Posts Tagged ‘Communication Skills’

Teaching kids to talk about feelings: Name it to tame it.*

kidstalkaboutfeelingsArticle contributed by guest author Fern Weis.

Before you can deal with a problem or emotion, you have to be able to name it and describe it.  This goes double for teens.  The problem is that their vocabulary for describing what they’re feeling is seriously limited.  When was the last time you got more than happy, mad, sad, angry, upset or p***ed-off from them?

Let’s go back to Emotional Intelligence (EQ) again.  “Self-awareness is the ability to recognize emotions as you feel them.  When kids tune in to their feelings, they can learn to understand and manage them.”  So they need to be aware that they’re in an emotional state and recognize what they’re feeling, before they can do something about it.

It’s critical to ‘name it to tame it.’  Since teens and tweens are more reactive than reflective, you’re going to have to help them through this process.  Here is where you become a teacher, and you can do it simply by teaching by example.

1)  Brainstorm a list of words that describe difficult emotions.  (There are more than 100 of them.)  Write them down and say them out loud every day so they are there when you need them.

2)  Be honest in expressing your own feelings.  Rather than being emotional, express what you’re feeling.  Use the list from #1.  Kids learn from you how to speak, act and react.

3)  Listen carefully to what your kids are telling you and pay special attention to the feelings underlying their words.

4)  Reflect back what you think you’re hearing.  Now they are hearing new, hopefully more accurate, words that they can start to use themselves.

You are the most important teacher your child will ever have.  When you follow these steps, you teach without nagging, lecturing and controlling.  There’s no better way to get your message across than by just doing what you want them to do.

(* Borrowed from Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, by Dr. Daniel Siegel.

The Surprising Secret Behind Effective Communication

amy teesdale blog photoArticle contributed by guest author Aimee Teesdale

 

One day I was in a busy café and overheard two friends chatting at the table next to me. The first woman was trying to explain the difficulties she was having with her husband, while the other was doing her best to listen and offer her some support.

The longer I listened though, the more intrigued I became. The first woman, clearly overcome with emotion about the whole situation, seemed unable to find the words to express herself, mumbling things like, “I just …he’s so …I can’t explain it honestly. It’s like …” but before she could spit it out, her friend rushed in and claimed matter-of-factly, “Oh yes I know exactly how you feel. That’s exactly how it was with me. It sounds like he’s being manipulative, that’s what it sounds like. I totally understand. He’s being manipulative, right?”

The response from the first woman made it obvious: that’s not at all what she meant to say. So she tried again: “No…not really, it’s hard to explain actually. I just…oh never mind. He’s just so stressed at the moment that…”

But before she had a chance to try and express herself, the second woman butted in again with a ready interpretation, saying confidently, “yes that’s always the way it is with woman in abusive relationships, trust me I know, you’re feeling like you can’t ask for help right now, but that’s just because he’s manipulated you…”

And on and on it went. The second woman was so sure she had heard her friend, and was so sure that she had correctly understood the situation, that she failed to notice her friend growing increasingly irritated with the whole conversation. I listened closely, and after a few minutes, the first woman lost her temper and said loudly, “You’re talking to me like I’m some kind of battered wife – you aren’t listening!”

The second woman looked stunned. I believe that up until that point, she actually saw herself as a supportive friend bravely helping someone out of an abusive relationship.

Communication is a funny thing. It’s a lot like driving – nobody ever thinks they’re bad at it!

But part of the trouble of being a poor communicator is that you may not even realise when you’ve done it poorly. When most people hear “communication”, in fact, their minds jump to thinking of the best way that they can get their message across, and not the best way to receive the other person’s message.

How often have you found yourself waiting for somebody to finish talking so you can finally get to saying what you want to? You might not be as skillful a communicator as you think!

The first job of competent communication with others is to listen.

Not just to hear what you want and prepare your response. Not just to nod and smile and wait your turn. Not to simply assume what you’ve been told. But truly listen.

