EQ Skills

Oct 8, 2020 | 7 minutes read

Tag: blog

“Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” says Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist. Five major categories of emotional intelligence skills are recognized by researchers in this area: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills.

Competitive vs. Cooperative Conversation: Conversational Narcisism - “Sociologist Charles Derber shares the fascinating results of a study done on face-to-face interactions, in which researchers watched 1,500 conversations unfold and recorded how people traded and vied for attention. Dr. Derber discovered that despite good intentions, and often without being aware of it, most people struggle with what he has termed ‘conversational narcissism.'"

Intent vs. Impact- This article unpacks an iportant dichotomy when talking about power, privilege, and how we can be ignorant of how what we say and do impacts others. “When it comes to our attributions of guilt, blame, suffering, (im)morality, benevolence, pain, or any number of other outcomes, our perceptions of intent are – and have always been – a critically important factor in our perceptions of impact. “

During the COVID-19 crisis, poor email skills run rampant. Here are some resources if you’ve never considered that writing emails and crafting is a skill that needs to be developed, just like anything else!

Don’t Type at Me Like That! - This article from Psychology Today outlines some of the common misunderstandings that are more statistically probable in the electronic communication environment.

Appropriate Tone in Emails - Many emails come across as too abrupt because we’re in a hurry and just want to get to the point. Sometimes a brief explanation may help. And even an exclamation mark may soften your tone.

Jake’s Tips:

  • Proof read your emails! Even just one time through to see if it makes sense or if you misspelled anything can be very helpful.
  • Did you ask a question in your email? Put a question mark at the end to indicate it’s a question!
  • Did you address all the questions in the email above? Did you respond or acknowledge the other parts of the email? Normally during in-person communication, you would be nodding or making some sort of acknowledgement of what the other person is saying. You can’t do that in a discretized email communication, so you need to be more explicit to have the same effect.
  • If someone gives several options as a suggestion in an email, don’t reply with “sounds good”. Gmail might recommend it, but that doesn’t make it a helpful response. Be specific about what sounds good, and retype for clarity.
  • Did you hit “Reply All” or “Reply”? The difference might be significant. Make sure to check!
  • If there were multiple responses in an email chain since you asked your question, don’t respond with “Awesome, Thank you!”… who were you talking to?
  • If, for instance, two different meeting times on Thursday are proposed, don’t reply “Thursday works for me!”.

Note: if it seems like the above tips are silly to include because of common sense, know that each tip was written based on an actual email I received, in fact, I built these sections based almost exclusively from personally experienced email faux pas.

Jake’s Tips:

  • Make sure if you are in a smaller group or team meeting that you don’t leave the meeting until it is actually over. (This literally just happened to me, in the middle of talking about action points & next steps…)
  • Make sure you are muted or unmuted at the appropriate time.
  • Is there an expectation for having your video on or having it off?

Note: if it seems like the above tips are silly to include because of common sense, know that each tip was written based on an actual Zoom call I was on.

Jake’s Tips:

  • Never host a meeting without an agenda, a clear purpose, and clear action points.
  • Begin the meeting at the stated start time, and end promptly at the stated end time.
  • Silence in a meeting can signal disapproval, indifference, or incompetence. Make sure to contribute or participate at regular intervals if you are one of just a few team members, or give some signal that you are understanding and tracking with the meeting.
  • If there is a conversation that needs to happen between team members that does not involve the rest of the team, wait until a different time. Would you cc the whole team on your comment if it were in an email? If no, then there’s no reason to discuss it in the meeting.

Note: if it seems like the above tips are silly to include because of common sense, know that each tip was written based on an actual meeting I was in.

Jake’s Tips:

  • If you have weekly meetings and need to update your work, don’t wait until 5 minutes before (or even worse, during the meeting) to upload your most recent work to the folder. The point of the shared folder is to be able to look at each other’s work and provide feedback throughout the week, so dropping it in at the last moment defeats the purpose, and discourages collaboration.
  • If you’re changing something critical to another group member’s work, make sure to send them a notification or tag them in a comment. Otherwise, how will they know you’ve changed something?
  • If possible, discuss and agree on a folder structure and naming conventions for files and directories. Also, be sure to update the “readme” file in Github, and add a “Readme” in google drive for future use; this will keep your work organized and minimize time wasted later.

Note: if it seems like the above tips are silly to include because of common sense, know that each tip was written based on an actual group project I collaborated on.

Urgent vs. Important: The Eisenhower Matrix- “Developed by Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general in the United States Army, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, President of Columbia University, oh, and a two-term US President, this simple box divides tasks into simple categories of importance vs. urgency." - These podcasts completely revolutionized my management since I encountered them in 2015 and began to have employees and volunteers report to me. The podcasts about “feedback” totally changed the way I chose when and how to help my employees grow, and my teams thrived as a result! “Great managers talk about performance all the time. They do so easily, quickly both positive and negative. Our feedback model tells you exactly what to say and how to say it."

Five Ingredients to an Effective Apology - I’ve met only two or three people in my life who have been able and willing to give an effective apology. Once I made use of an effective apology, I was able to much more nimbly navigate what was really going on behind a misunderstanding, which led to more clarity, trust, and stronger relationships.

Four Types of Ineffective Apologies - “The empty apology is all form but no substance. It’s what you say to someone when you know you need to apologize, but are so annoyed or frustrated that you can’t muster even a modicum of real feeling to put behind it. So you go through the motions, literally saying the words, but not meaning it. And that ends up being pretty clear to the person receiving the message."

Why We Suck At Apologies - “Non-apologies tied to defending intent are further hurtful because they create a dynamic in which ONLY the offender’s intent has any validity or relevance to the exchange in progress. This has the unfortunate effect of pushing the other party out of the exchange, effectively “punishing” them for having a reaction that doesn’t mesh with the offender’s vision of themselves in that moment."