Tag Archives: Emotional intelligence

A conflict competent leader

I recently attended a professional development session by Noel Posus on “becoming a conflict competent leader” which was an interactive two hours that allowed for experiential learning and development.  Following this session I have had some time to reflect, compare with the Emotional Intelligence framework and draw parallels with real situations.

“Conflict is any situation in which people have apparently incompatible goals, interests, principles or feelings”

When the word conflict is mentioned usually there are immediate negative connotations, however there are benefits to conflict, such as:

  • Stimulating creativity and problem solving
  • Encourages listening
  • Promotes reflective thinking

When a conflict situation is a “task focused” there is a higher chance of resolution and benefit than a “person focused” conflict which results in escalation due to negative emotions.

Task focused ~ focus on task and problem solving

Person focused ~ focus on personal with negative emotions

How wonderful it would be if we could keep all conflicts task focused, however emotions can get the better of us and conflict can become person focused quickly.  The competent leader according to Noel needs to build relationships (dynamic listening and communication) before the future conflict occurs to ensure when it does occur that it is constructive.  Other keys to success involve managing your emotions (have a clear head); actively resolve the conflict (co-operate and take action); and accept conflict (adapt).

“Be the better person no matter what others do in the conflict”

Reflecting on a conflict situation where the technical treatment of a payroll transaction was the focus, the intention of both parties was to seek a resolution and some negotiation was required to achieve a mutually satisfactory solution.  It was clear that problem solving was the key to achieve this outcome.  According to Boyatzis (1982) through his competency framework the ‘diagnostic use of concepts’ is a critical component to the development of a resolution strategy.  We did just that by diagnosing the issue as part of negotiation and a resolution strategy.  Similarly, Goleman (2004) highlights the competency of ‘conflict management’ from his emotional intelligence framework which highlights that it is critical to understanding the differing perspectives of the parties to achieve a win-win outcome.  Overall, the result was that we diagnosed the implications of the task focused conflict; had an awareness to encourage debate and open discussion which to lead to a more innovative or creative solution.

“Effective managers understand that conflict is not always about resolution; it can also be about orchestrating win-win situations” ~ Goleman (2004)

 

What sort of conflicts have you been involved with that have resulted in the complete opposite?


Emotional Intelligence and Developing Others

Over the last couple of years I have been exposed to the works of Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis in relation to Emotional Intelligence (EI) and how it relates to managing and leading.  More recently I have been interested in how EI can be applied in every-day situations, particularly in the work environment with developing my employees.

I see developing others being the advancement of the interests of employees through coaching, mentoring and staff development.  Managers who understand their employees and know what motivates them are in a position to further the organisational goals at the same time as developing multi-skilled employees.  Another component is the provision of timely and constructive feedback which can take the form of performance management.

Coaching

 “…[coaching] focuses on uncovering actions that enable people to contribute more fully and productively” DuBrin, Dalglish and Miller (2006)

Coaching is a process of one on one development that can be professional and personal in nature.  Coaching creates capabilities; actionable outcomes; and increased performance.

Mentoring

 “…[mentor is] a more experienced person who helps to develop a protégé’s abilities through tutoring, coaching, guidance, and emotional support” DuBrin, Dalglish and Miller (2006)

Similarly mentoring develops capability and it is a process whereby a senior takes the junior under their wing to learn the nature of the organisation.  To this end developing others requires trust from all parties to the relationship.

EI provides a framework for the manger or leader to assist in developing others as it works hand in hand with the EI competencies of emotional self-awareness and empathy.  To be effective a manager or leader needs to exhibit an understanding of their employees if they want to be able to develop them further.  They need to gain an understanding of what motivates them; what makes them feel valued; what expectations they have; and what they see for the future.  The understanding of employees links directly with how a manger or leader builds empathy and trust with their employees.

Positive Regard

Richard Boyatzis developed a model for effective management performance and identified twenty one characteristics of management competence.  Within the human resource management cluster is the EI competency of Positive Regard which is critical in the effectiveness of managing and developing employees.  He defined positive regard as “…a competency in which people believe in others”.  Taken literally, any coach or mentor relationship that is not founded on a belief in the other person is doomed for failure with a negative impact on performance.  The belief mentioned in employees is in contrast to a belief that employees can do their jobs effectively.  It is possible to believe in the employee however that does not necessarily mean they can execute their job.

Positive regard is useful for managing relationships (coaching, mentoring or other) as effective managers are able to make others in the relationship feel valued.  From a valued relationship comes trust and respect which increases performance outcomes.  Having a positive perspective of employees is an enabler to developing and multi-skilling staff to meet organisational and personal goals.

Case Study

Garvey and Galloway (2002) provide a case study description of the beginnings of mentoring at Mentoring at the Halifax plc (HBOS).  The preliminary results of the study confirm the benefits of developing others which is evidenced from the feedback of the mentees such as providing focus; increased confidence; ability to discuss events as they occur; ability to consider alternative courses of action; and the ability to address difficult work situations.  The study also confirms the importance of the relationship with mentees stating that they felt the mentor showed a genuine interest in them; were open and honest; and they felt respected.  The results confirming why developing others is a critical competency to achieve a relationship that is beneficial for employee and organisation.


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