The woman I overheard in the café simply made assumptions about what her friend was telling her. She assumed what the message was (“please give me advice about my abusive husband!”) instead of simply listening to what her friend was actually saying, and jumped to conclusions, finishing her sentences for her. The irony is that this woman probably believed herself to be a very good communicator!

I had a client once who, in a session, said he wanted to become better at listening – because in actual fact, he didn’t listen to people at all. So he set himself some goals to enhance this skill, and funnily enough, the next time we spoke, not only had he become a better listener, but people were actually listening to him more too. By taking the time to hear other people, they responded better, and he was starting to become more able to influence the people around him. All by closing his mouth.

Listening wouldn’t be such a valuable skill if it was easy, however, and that’s why even the most switched on and empathetic among us need the practice. So here are a few listening techniques that I have found incredibly helpful in my practice as a life coach, and which my clients have in turn found helpful in their own lives.

  • Listen actively. Listening doesn’t just mean you shut up for a while and give the other person a turn! It means sincerely trying to understand the other person’s perspective on the issue.
  • Before you jump into a response to what they’ve said, take your time to make sure you’ve actually received the right message. Ask questions or paraphrase what they’ve said to check that you really understand.
  • Pause frequently after questions to let people express themselves fully. Don’t rush. Communicate respect for them and what they have to say by letting them finish each thought.
  • Maintain dignity and composure, especially where strong emotions threaten to overwhelm the conversation. Try to remember the goal of your communication, and don’t get distracted with trying to prove yourself right.
  • Deliver your message as clearly and simply as possible. Just because you’re good with words, it doesn’t mean you’re a good communicator! There’s no need to show off, just make your point known.
  • Adjust your message according to the person who’s receiving it. If they don’t seem to understand, switch things up until they do. Speak to your audience by considering what would make the most sense from their point of view.
  • Don’t speak unless you have something to say. Think carefully before you start saying something, and make sure you have a clear goal in reaching out, rather than just wanting to fill up empty space or hear your own voice.
  • Look for commonalities between you – be friendly and collaborative, and remember to express appreciation for their point of view, even if it’s different to yours.
  • Know when to disengage. Sometimes, no further progress is possible, and hacking away at the same issue only makes it worse. Rather remove yourself from conversations that have become unproductive and try again later.

Becoming a better communicator is actually quite simple. The women in the café were talking easily enough, but they weren’t communicating. The second woman might have gotten quite a different reaction if she had sat back and merely waited for her friend to explain in her own words how she herself saw the problem.

Think for a moment about the last conversation you had. Do you think you did everything you could to truly hear what the other person was saying?

Recommended reading:
Brilliant Communication Skills: What the Best Communicators Know, Do and Say (Brilliant Business)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

What You Don’t Know About Listening (Could Fill a Book): Leadership Edition

What is the Impact of Social & Emotional Intelligence on a Business’s Financial Status?

Article Contributed by Guest Author Pam Watson Korbel

Larry Linschneider, CEO & Owner of Linschneider Construction Co. (LCC), has watched his highway construction business slowly decline since 2008 when the recession hit the United States.

During the last 18 months, new projects are starting at a rate of 1 per month versus an average of 2 per month previously.  Consequently, sales revenues are 60% of the norm and profit has slid 5 percentage points to 3% for the past year.

More importantly, work is not fun for Linschneider anymore.  His employees act like children so he stopped having staff meetings.  The managers who report directly to him lack motivation so he quit managing them.  The ‘yard’ where equipment and supplies are stored is messy and two safety incidents occurred there in the past three months.  Plus, at a time when it would make sense for Linschneider to be re-kindling relationships to take advantage of potential construction opportunities, he chooses to withdraw even more spending most of his time in his office on his computer.  And two ‘A Player’ executives with LCC are now shopping for jobs with the competition.

