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Enjoy this video transcript of this week’s Monday Moment episode.

Good morning and happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment.

It occurred to me, as we talk real quick this week, as I was coaching some of our executive coaching clients through the finer aspects of emotional intelligence that when you’re coaching employees, there is a big difference between coaching for improved performance and simple coaching on emotional intelligence. Now emotional intelligence is this word or phrase that gets thrown around in a lot of different contexts. It’s also described by the initials EQ and we use EQ in sentences to talk about someone’s level of EQ or developing EQ in the organization. But it’s also become a bit of an organizational or corporate buzzword, because while we know what, sort of, EQ is in concept, I’m not so sure we’re using it. Or at least I’m being told by a number of clients we don’t know how to use it. So how do you provide simple coaching on emotional intelligence? Well, maybe first we define what the heck it is. Emotional intelligence, if you look at dictionary.com or any number of other defining sources, is simply a skill in perceiving, understanding. and managing one’s emotions and functions. So, to do that most effectively, and to coach those you lead to do it even better, I simply recommend that you follow one of three guidelines that will make this far easier to implement as a concept.

Identify Pet Peeves

The first – identify pet peeves. When we’re training a class on emotional intelligence, often I will divide people into the four groups of personalities we use for our EQ and Leadership assessments: Commander, Organizer, Relater, Entertainer – and let them decide what their pet peeves are in each group. What becomes fascinating, very revealing, and powerful, as well as humorously slightly painful for the entire class, is that they start to realize that their pet peeves are that whole group of people over there, and that this group over here, their pet peeves are that whole group over there and vice-versa. They start to realize the things that bug them most are the things other groups do quite naturally without even thinking, as a normal way of reacting to any number of stress induced triggers or situations. Identify the pet peeves so people can quit blaming and labeling, in a negative manner, all those other different behaviors… as difficult.

Talk Candidly About Conflict

Second guideline or guidepost that will help you simply coach them more effectively on emotional intelligence is deceivingly simple for the assertive. Once you help them identify their pet peeves and start to plant that kernel of belief that “Oh, you mean my pet peeves are triggered by those people and they’re not necessarily doing it just to irk my nerves, but because that’s how they roll and that’s how they operate.”, then you can talk candidly about conflict. Conflict typically erupts when there’s simply a disagreement. We disagree on the way to accomplish something. We disagree on the process and we just agree on the right decision. We disagree on who or what or how or how long we should be involved in something or take to accomplish something. Conflict can arise for any additional number of reasons. It could arise because someone didn’t say hi in the hallway or because someone rolls their eyes when you were telling your most heartfelt vulnerable feelings and expressions. Talk about conflict because conflict also elevates and is exacerbated when one person handles whatever the issue is in a way that appears to be nearly opposite the way you might handle it. When you’re coaching an employee who’s in the midst of conflict, or even as a proactive preventative measure, you want to help them learn how to handle conflict before it happens. Then talk about how those differences can become more pronounced inadvertently. Talk about tolerance of differences is far worse in times of high stress. Set some ground rules for how each party handles conflict on the team you have the privilege of leading. Do we address conflict via email? Do we address conflict via text? Do we set up face-to-face to handle conflict? Do we do it immediately, or do we allow 24 hours of time to process out of respect for those who really would prefer to avoid it all together? Set up your ground rules, have that conversation and talk much more candidly about conflict. There are worse things that could happen, but when you are simply coaching on emotional intelligence, conflict is a key area in which EQ matters.

Address Stress Management

“This is a process that if you the leader can rein in, set some boundaries around, and do more effectively, there’s the beautiful outcome of you, and they, having less drama to manage.”

The third and final guideline, or guidepost, for simple coaching on emotional intelligence and turning this into a skillset for both you and this team you have the privilege of leading, is to address stress management. What irks the nerves of the people you lead? Frankly, what irks your nerves as a leader? Let me give you an example of a few additional things that might fit into this category: rushed, overwhelmed, exhausted, emotional, constant change, got stuff going on at home that we’re not able to manage or not able to compartmentalize or not able to cover, or you know, like right now in the times we are all living. Maybe it’s time, on the team you lead, to help each and every individual to create a safe space where if something is going on, they can come to you and tell you. Meaning you, the leader, serve in the role of listener or advisor. You would give each person 30-minute privileges anytime they need, or three-minute privileges or 15-minute privileges. Whatever your time allows for that also gives them the safe space, with no judgement, to come and tell you whatever is going on that is hindering their ability to effectively conduct themselves and remain professional, cordial, patient, tolerant, and right now, SANE, while also willing to engage and work well with others. Whatever that is that’s preventing their ability to effectively manage the stress is fair game for conversation. And that is a conversation that you the leader can manage. This is a process that if you the leader can rein in, set some boundaries around, and do more effectively, there’s the beautiful outcome of you, and they, having less drama to manage. You’ll be less frustrated, less mired in day-to-day conflict, and less likely to be wearing a worn path in the hall between your office and that of HR. So, how do you simply coach to emotional intelligence? You talk about the areas where it comes up in ways that are most pronounced and you talk about the topics that many leaders, particularly those new to their role, or new to the organization, or new to the team, avoid all together because they fall into that category of delicate.

If you’re going to get better at coaching for improved performance, delivering bad news, and communicating with employees, there’s no time like the present to practice these more delicate angles of conversation so that you get better and elevate your own confidence not only in conflict, not only with pet-peeves, and not only in good times and difficulty and drama, but in being a better leader.

I’m Monica Wofford and that was your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday and of course, remember, your leadership is truly contagious!

Monica Wofford, CSP is a celebrated leader who develops future leaders. CEO of Contagious Companies, her firm delivers and designs leadership training for managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared, and the leaders who promoted them. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica and members of the Contagious team may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.

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