Five Emotional Intelligence Strategies to Develop Others

Master the moment with others: consciously mastering your input and output

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 does it hit 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

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?

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 and emotional intelligence 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 anxiety for 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?

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)

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.”

From an article in Psychology Today, by Relly Nadler Psy.D., M.C.C.

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