Using Emotional Intelligence and Understanding the Why

In this series of articles related to Emotional Intelligence, we discussed how to ask for a response, clarification, and elaboration, and how to explore other options.  For easy reference, these newsletters can be found here (Response, Clarify, Elaborate, and Exploration).  

Today’s topic takes us to another side of the conversation. What about when you want to understand why something happened?

When things go right, we tend to congratulate and move on.  When it goes sideways, however, we can fall prey to the temptation to dwell.  On the situation, the steps taken, the people involved.  We want to wallow in our misery and sometimes it’s just not pretty.  How do we break the cycle? Author John C. Maxwell suggests that we fail forward: [1]  The difference between learning and growing versus finding fault and placing blame lies in the willingness to ask the right questions.

Such as:

  • What contributed to/caused the failure?
  • What led up to it?
  • What have we tried so far?
  • What did we learn from this?
  • How can we avoid future repetition of this failure?

The next time an error occurs, be curious.  Ask the other person to share their thoughts on the situation including offering solutions for future situations.  Curiosity is key and brainstorming all aspects of a situation may alleviate a repeat failure.

Continue developing trust, respect, and a sense of team importance by engaging teammates in the conversation.  Placing blame and finding fault rarely ends well.  What does end well is taking the opportunity for the mutual exploration that provides a foundation on which the entire team can stand and build. Your interest in details important to your team speaks volumes about your integrity, especially when responsibility and accountability are at stake.

All parties engaging in solutions, discussing lessons learned, and sharing in future successes are just a few of the many steps toward authentic conversations.  Leave the blame-game and fail forward.  Learn from errors and lead your team toward a solution-focused mindset.  As you make this a habit, you may be surprised at how well your relationships grow!

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] Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success, John C Maxwell, © HarperCollins Leadership


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