25 February 2016
Did you see that angry Dinosaur?
I was recently sat in a hotel lounge, waiting for my client and thinking through the up-coming discussion about their Emotional Intelligence Profile (EIP).
Just as I was turning-up my ”awareness-of-others antennae”, I couldn’t help but pick up on the conversation happening at the next table. It wasn’t the topic that caught my attention it was the behaviours of the people involved and the dynamic between them. The outcome was unsatisfactory for both parties and a great example of high versus low emotional intelligence was playing out right in front of me.
With similar things happening in businesses up and down the country and every day, the total cost in time, energy, cash and lost opportunity must be staggering.
This is how their meeting went.
A disgruntled customer was trying to share their feedback with their supplier. The customer clearly and objectively set out their ‘experience’ of the supplier and quality of their work, what hadn’t lived up to expectations and how they would like to move forward. There were no derisory tones or raised voices (so called emotional put-downs), just what sounded like a very balanced and calm perspective on the situation. What a professional discussion I thought until the supplier responded.
With arms folded, chair pushed back a bit, the excuses came in torrents. Not in any constructive way but defensive, then blaming, then aggressive. After all, if you can’t argue with the logic presented to you, losing your temper is the best way forward - right?
Twenty minutes later they parted, with no solution and I suspect a fatally damaged business relationship and a contract soon-to-be terminated. The probable result therefore was loss of cash-flow and eroded business reputation.
So what was going on and where might better use of emotional intelligence (EI) help “angry Dinosaurs” avoid the consequences of poor behaviour?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) determines how we manage ourselves and our relationships. It’s the key link between our personality, how we perform and the results we deliver. Better use of EI therefore helps us build more effective relationships, adapt our style to suit differing situations and create an environment that allows those around us to flourish.
If we look back at the conversation witnessed, the customer appeared to approach the situation with a good degree of emotional intelligence: self awareness, regard and empathy for the supplier. They had considered the needs of both parties and as a result appeared authentic, honest and composed throughout.
With the second party, the opposite was true: no regard or empathy for the other person, zero flexibility and little control in the way of emotional expression. The resulting behaviour was aggressive, counter-productive and a small but perfectly-formed step toward business extinction.
All is not lost though. The great thing about EI is that it generally improves with age and can be developed with focussed training. By understanding underlying attitudes and how these drive behaviours, we can help people focus on those aspects of EI that will have most impact on their performance.
This is where an Emotional Intelligence Profile (EIP) is a highly effective tool for identifying where to start. When used in combination with positive coaching we can help individuals focus on:
- underlying attitudes and beliefs associated with self-regard and regard for others,
- how feelings and emotions affect awareness of themselves and others,
- how feelings drive behaviours such as managing conflict and emotional control.
For any angry Dinosaurs out there who want to change, first recognising how they are feeling in certain situation can trigger them to take steps and intervene when the wrong (habitual) behaviours start to surface. After that, practice makes perfect and over time new habits form. It is examples such as these which really make the difference in work and social lives.
When aspiring to be a great leader building a better business, consider IQ and technical skills as just the entry level requirements. Heightened Emotional Intelligence is what will set you apart from the good to become great.Amanda Green, Founder Thomas Green Partners