I teach a 5-step emotionally intelligent problem-solving process in my Virtual Workshop series, Emotional Intelligence for Resilient Leaders and Professionals.
Step 1: Ascertain the facts. What did you see or hear? Look beneath other people's interpretations of the facts. What actually happened?
Step 2: What do you and others think about the facts? What judgments are being made? Are there interpretations and stories attached to the facts? How valid are these?
Step 3: What do you and others feel about this situation? What emotions are coming up? Are you frustrated, angry, happy, etc.
Step 4: What really matters in this situation? Use the information from steps 1-3 to formulate what matters, what is important about this? What do you really want here?
Step 5: Create strategies to get what you and others really want. Try for win/win strategies. These strategies should be based on what really matters in this situation. Going through steps 1-4 will make you more resourceful in creating good strategies.
In short, emotional intelligence applied in this process, will make you more resourceful and successful.
Want an example? In a prior Tip, I alluded to this emotionally intelligent problem-solving process as part of my Case of Conflict over New Benefits. In this Case, the Board of Directors of an organization changed benefits insurance plans suddenly. I had already taught this emotionally intelligent problem-solving process to the managers as part of my ongoing workshop series, Emotional Intelligence for Resilient Leaders and Professionals. They asked me to use this process in facilitating a discussion about the new benefits package.
Here in more detail are the 5 steps as demonstrated in this case:
1. I asked the managers for the facts regarding the new benefits package. The most prominent fact for them was the large increase in the deductible they must pay.
2. I asked them what they thought about the changes. They replied that it was a rotten deal to dilute their benefits and make them pay more. The Board should have asked for their input prior to making the change.
3. I asked the managers what they were feeling. They replied that they were angry at the Board and felt uncared for. Some were afraid that they might lack sufficient resources to pay the initial $1100 deductible.
4. I asked, "What really matters here?" They said they wanted the Board to understand them, care about them, and help them by providing good benefits.
5. Next I asked them to createstrategies to get these things. We all collaboratively created strategies of a letter to the Board and a request for a meeting with the Board. I urged the managers to write only what really mattered to them as in step 4. They should avoid expressing their negative judgments and anger in order to avoid triggering a defensive response from the Board. They realized that if they had complained to the Board before we used this emotional intelligence process, they would have expressed themselves with too much anger and negativity and maybe have lost their case.
The next day, the managers wrote a letter. The executive director hand-carried it to the Chairman of the Board, who visited the agency the next day and talked over the issues raised by the managers. Then the Board's Executive Committee met separately and decided to fund the new health care insurance program with a $1,000 grant to each employee covered by insurance to help with their first payments toward the deductible. The managers became exuberant as they relished their victory and sense of empowerment. The Board was glad that they had listened to the managers and responded in what was perceived as a caring fashion. It was a win/win.
How did emotional intelligencehelp this organization and its people?
1. I guided a problem-solving process in a way that helped those involved to use their emotional intelligence.
2. The managers were able to discern what they most wanted.
3. The managers created strategies to get what they wanted and communicated what they wanted clearly.
4. The Board was able to arrive at a solution that satisfied all because they valued and had the skills to achieve a win/win solution. The organization saved money. The managers were jubilant.
In summary, when I met with the managers, they were caught up in a mood of anger and negative judgments about their Board. After walking through this process, they moved into an emotionally intelligent, resourceful state and took action to effectively resolve their problem.
I have only sketched the problem-solving process in this short Tip. Please contact me, Bill Murray, for more details at 919-419-9460.
Copyright © 2010, by William R. Murray, President of Eagle Alliance Executive Coaching, LLC. Reprint rights granted to all venues so long as this article and by-line are printed intact with all links made live.
This process is taught in my Virtual Workshop, Leadership Communication™, How to Communicate with Emotional Intelligence for Powerful Leadership, which is described at http://www.EmotionallyIntelligentLeadership.com/index.htm#bottom .
William R. Murray, MBA (Harvard), M.Div. (Yale), Master Certified Coach, founder of Eagle Alliance Executive Coaching, LLC in 1993, is a seasoned leader, executive coach, and corporate trainer
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