When thinking about one of Drucker’s main principle… that a business exists to create a customer, how can we build effective relationships?
What is the connection between this and EQ and how can EQ help an individual during the consulting project? Let me start by asking you this question. Have you ever worked with someone who you really liked, but ended up completely frustrated with them, wishing you had never started working with them in the first place? Or, have you ever had a customer whose work style was completely different from yours? Or a micromanager or someone who continually wanted to change what you had completed or decided upon?
How does that make you feel? Have you ever gotten to the point of giving up? Most of us would have to say that we have been frustrated with others we have worked with. At times we may have even reached a breaking point and “lose our cool” with the individual/s we are upset with. For someone with an average or even a low level of EQ, it could be hard to control emotions when they reach the breaking point, or even when they rise above a moderate level.
For someone who has a high level of EQ, they have the ability to control their emotions or to avoid an emotional outburst even if they reach the breaking point. Why? They have developed techniques to help them process their emotions before losing their cool, so to speak. Let’s look at the scenario below with someone who is low in EQ:
Martin was the lead on a consulting project for an international law firm. He was helping them to devise a new training program for their 250 interstate employees. It was a big deal and there was a tight deadline. Martin had already met with the main key figures in the firm and had identified their needs, created a plan, and received confirmation — or the green light — to move ahead. Martin had finally completed designing the new training plan and had set up a meeting to introduce the plan to all of the regional directors. He had also sent his proposal out to the key figures he had initially met with. However, the day before the meeting, one of the key figures he had met within the beginning, Darin, started to ask him questions about his plan. He started to get angry and yell at Martin, calling him names and accusing him of trying to sabotage their training program. Darin’s main premise was that Martin’s plan did not address their needs, even though he had received clarification from the team as a whole that his initial ideas were aimed in the right direction.
After spending countless days and sleepless nights working hard on this project to meet his deadline, Martin could feel his blood begin to boil as Darin continued to drill him on the matter and to tear apart his beloved plan. He felt completely disrespected by Darin’s attack and instead of using his skill as a professional to diffuse the situation and to regroup later, or to talk with the leadership team as a whole, Martin lost it. He proceeded to tell Darin what he thought of him and his law firm. Martin stormed out of there, yelling accusations at the law firm partners as he left.
What happened in the above scenario? As introduced with the opening scenario featuring Julie, Martin fell victim to a phenomenon that occurs in our brain when we are faced with a fearful or confrontational situation. It has often been referred to as the “fight or flight” scenario. When this happens, our sensory information is being received by the brain, but instead of going to the cortex, where the sensory information is processed with the logical portion of our brain to trigger a behavior, it is “hijacked” by the amygdala, a small almond-sized portion of our brain located on each side of our head by our temples. In other words, the sensory information goes directly to the amygdala and behavior is produced without traveling to the cortex. Therefore, there is no reason to our behavior, or it could be said that we are acting without thought. Some may reply afterward with, “I don’t know what I was thinking, I couldn’t help it.” At the time, this was correct. However, the good news is that this is the component of emotional intelligence called self-regulation and this can be trained or improved (as EQ can be trained, unlike IQ). Understanding this can help us to build more effective working relationships. In addition, understanding this can help us to stay ethical in managing our roles in the workplace, which is something Drucker discussed as a key element of managing relationships.
Written by Dr. Elisa Magill, current Dean of Faculty and Students at California Institute of Advanced Management. Find her latest book, “Harness Your Entrepreneurial ADD:: How to Move from Distraction to Action in the Age of Information Overload to Supercharge Your Profits” on Amazon.