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Emotional Intelligence (EQ) a concept first coined by Daniel Goleman, can be learnt and improved.
The biggest challenge in dealing with difficult situations is to first of all manage your own emotional reactions to them. It is easy to see the other person as difficult and to blame them for your uncomfortable feelings. Acknowledging and accepting your own feelings to yourself is an important first step to making a positive response to someone who you find challenging.
A story in the Dominion Post this morning (February 4, 2013) sparked my interest. It is fifty years since a young man, high on alcohol and tranquilizers shot two policemen in cold blood.
He served over 11 years in jail and another 10 years on probation and has since lived a productive life, it would appear. He is now 77 year old with children and grandchildren. I have no quibble about his punishment and am delighted that he has done well with his life.
Here is a TUF tip when speaking to individuals or to a group of people in a meeting, especially about new projects that you are wanting to introduce.
When someone asks a question or puts up an objection, you will have more chance that they will listen to you if you acknowledge the feeling or concern that is most likely behind that question. Be aware of their emotion, even if they don’t express it fully.
A controversy in the news today concerns the publicist for the ACT Party, John Ansell, who sacked himself because the party wouldn’t use some of his copy in their advertisements. Leader Don Brash said he was tempted by some of the statements John Ansell used, but in the end toned them down. John Ansell claimed the whole party are cowards because they won’t speak ‘the truth’ about what is going on.
Without getting into the details of the controversy, here are two things we can learn about workplace communication and community dialogue from this incident.
“Why is she telling me this again, I got it the first time?” Steve thought to himself as he suppressed his annoyance with Jan and wondered how he could finish the conversation quickly.
Steve didn’t realise that he was the one who was prolonging the conversation. He was sure he was listening to Jan. He made eye contact with her and gave her his full attention. He understood clearly what she was saying about the details of the new website and yet somehow she kept repeating herself. Perhaps she needed to go on a communication course.
Last week I was given a book to read called “The No Asshole Rule:
In their book Authentic Conversations, Jamie Showkeir , Maren Showkeir and Margaret J Wheatley focus on the way workplace relationships set up a Parent–Child dynamic. The manager or supervisor is cast in the position of the parent — taking responsibility for everything that happens, including employee happiness, security, and success.
The employee is cast in the position of the child — dependant on the manager for approval, for security, and for happiness at work. In their lives outside of work, these same people own and manage properties, raise families, run clubs and otherwise take full responsibility for themselves, but at work that doesn’t seem to count for much.
A story in the Wellington Weekend paper told of a participant from the TV show New Zealand’s Next Top Model who spoke openly about other contestants. She became very unpopular with the other models because of the way she delivered her forthright opinions of them. (She was popular with the TV network because she provided the drama to make their programme interesting.)
She said she was only saying to people’s faces what everyone else was saying behind their backs.