While the names, company and statistics have been changed in this scenario, it is all too common.  Unfortunately, Larry Linschneider and many of his executive peers have not read any of the current literature about the impact of emotional intelligence on a business firm’s financial status.  If Larry and other executives had this information, they would have learned:

  • Lack of personal awareness among leaders is the number one cause of declining and failing businesses.  Larry has given up all his personal power to the karma called the economy.
  • Employees take their cues from their leaders on how to act and as a consequence change their behavior to mirror the boss.  Larry’s job isn’t fun anymore because attitudes are contagious.
  • Research by Six Seconds shows that 76% of business issues are people and relationship related versus 24% technical and financial.  Yet, executives like Larry spend hours tweaking cash flow reports to improve profitability.
  • Sales in companies that put a high value on people and relationships internally and externally can be as high as 37% more.  Small and mid-sized companies that focus on high customer service still find opportunities during economic downturns.
  • Profit in these same companies runs 27% higher, largely due to a company’s ability to take work away from competitors who do not value service and loyalty.
  • Employees with high achievement motivation, empathy and self confidence are more productive than those with just high intelligence.
  • The Gallup Organization’s research shows that 75% of workers are disengaged in their jobs resulting from the lack of useful feedback, poor assignment of tasks, not seeing the value of their work and working in a negative work environment.  Retention of ‘A Players’ is critical during a recession because forward-thinking companies consider this a good time to steal them away.

The research on emotional intelligence and its impact on business is convincing: hard results can be derived with soft skills.  Do you get it?

5 Easy Steps to Fabulous Feedback

Once in my career, my “boss” wrote my annual review in pencil. Yes, seriously. There was very little feedback on the actual form and when pressed, I learned he wrote it in the 15 minutes before I arrived in his office for our meeting. I felt devalued and like I was wasting my time. My trust was completely blown and my respect for him dropped immensely. The same person whose lips were saying, “I really want to see you succeed, how can I help?” was showing me through his actions that there was no intention to follow through.

As leaders, it is essential for us to “get it right” when it comes to coaching and mentoring others in our organization. These may be peers, direct reports, or even our superiors, as the need to manage up is crucial for our success. Giving positive, constructive feedback is key. I don’t mean the “pat on the back variety.” I mean real, meaningful feedback that allows the individual to truly know how they are doing, what can be done better, and celebrate specific successes.

When you are giving feedback in an annual review, or in the moment, be sure to use the following steps to maximize the value for the individual receiving it also for you.

  • Be specific—provide specific examples of actions and behaviors that attributed to the outcomes. Balance the positive and the negative as much as possible. Avoid judgment in your specifics. Just the facts “ma’am.” And be genuine in your approach.
  • Be timely—in an annual review, be careful of focusing only on events that have occurred recently. Instead, be sure you have collected successes and challenges from throughout the year. This should not be the first time your report should be hearing about either positive or negative situations. The annual review is a round-up; a time to review the progress being made. Feedback on performance should be ongoing to avoid surprises and maximize the opportunity for learning and growing.
  • Show courage and compassion—don’t dance around if you are delivering difficult feedback to an individual. Get right to the point and offer suggestions for how improvements can be made. This provides the individual with hope and moves them into thinking about the future instead of the past. Make sure you affirm the talents and skills of the individual. Equally important for leaders is to not fool yourself. Do not excuse poor behavior or performance. You may need to show courage and compassion by cutting your losses. This can be freedom producing for both you and the individual.
  • Be sincere and honest without demoralizing the person—empty praise is easy and just…well…empty. Likewise, words like “always” and “never” will lose your audience and they will not be able to see through their defensive lens. Do not go on the attack. This isn’t about putting someone in their place. Feedback is about helping someone rise to be a better version of themselves.
  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare—It is critical to spend some time thinking about what really needs to be said and the best way to say it. Ask yourself how you would receive the information presented they way you are considering? Do you need to make some adjustments? Are there extenuating circumstances that will make it easier or more difficult to hear feedback at this time?

Quality feedback increases trust, accelerates results, and ultimately impacts the bottom line. Great leaders have a gift for giving timely, effective feedback that moves those they are mentoring/coaching to the next level as they incorporate changes in their behaviors and performance practices.

