moment
Your success or underperforming all happens in the moment. What is your response in each situation? Is it emotionally intelligent or exceptional or just average? The key is consciously mastering your input and output. What data do you get from yourself and others and then how do you proactively respond. Like a musician is your output on pitch, harmonious and hits just the right notes that it resonates well with your listeners.
The formula for top performance we have been using is E x I x C.
Empathy x Insight x Clarity = Top 10 % Performance
This next in the series will be on developing empathy or actions with others. These are some of the key actions that I talk about in my corporate trainings and executive coaching.
1. Connect before you Direct
When dealing with your direct reports, your team or your family can you take the first 3-4 minutes to truly connect with them. It is a micro-initiative. This is a way to assess the data coming in to you from them versus just giving them your output. It demonstrates you care about them as person versus someone to do something for you. The connection is really a bond between the two of you; they will be more committed to you and the action if they “feel” that connection. It is an energetic connection.
In this connection before direction you may notice their eyes are red, good data to know and may ask, Are you OK? Are you feeling alright, your eyes are red? They may have been up all night feeling sick or with a sick child, do you notice this data?
In another blog, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/leading-emotional-intelligence/201511/the-10-reasons-why-you-need-emotional-intelligence, I stated the main things followers want from the leader from Bob Nelson and Gallup 1) to feel they have a seat at the special table, 2) that their opinions count and 3) they are acknowledged for the good work they do, to name a few of the engagement factors. Connecting before you directcan help you build strong and committed relationships.
What are the things you have in common with them? We know everyone is different, some people we talk about our pets, our kids, sports, vacations, exercise, food or books.
Actions: Start your conversation by checking in with them. What do you have in common with them? You should have at least one thing for each person you interact with. Show interest in who they are as a person and that you know something about them. How are you doing? Did you watch that sporting event? How is your son or daughter doing in school? How is your project coming along? Write down the name of their wife, kids, and hobbies they have so you remember this input from them.
2. A Great Leader SITS more than Talks, SITS stands for Stay In Their Story
Most of us listen with intent to reply. Think about whose story are you in, yours or theirs? It is too easy and common to share your story about the topic. Listening is staying and exploring their story.
A great way to connect and demonstrate your empathy is to truly listen rather than selectively listen. We tell our corporate training groups, no one knows you SEE their perspective until you SAY their perspective. Can you repeat back to them what you heard in a summary, highlighting the content of what they said but also the feelings they are expressing. The feeling words should jump out to you like “blinking words” that help you direct your comments.
For example they say: “I am so frustrated now they moved the deadline back and I’m ready to pull my hair out, this always happens.” You say: “I can understand how frustrating (blinking word) that is for you, you have been working your tail off, what are thinking of doing now”?
What helps is to be truly curious of their experience ask questions that follow-up on what they just said. Never leave a comment of theirs hanging, ask the next question.
Pause before you respond and let what someone said resonate for a moment. Follow up with a question that lets them go deeper into what they just said. Get good at paraphrasing what was said. If you are on target they will feel it and talk more about it. Remember SITS, don’t share your story about the same topic until you have fully explored their story.
3. Leadership Clarity, is the target clear?
How clear are you when you give directions or your thoughts on things? We all believe that “because I said it therefore they got it.”
Stephen Covey has said 60% of business problems are unclear expectations. I like Rudy Tanzi’s definition of stress as “unmet expectations” for yourself or from others. If your communication was a target are people hitting the bull’s eye with understanding exactly what you just said?
If you are on automatic as we all are the bottom line of your communication most likely will be you will be misunderstood or misinterpreted. What do you need to do to prevent this?
Actions: Take a 100% responsibility for what you are sending to others. Have you thought about the key bullet points you want to express? Can you say it in as few words as possible that forces you to select just the right words? Also take 100% responsibility for the receiving of what you said. What did they hear you say? Can you check for their interpretation or their take away from what you said?
4. Develop, stretch and delegate to strengths
Do you know the strengths of your people? Who is the person best to start a project or the person to finish and get closure on a project? Who is the best person in cross departmental relations? These could be three different people on your team.
Are you giving them stretch goals but just the right amount? Dr. John Luckner from University of Northern Colorado talks about giving Input +1. That is input and a stretch that is attainable for them. It can create anxietyfor them to gather up their resources but not overwhelm them. One person may be at Input + 1 on your team where another is Input + 3 and overwhelmed and less chance of being successful. Do you know just the right stretch for each of your direct reports?
A good strategy is to cross train your people where you have people teaching each other their strengths.
Actions: You can use assessments like Strength Finder, 2.0 from Gallup, Values In Action from authentichappiness.com to establish the strengths of your team. Also you can ask them about what are their strengths, when they feel in flow and what is a stretch goal for them while in your one on one conversations with them.
5. Turn every Success into a Process
Are you making or breaking their day? Leaders usually underestimate their influence over others. What you say to them has a long half-life. You may have moved on from the communication with them but they are probably still carrying it and you with them.
When things go right find out how they did it so it can be repeated. There are processes for all the important functions in the organization. Can you make your leadership conversations into a process for how to repeat successes.
Teresa Amabile of Harvard in her Inner Work Life HBR article found that when you acknowledge progress of employees they were “more creative, productive, committed to the work, and collegial when they have positive inner work lives.” (Amabile, 2011)
Actions: You can use the acronym POWRR to remind you to highlight what was done well. POWRR stands for :
Point Out What was Right and you want to see Repeated.
“Mary great job on your presentation, you prepared well, collaborated with others, kept me informed and had good presence in front others, these all things to keep doing as they worked well in this situation.”
See the next blog for more actions to raise emotional intelligence for you and your direct reports.
In Leading with Emotional Intelligence there are over 100 strategies that leaders can do to increase and sustain their performance. A few micro initiatives can have a macro impact. For free EI tools go to: www.truenorthleadership.com/ei-central
Amabile, T and Steven Kramer, (2007) Inner Work Life: Understanding the Subtext of Business Performance” HBR May 2007
Covey, S. (1989)The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Utah: Franklin Covey Publishing
Gallup Report: “What Separates Great Managers From the Rest,” May 12, 2015 Gallup http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/183098/report-separates-great-mana…
Gallup Company, Gallup Management Journal, gallup.com/consulting
Luckner, JLL in Nadler, R. (2011) in Leading with Emotional Intelligence: Strategies for Building Confidant and Collaborative Star Performers NY: McGraw-Hill
Nelson, B (2012) 1501 Ways to Reward Employees, NY: Workman Publishing
Tanzi, R. (2016) Super Genes and Personal communication, Leadership Development News, AZ: Voice America