Members of the Wisdom team share their expert insights on a range of professional development topics.
Emotional Intelligence Revisited
Phillip A. Jones, Consultant Facilitator
No one likes to think they’re devoid of positive emotions, or unable to relate well to others. But clearly some have the knack and can create rapport with complete strangers, or navigate tricker workplace relations situations with aplomb.
As Maya Angelou actress, director, and civil rights activist remarked. ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
In the realm of customer service, we experience a transaction several times a day sometimes hundreds of times. Buying fuel, getting a coffee, browsing in a shop at lunchtime, paying a bill, grabbing a quick sandwich, or seeking for some help from a colleague in the office on a project: they all add up.
That interaction could be efficient and effective, but it could also make or break your day by the way it made you feel.
Positive emotional delivery is the key to great service, and the vital skill in making that possible is emotional intelligence.
Using your emotional intelligence to relate to customers and potential clients is critical to getting the result you’re after, and theirs. I’ve always thought that, all things being equal, people will do business with people they like and trust. Qualifications and experience are one thing, but having someone who ‘get’s you’ helping you with a transaction makes all the difference.
Intelligence and skills alone won’t be the point of difference that matters to the customer necessarily.
Also, these days there is more understanding of the role of the ‘gut feel’ in decision making, so perhaps we should pay more attention to the emotional and intuitive side of our natures.
There are four key elements of emotional intelligence:
Situation Context – we don’t live in isolation, our moods and state of mind are influenced by a range of things every day. The news, the boss’s mood, a sick friend, stressful deadline. You need to be able to understand the context of the relationship and what be affecting its quality or your ability to relate to them. Once you can do that, then using empathy can go a long way to establishing rapport.
Relationship Quality – people are not machines obviously, they are not ‘set and forget’, rather they need constant maintenance and nourishment to ensure a positive and rewarding relationships. To make things even more complicated, we have moods, stresses, issues in our lives and imperfect communication skills. A drag right? But there’s no option, we have to make the effort in ensuring our relationships are healthy everyday.
Self Awareness– this is a critical element, we all have strengths and areas of challenge, and preferred ways of behaving in different settings. There are a range of tools out there, such as HBDI that can give you great insights into your ‘default’ settings and communication / engagement style. In addition, there needs to be some perspective in the moment (this is where mindfulness can be a handy complementary trait also) so you can adjust your settings on the go, so to speak to ensure the right form of engagement with the other person.
Self Management – closely following the previous element, knowing yourself is one thing, but you need to be able to act on that information. If I know I can come across as reserved or aloof, when really I’m just shy, then I can try harder at connecting with my colleagues or customers in conversation and engagement so they don’t get the wrong impression.
Even in a tech-dominated world and the looming AI revolution, these are things that will be essential attributes and worth exploring.
So if you’re in a role that involved customer service, sales, influencing others, leading a team or simply want to be more successful in your work, then these are skills that can, and should, be cultivated.
To discover more about Emotional Intelligence and how we can help you apply it in your workplace please contact us.