To fully assess your current competence in Coaching and Mentoring Others and create a personalized development plan, contact the Institute for Social +Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Coaching – A Powerful Tool for Organizational Success

Article contributed by Arul John Peter

I am soft skill facilitator based in Singapore (Asia) and have been conducting soft skills training for more than 25 years. Enabling managers as coach was not an area of my training activity. I was focusing on making each of my participant, a better employee or a manager, not paying much attention to make each of my participant a ‘multiplier’. This approach to my training changed following my participation in ISEI’s Social + Emotional Intelligence certification workshop and Leader as Coach program. The two training session brought about a new perspective on the importance of having a pool of trained and enabled managers as coaches. Managers who had been exposed to the managers as coach, find the approach useful in the workplace. It made them feel good about their contribution to people development.

Leading and managing in the 21st century is not an easy task. The need to get along with a whole group of stakeholders and move forward to achieve the vision and goals together demands a new set of skills. The Development Dimensions International (DDI), a global organization that offers solutions on talent management, identified ‘coaching and developing others as one of the five most critical skills needed on the part of managers and leaders for managing and leading the future, in its publication titled ‘Time for a leadership Revolution’. The remaining four skills are creativity & innovation, identifying and developing talent driving & managing change and executing organizational strategy. Invariably, developing these skills would require a high dose of coaching.

Research after research confirms that the benefits of coaching include the following:

  • Coaching improves teamwork and productivity.
  • Enable staff to take ownership to get things done
  • It improves the outcome of business strategies.

Coaching as a skill and development tool, allowing managers within an organization to help individual employees and teams perform at their peak. Training and developing managers to become coaches is probably the best way to bring about meaningful and sustainable changes within the organization. Having the services of a competent and certified coach/facilitator who could train and develop the managers to function as coaches is more effective. Coaches/facilitators who are trained in programs such as “leader as coaches,” offered by Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence would be able to take full advantage of Positive Deviant Initiatives,  a concept that is attributed to Tufts University. The managers who are trained to handle coaching sessions could amplify the positive and desired practices that are already working within the organization. Research and organizational studies confirm that solutions which originate from outside the organizations are not accepted easily by the internal stakeholders. It is the best practices that are identified by the key players within the organization, that make the organization successful. The best option is to identify key players and provide them with the relevant coaching skills and let them become the catalyst.

How do Expertise and Social & Emotional Intelligence Relate in Your Career?

Article contributed by Virg Setzer,MSOP

In my past blog comments I discussed two of the Nine Essentials to Career Success – Ownership and Mindset.  This week I am addressing the third essential, Expertise. 

What is Expertise?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines expertise as:  expert skill or knowledge in a particular field” and Expert as, “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area”

In the business world it is not at all uncommon to hear the phrase, “what is his or her expertise?”  In an interview, “tell me about your expertise”, or as senior leaders discuss key successors, the individuals expertise and overall capability is frequently a major discussion.  Sometimes expertise is described using different terms, such as what is his talent, but it all boils down to what is the special capability an individual possesses.  What is the capability or expertise that person has that sets them aside from others, in effect gives them a competitive advantage.

Expertise – Critical for a successful career.   There are many attributes necessary for success, but Expertise is clearly one of the essentials – it is in fact essential to continually build and enhance one’s expertise.  Expertise is not simply the special knowledge gained from focused education and experience. We all know of many people who have a vast resume of educational accomplishments, degrees, certifications, etc., yet are not all that effective in their performance.  Expertise is gaining that special knowledge and associated experience, but most importantly expertise is the ability to employ and apply your knowledge and skill in real world situations, and to do so in a highly effective manner.  Often there are people who are equally qualified in terms of education and experience, but it is the real expert who is able to apply it to achieve maximum performance.

