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Putting it all together: Emotional Intelligence and Partnership Building

For the past seven weeks, we’ve been talking about several aspects of Emotional Intelligence. I haven’t always mentioned the specific words “Emotional Intelligence” in these posts because I wanted to be sure we were focused on practical application rather than theoretical concepts. This week we are putting it all together AND I have a free worksheet you can download to practice applying these concepts to your partnership building work.  When we practice these skills, we will improve our leadership, engagement, trust, relationships and productivity in working together with others. As a summary, here are the 3 ways you can improve your Emotional Intelligence in partnership building.

  1. Know yourself. Take time to reflect. Ask for feedback from trusted friends and colleagues. As you get to know yourself better, also be willing to make positive adjustments and changes. However, be cautious that you don’t become so obsessed with reflection that you are unable to take action.  One of the areas that I have been learning about myself is the need to take imperfect action. Just last week, I wanted to give a gift to someone and had a very specific vision for how it would look. When it came time to print this gift, I realized that my vision was impossible in the timeframe available. My first instinct was to wait, seek more help, get it perfect and then give the gift; however, the perfect time to give the gift was last week so I made the difficult personal decision (thanks to several great friends and colleagues helping me in this journey to not let perfect be the enemy of the good) to go ahead with a less “perfect” version. In the end, the gift was an incredible blessing to the one receiving it. She was very honored by the gift and didn’t even consider that this could have been done better! 🙂
  2. Recognize others. Pay attention to others. Learn what they are saying – or not saying. Take time to listen to others and try to listen to both the loud and the quiet voices. Practice empathy. Empathy is not about fixing someone or telling someone that you understand what they are experiencing. Empathy is listening, caring and supporting others. Empathy is being willing to sit with someone during very difficult situations without having any “words” to say.  Empathy is believing the best in others. Empathy is not having an agenda for someone else but a willingness to walk beside them and really learn what is most important to them. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several opportunities to facilitate meetings and provide presentations related to partnerships and it’s amazing the number of times that we have talked about empathy. I hadn’t specifically included it in my slides or planned facilitation; however, once we discuss barriers to working well with others, empathy is a solution to several barriers! If you want to explore this concept further, I encourage you to check out Brenè Brown’s work. Her recent book “Dare to Lead” provides practical ways you can apply these concepts.
  3. Interact Positively. Smile when you work with others. Be encouraging. Share credit. Listen more than you talk. Be willing to address conflict. Find “win-win” solutions. Learn what works well and what needs to be changed to improve your relationships and work with others. You know you are interacting positively when you genuinely enjoy working with those in your partnerships. Last week, I had the opportunity to lead a meeting of colleagues for the first time in over a year. There were SO many people I had not seen in person in a very long time and I commented that I felt like I was at my wedding again. I wanted to have individual conversations with everyone there and yet there was only a limited time for us to meet together as a large group.  If you are not enjoying working with the people around you, take time to reflect and consider what might be preventing you from interacting positively with others. Be willing to ask some difficult questions and make adjustments so that you can interact positively. In some situations, you may have done all you could do to interact positively with particular partners and it’s just not working. Sometimes, you need to be courageous and willing to step away from some of your partners in order to preserve your energy and ability to interact positively with the rest of your partners.

We can all increase our capacity and skills for Emotional Intelligence.

I encourage you to download my newest worksheet and find ways to increase your own Emotional Intelligence!  What areas do you want to grow and improve? Is it knowing yourself, recognizing others and/or interacting positively?

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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