by Jim Bruce
Today’s Tuesday Reading is a short video Emotional Intelligence in Tough Conversations from the Harvard Business School’s “The Management Tip” series. The presenter is Susan David, CEO, Evidence Based Psychology and Codirector, Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital. David is also co-author of Emotional Agility, which appeared in the November 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review.
A few months ago on May 12, we also discussed having difficult conversations in a Tuesday Reading. There we talked about an approach – Listen, Ask, Summarize, Validate, Express, Negotiate, and Commit – that helps manage the process you might follow in having a difficult conversation. Today, the focus is on learning to use your emotional intelligence to guide your conversations to a successful conclusion.
Dr. David notes that we almost always begin our difficult conversations with a cool head, a logical argument, and with no consideration of either our or their emotions. Yet, in her view, emotion often derails the conversation and results in less than the best outcomes. As a result, David believes that our conversational strategy should not ignore the role emotions play. When we work on logic and don’t plan for what emotions might be triggered, we can easily be derailed. She suggests four steps we might take to bring our emotional intelligence into play in our tough conversations:
David believes that taking these four steps will strengthen your own emotional intelligence. If you are on guard as to the emotions in the room and do not ignore them, your conversation is less likely to be derailed. When you recognize these emotions, and use, understand, and manage them, you can help everyone achieve better outcomes.
The next time you have a difficult conversation, start by doing a check on your and your partner’s emotions and use what you discover to have a better conversation.
Make your week a great one. . . jim
Susan David and Christina Congleton, Emotional Agility, Harvard Business Review.