Is expertise limited to technical or functional areas of knowledge and experience?  The ability to effectively employ and apply one’s capability encompasses a number of factors.  Those that are successful likely do not think of their capability as including social and emotional intelligence competencies, yet as we consider Personal Competence and Social Competence, we might make a case that all twenty-six competencies in some way have an impact.   A few however are key contributors to the successful application of expertise.  I believe those that may have the greatest impact are:

  • Organizational awareness: Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships; being able to “size up” a situation and plan an appropriate response.  This is critical in applying your expertise in any organization.
  • Integrity: Maintaining high standards of honesty and ethics at all times.  A must to build credibility.
  • Initiative & bias for action: Readiness to act on opportunities.  The term, “timing is everything” does in fact often apply in business – this competency is a major contributor to successful application of expertise.
  • Personal agility:  Readily, willingly, rapidly and effectively anticipating and adapting to change.  Our rapidly changing global and technological world requires personal agility now more than ever.
  • Communication: Listening attentively and fostering open dialogue.  Essential for every effective relationship.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness:  Possessing diplomacy, tact and interpersonal skills, and knowing how to use them to ease transactions and relationships with others; the ability to relate well and build rapport with all people.  Application of expertise cannot be completed in a vacuum – interpersonal effectiveness is essential.
  • Powerful influencing skills: Wielding effective tactics for persuasion.  A sub-set of effective communication, but also critical to success.
  • Building Bonds: Nurturing and maintaining relationships, cultivating a wide network; connecting with others on a deeper rather than superficial level.  Essential for a continued effective relationships.
  • Coaching & mentoring others: Identifying others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities.  Developing others supports and helps affirm your expertise.
  • Building trust: Being trustworthy and ethical when working and relating to others; ability to establish a bond of trust with others.  Trust is the foundation for successfully employing your expertise.

Building Your Expertise:

Building one’s expertise is not a quick or simple process.  It is also a never-ending process.  As people begin their business careers they may start to build their expertise based upon their educational background, undergraduate and graduate educations – the knowledge they acquired in school.  Over time expertise is expanded and the educational expertise supplemented as experience occurs.  The understanding gained from application in the workplace and on-going learning is vital to enhancing one’s expertise.

Building your expertise also takes into account the topic in my last blog – Mindset – building your expertise requires a “possibilities mindset” – a mindset of continuous learning and development.   I doubt that there is a formula or template for how to build your expertise?  But I encourage everyone at every stage of your career to periodically conduct a self-assessment of your expertise – an Expertise Audit.  Ask yourself, what really is my expertise?  What is the value I bring to the workplace?  Where do I have holes or voids in my expertise?  Have I only focused on developing my technical and functional knowledge and skill or have I also considered the social and emotional competencies associated with effectively deploying my expertise?  How do I best test what my expertise is?  What do I use to compare my expertise against?  Who can give me meaningful input about my expertise?  What actions must I take to improve and enhance my expertise?

Real Expertise sets you apart – it gives you a competitive advantage – consider how you can achieve that level of expertise.  Expertise is one of the Nine Essentials to Career Success – it cannot be taken lightly.  Whether you are 20 or 70, I encourage you to continuously build your expertise and in turn enhance your career!

How is S+EI being used in European Institutions?

From ISEI: Please meet Macarena Ybarra Coello de Portugal. She is one of our certified coaches and currently doing social + emotional intelligence work with in the European Union, with the EU Parliament, Commission and Council.

From Macarena: I am Spanish and I arrived in Brussels in 1990 to do a specialization in European Law. I worked in the European Parliament as well as in the Department of European Affairs of a Chamber of Lawyers. Two years later, I created my own company, European Development Projects (EDP), a company which trains clients in the development of international proposals and implementing European projects.

More recently, my career has brought me into the world of coaching. I have received my coaching training from Spanish, French and English coaching schools, and received my Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation from the International Coach Federation (ICF). I am also certified as a Master in Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and most recently I have become certified as an ISEI™ Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach.

I am also accredited as a Coach by the European Commission and therefore on the list of Official Coaches of the European Institutions. Only the 26 coaches on this list are authorized to work with European Institutions.

