Using Emotional Intelligence and Addressing Excuses

In this Emotional Intelligence series, topics have included how to ask for a response, clarification, and elaboration, how to explore other options, better understand the “why”, and setting expectations.  For easy reference, these newsletters can be found here (Response, Clarify, Elaborate, Exploration, Why, and Setting Expectations).  

In this last installment, we’ll consider how to address naysayers or those resistant to others’ ideas.

As a leader, you juggle not only your own self-sabotaging thoughts but resistance from your team as well. Managing the plethora of concepts, ideas, and solutions offered by your staff can feel daunting, especially when you have a teammate who discourages input from others. 

Rather than appreciating the positives, it seems to be easier to oppose others’ ideas, especially when we feel intimidated by the quality of those recommendations.  Regardless of why we do this, reacting with negativism and resistance causes conflict, which adds to the struggles we all deal with throughout the day. Guiding a colleague toward a different perspective with a more positive mindset helps overcome naysaying.[1]

So, what can you do?  Step into the conversation and discuss the following questions to help change the trajectory of the naysayer’s retort.

  • Before we get into drawbacks, can you share some reasons you think this will work?
  • What suggestions do you have for improvement?
  • What would you like to see change for the better?
  • What’s working right now?
  • Let’s operate from the assumption that we will be successful. How does that shift your perspective and ideas about what to do next?

A major force behind negativism and resistance is pride.  When it rears its ugly head, many of us have knee-jerk reactions that are not conducive to teamwork.  A few of the dangerous opportunities that pride offers are rejecting other’s ideas out of hand, downplaying the benefits of brainstorming, and emphasizing what can go wrong before giving appropriate consideration to the thoughts of others.

Humility, the foremost antidote to pride, plays a significant role in successfully leading people. The more a leader demonstrates true humility in actions, words, and behaviors, the more likely it is that their staff will also exhibit humility. A word to the wise:  If you are tempted to pretend humility, DON’T. The truth will come out, and when it does, you will have lost the faith and trust of your team.

The next time you encounter naysaying – your own or that of a team member – remember that offering a different perspective (perhaps using some of the questions above) can change everything.

As I grow my knowledge in EQ and communication, I regularly see that not all leaders are great communicators.  Yet, all leaders certainly can become great communicators, particularly when they believe that communication includes giving, receiving, understanding, and exploring the words being shared. 

I’ve helped hundreds of leaders just like you lean into their emotional intelligence.  It requires stepping into the realm of uncomfortableness, and most of the leaders will say that it was not easy. It’s also not always immediately successful.  Yet, every one of them who tried a new and unique approach to bridging the communication gap realized a more trusting and respectful relationship.

Need an external source to help you become inquisitive and step into your own EQ?  Let’s chat.

[1] If you need help, the previous article in this series, Executive Presence and Setting Expectations, may help identify how to set expectations relating to leaning into the positive of situations and responding with an open mindset and curiosity.

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My goal as an experienced Executive and Leadership Coach is to help you re-imagine your life and let go of thoughts and behaviors that undermine your success, so that a renewed and fulfilled you can emerge. My personal commitment is to provide you with accountability, understanding and support while accomplishing lasting growth. Click here and type “Tips” in the email Subject Line to receive tips and leadership advice to help you Discover Invisible Horizons.