If you’re wondering why people are always leaving your meetings bummed out or why most of your conversations end with the other person feeling upset or hurt, chances are, your E.I tank is completely empty.
People who lack emotional intelligence are for the most part, usually extremely smart people. They have high IQs, are solution-oriented and are normally well prepared with facts and figures to support their argument. In general, they are not bad people nor do they have ill intent. They simply have a poor way of communicating with people in a way that connects their thoughts, words and ideas to the emotions of others.
You can spot someone who has an empty E.I tank a mile away by some of these famous phrases they tend to overuse. “I’m just stating the facts”, “You can take it or leave it”, “The only choice you have is this”. Sound familiar? If this sounds like a leader you know, hold on to your seat or even better if it sounds like you, grab a mirror! I’m going to give you three of the most effective ways to fill your E.I tank and to build better, stronger relationships with your followers and others whom are important to you.
Let’s first start by quickly defining Emotional Intelligence and exploring why it so significant. E.I is your ability to manage the emotions of other people while also managing your own. This means being aware of how your words or actions, may effect someone else. The main attributes include being aware of the emotions involved, being able to effectively regulate emotions and then applying them to productive tasks such as thinking or problem solving.
Sound like a lot? Well, it can be if you don’t have a genuine interest in people or if you’re easily stressed by unexpected or emotional responses from others. People with a high E.I can quickly identify when a situation calls for a “certain type” of response or when a “gentle touch” is needed to broach a conversation. They can anticipate a person’s reaction and proactively prepare to respond in a way that is non-threatening and calming for the other person.
In no way does this suggest that people with high E.I can predict every single challenge or emotional response that another person may have. This only suggests that they are keenly aware of how they deliver messages, especially tough ones and how they interact with others so that their words and\or behaviors are not intentionally offensive or damaging to the other person’s emotions. People who lack E.I don’t care about how their words make you feel. Their main concern is that their words are factual and that the message is delivered to the person who needs to hear it. In short, their delivery sucks and it drives good people away.
So, what are some ways that you can fill your E.I tank once you’ve identified a shortage. Here are three things you can put into action RIGHT NOW.
#1 – Listen More. People who have the most E.I are great listeners and they understand the value of allowing a person to decompress. Yes, listening to a person cry and complain about all the things going wrong in their life can be a daunting and draining task when its allowed to become a habit. People who have high E.I know that allowing a person to vent provides a unique opportunity for them to redirect the person’s thoughts, actions and behaviors once they’ve earned that right through listening to understand. You see, when a person feels understood they are more open to your ideas and suggestions because it is now known that you’re coming from a place of care and concern. People with low E.I miss this opportunity because the person doesn’t get a chance to feel that your responses are out of care or concern so they can easily be mistaken for a personal attack or patronizing. It doesn’t matter how genuine your concern is, if the other person cannot sense it, it doesn’t exist.
#2 - Practice Empathy. Like its counterpart listening, empathy helps to break down walls and barriers. Empathy is arguably the most important element of E.I because it is the ability to relate and place yourself in someone else’s shoes. Even if you have never experienced the situation for yourself or maybe you have but handled it more effectively, empathy is important because it allows you to identify with the wants, needs and viewpoints of the other person. Understanding that this is different for everyone you encounter is important. You cannot show genuine empathy if you treat every person and every situation the same. People with high E.I recognize the emotions of others almost immediately even if those emotions are not apparent and they always avoid judging or stereotyping. If you’re struggling with empathy, challenge yourself to start with listening more and then asking the person what can you do to help rather than jumping into the fix you’ve conjured up while they were talking. This will create a safe opportunity for you to ask if you can provide a suggestion and then infuse your ideas. Remember, it is good to treat others like you want to be treated, it is better to treat others like THEY want to be treated.
#3 – Let go of your need to be RIGHT. You will never fill your E.I tank if your need to be right outweighs your value of a person’s feelings. It just won’t happen. This is what you need to know about facts, they don’t need any proof or co-signers. They are the end all be all, of their field and they don’t need help making themselves known. The facts will always appear whether you want them to or not. The facts are just that, the facts. People with high E.I never waste precious time debating facts about something they know to be true but end the end, doesn’t matter. They understand that a more productive way to engage their employees is to allow them time to research and discover on their own. Of course, this should never be at the expense of the business, sometimes you’ll just have to provide the directions and ask for trust in following. However, whenever you can, allow your employees time to research and learn on their own. They’ll respect you more and appreciate you giving them the room to grow. Petty arguments and meaningless debates are a waste of everyone’s time. It depletes your E.I tank and destroys relationships as you’re pushing people further away into isolation. You want to keep your team close and connected to the vision. You want everyone to feel appreciated and respected. Let go of your dying need to be right and prepare the “sit down” chair for when people come back just to tell you that you were right, how sweet, lol.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Tell me some things you do to keep your E.I tank full or what examples you have of a leader that has an empty tank.
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