Working with European Institutions (Council, Parliament and European Commission) is an exciting challenge because of the incredible diversity of cultures, languages, nationalities and religions represented in the EU. For example, when I am doing Group Coaching, there can be 11 people and 9 different nationalities, all with different cultures and communications methods that must be expressed, heard, understood and communicated to all in the two primary languages (French and English). And sometimes these two primary languages are not even used by anyone in the group!

Since I’ve become certified as a Social and Emotional Intelligence (S+EI) Coach by the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence™, I am using all the S+EI tools, especially to bring very high-level and very diverse individuals together and create opportunities for teamwork, collaboration and progress. Sometimes the tone, the conversations, indeed the ambiance of the meetings can be difficult and awkward, and in my experience, the language of emotions, being very human and common to all, create a universal language of common understanding and help us move toward common ground. Different cultures communicate differently, and this can serve as the basis of a lot of conflict, and yet I am extraordinarily grateful for the Social + Emotional Intelligence certification which has given me the opportunity to offer customized learning opportunities, unique interventions, and specific workshops in a variety of topics relevant to our work in the EU, including for example, ‘Conflict Management’ and ‘Intentionality’ and ‘Building Bonds’ and many others based on the S+EI competencies. Thank you for hearing my story.

Macarena Ybarra Coello de Portugal
Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
Master Practitioner PNL
Social + Emotional Intelligence Certified Coach
European Development Projects – EDP Coaching Director
Brussels / Belgium

Developing Others—The Power of Listening

He was seated comfortably, three paragraphs into the lead sports page article when she approached him from behind his favorite chair. “Dad, I really need to talk to you.” She dangled her 10 year old, lanky legs over the edge of the chair as he distractedly muttered, “Uh, huh?” She begins her lengthy diatribe about an event that happened at school and the call he should expect from the teacher and that it wasn’t her fault but she was next to the kids who did it, etc. As she ends her monologue, he mutters, “Uh, huh. Okay. Sounds good.” She swings her feet back over the arm of the chair, onto the floor, and walks away feeling rejected and unimportant, knowing that when the teacher calls, her dad will be hearing it for the first time.

Have you ever done this to your kids? Has it ever happened to you where you knew someone wasn’t really listening? And how many times might you have done this to your employees? Instead of the newspaper, your attention is on your computer screen as you try desperately to keep up on incoming email. Or perhaps you are answering every ping on your smart phone? The only difference between home and work is that your family may be more forgiving than your employees and other work colleagues. Have you considered the cost to your relationships and your team’s productivity when you don’t listen?

Valarie Washington, CEO of Think 6 Results, writes in her article, The High Cost of Poor Listening, “60% of all management problems are related to poor listening,” and that “we misinterpret, misunderstand or change 70% to 90% of what we hear.”

Washington also writes, “There are no shortcuts to becoming a great listener and the price tag for poor listening is high. Listening well can cut down on misunderstandings, miscues, damaged relationships, missed opportunities and disagreements while building strong alliances, increasing knowledge and delivering better results, faster.”

Top executives listen more than they talk and when they listen, they set aside everything else, including the inner clamor, and listen with their full attention. They know that the only way to really know what’s going on, and to really hear what the other person is trying to say, is to listen fully to what’s being said and what’s not being said but is trying to be conveyed.

Great leaders are great listeners and as a result, their employees are more engaged, more passionate about their work, and far more productive. Is it time for you to sharpen your listening skills? To fully assess your Leadership competencies including your ability to coach and mentor others through genuine listening, contact the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Inspirational Leadership

Ghandi did it.  Martin Luther King did it.  Oprah does it.  Dave Ramsey does it.  IT is inspired leadership.  These leaders had and have what it takes to inspire others toward a shared vision.  They are able to challenge the status quo and articulate a sense of common purpose that inspires others to follow.  These leaders generate enthusiasm for clear, compelling visions and have been able to create a sense of belonging to something much larger than themselves.

The same is true of San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) known for launching “Sacred Work.”  SJCH leadership was inspired to care for not only the community members, but also the caregivers.  The team set out to make sure they were hiring folks with the right values systems in order to create a sustainable culture of caring.  SJCH hires based on the value, service to others, and today maintains a committed workforce and leadership team who believe healing the whole person and serving the caregivers as well as the community are key aspects of their mission.  As an unexpected benefit, SJCH has inspired a healthcare movement centered around “Sacred Work.”

Research conducted by Zenger & Folkman says, inspirational leadership is directly linked to high employee engagement—the psychological bond between an employee, the work, and the work environment.  Leaders who inspire and motivate followers see new behaviors, outcomes, attitudes, and emotions that translate to business outcomes such as higher productivity, more responsible behavior, greater organizational confidence, and initiative.  The employees of SJCH are a living testament to the validity of this research.

Are there actions you need to take to enhance your inspirational leadership?

  • Create a collaborative vision in alignment with your organization.
  • Set stretch goals to challenge your team and provide fulfilling work experience.
  • Communicate the vision frequently and enthusiastically.
  • Develop your people.
  • Be a model team player—put the needs of the team and organization above your own interests.
  • Foster fresh ideas and be open to trying them.

To fully assess your current competence in Inspirational Leadership and create a personalized development plan, contact the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Overcome the Perception of Being Arrogant with SEI

Article contributed by Terry Hildebrandt, PCC

The Screamer!

Do you find yourself correcting others frequently? Do you often find yourself surrounded by idiots? Do you keep a distance between yourself and others? If yes, others might perceive you as arrogant. I often coach smart people who have been told they are arrogant and need to be more approachable. Here are some common symptoms of being arrogant.

Symptoms of arrogance:

  • Others describe you as cold and detached
  • You think that you are always right
  • You dismiss others inputs and feelings as inferior
  • You frequently critique others work and ideas and correct their thinking
  • You believe your ideas are always better than others

Impact of arrogance:

While being right might feel great, it can undermine interpersonal relationships and damage trust. In reality, no one is always right or has all the information. By not valuing the input of others, you may miss out on valuable insights, solutions to problems, and potential opportunities. No one wants to work with a know-it-all. Over time, you may find yourself with no one to listen to your great ideas!

Causes of arrogance:

  • Lack of self-esteem or confidence

Research suggests that many people who are arrogant actually have low self-esteem.   By putting others down,  they feel better about themselves. This misguided strategy might work temporarily but over the long run, it leads to people avoiding you and inability to influence.

  • Being overconfident

While a healthy amount of self-confidence is critical for you to sell your ideas and to get things done, it is easy to overdo it and come across as arrogant.  The key is to focus on what you can do for others rather than on yourself and how great your ideas are.

  • Intellectual agility with low interpersonal agility

You might have been the top student in your class and be the thought leader in your field, but the real question is : Do others like you? Smart people often overvalue intellect and book smarts at the expense of social and emotional intelligence. Research has found that people want to work with those they like. A winning combination is to be both smart and likeable.

What you can do to overcome arrogance:

  1. Listen, ask questions, and collaborate

Being curious about what others think and feel will cause them to feel valued and build trust. Even when you think you have the “right answer” remain open to others solutions. You might be surprised what you will learn!

  1. Share credit and build others up

We all depend on the help and support of others to get things done. Freely and frequently recognize the contributions of others. Building others up and sharing credit will cause others to want to work with you again.

  1. Don’t correct others unless they give you permission

Be very careful when offering critique and correction. Ask yourself if it really matters if someone has made a small mistake in grammar, facts, or reasoning; and only give feedback if it really matters and you have permission to do so.

  1. Seek feedback

Even when we think we are brilliant, funny, or clever,  we might be off-putting to others. Ask those that you trust to give you honest feedback about your style.

With a little attention and perseverance, you can change that perception of arrogance to one of humility and openness.

See www.The-ISEI.com for more information on Self-Awareness, one of the four-quadrants used in the Four-Quadrant Model of the Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile (SEIP)™.

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