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Dealing with Workplace Conflict Using EI

Dealing with Workplace Conflict Using EI

A workplace brings together people with different life experiences, perspectives, and communication styles. That’s why workplace conflict of some kind will inevitably arise. In a social setting, people can simply choose to limit interactions. At work, however, it is a different story. Sometimes, whether you like it or not, you will have to work with people you don’t see eye to eye with. 

There are many reasons for having good working relationships. Your employees/coworkers can enhance your productivity, contribute to your emotional well-being, and broaden your mind, impacting new ideas and innovation. Emotions affect your interactions with others. Understanding your emotions will allow you to connect more authentically and communicate more effectively with your coworkers and teams. 

When you think of your relationships as investments, you will realize that the more you contribute, the more rewarded you will be in the long term. One positive side effect of good relationships with coworkers is collaboration and strengthening friendships. 

Building and strengthening relationships takes time and energy, but it is worth it. Engaging in conversations about emotions is one of the many actions you can take as a leader to boost business practices and improve performance and overall well-being. Establishing meaningful connections with your employees can change their lives and yours. 

At the centre of these conflicts are strong emotions that are not being addressed. As a leader, you may need to step in. Don’t be afraid of emotions—yours or those of your teams. 

Resolve Workplace Conflicts By Using Emotional Intelligence 

Ongoing conflicts in the office not only hurt the individuals involved, but the underlying tensions also impact the whole team. In such cases, leaders must intervene. Helping create an environment where your employees can thrive and feel good about coming to work is a fundamental part of your job as a manager. 

The challenge is when you don’t share how you feel, and people are left guessing how you feel by your actions. There can be a disconnect between your actual feelings and demonstrated behaviours. 

Unresolved or misplaced emotions can lead to dissatisfaction and, ultimately, can negatively taint relationships. Conflict resolution is an important skill, yet many of us lack it. 

Step One: Learn about the conflict COMMUNICATE

Give your employees a safe space to express their emotions. Pushing emotions down is a form of conflict avoidance, which leads to resentment and explosive reactions. Encouraging your employees to communicate their feelings early on can avoid adverse emotional responses in the future. 

Pause before you react. Take a deep breath and pause for a few seconds whenever you feel triggered by someone, something, or a situation. This grounding exercise will allow you to consciously choose how to respond. To create a healthy company culture as a leader based on emotional intelligence, you must lead by example. 

Encourage your employees to…

  • Be specific about how you are feeling.
  • Stop and breathe to calm yourself down and speak professionally and respectfully.
  • Describe the behaviour first, then your feelings.
  • Be specific about your emotions; rather than saying good or bad, describe how you are feeling.
  • Avoid the word “but,” as it negates every word you said before it.

Step Two: Listen to both sides of the argument EMPATHIZE

Often, the individual involved in the conflict is simply looking for an outlet to vent. As a leader, meet with your employees and become that safe space/outlet. 

Suppose your employees don’t feel they can confide in you or that you don’t care. In that case, they won’t take action to resolve the issue and will turn to their coworkers for this need, leading to office gossip and unnecessary drama that will impair your team’s ability to work together. 

Meet with the employees involved in the conflict and hear all sides of the story. Avoid judgment and be empathetic in these conversations. Remember, conflict in the office is stressful and upsetting; your team will not feel their best. Leaders need to display empathy, meaning they need to be sensitive to what, how, and why people think and feel the way they do. 

Empathy is about being tuned into how others feel and caring about those feelings as much as we do our own. It is critical in building strong interpersonal relationships. Empathy allows us to feel connected to others, learning to understand why other people do the things that they do. When people feel seen, heard, and cared for, that significantly impacts job satisfaction and the employee experience. 

In these conversations…

  • Have limitless curiosity about others so you can genuinely understand where the other person is coming from.
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt and assume the other person has positive intentions.
  • Listen carefully to nonverbal cues by paying attention to what others are saying beyond their words by their tone of voice and body language.
  • Challenge your prejudices and preconceived notions by focusing on similarities, not differences. 

Step Three: Determine the real cause of the problem and suggest a solution PROBLEM SOLVE

With the situation laid entirely out on the table, and you’ve heard both sides of the story, it’s time to determine the root cause of the conflict — what emotions are involved?  

Continue the conversation with your employees. Having them choose a more specific word choice will give you (and themselves) better insight into exactly how they feel, what caused it, and what should be done about it.

Accurately labelling emotions will enable you to make better decisions and understand others better.

It’s important to work with your team to identify their triggers. Once you have named the emotion, figure out what provoked that feeling. ​​Everyone has different triggers, often shaped by their experiences in their lives.

Understanding what pushes your buttons allows you to be in the driver’s seat of your emotions and is an excellent way to determine how you will respond in advance when triggered. Understanding your triggers not only gains a deeper understanding of yourself but allows you to regulate your reactions to others. 

Consider investing in emotional intelligence training programs for your team to become the leader with the tools to help your teams resolve conflict effectively. EI Experience training workshops and online programs that will help you avoid conflict in the future. 

Also, check out The Emotionally Strong Leader for a six-step self-coaching program to help you become a better leader at resolving emotional conflicts and more.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with our blogs! 

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Looking Ahead at 2023: Predictions From an EI Expert

Looking Ahead at 2023: Predictions From an EI Expert

At the beginning of the New Year, there is a natural urge to try to make predictions about the year ahead.

Many take a shot at the changes to come, whether in real estate, stocks, fashion trends, or the job market. Emotional Intelligence expert Carolyn Stern shares tools that can help you emotionally prepare for what might be around the corner for 2023.

Prediction #1: “The Great Re-Balance”

 

A Forbes article by David Morel predicts an end to “The Great Resignation” and a shift to “The Great Rebalance.” This essentially means a balance of supply and demand for workers and jobs.

In 2022, there were two job openings for every person unemployed. This forced employers to look deeper at their company’s culture and ask: Are my employees’ needs and wants being met?

There was a power shift to the worker, and changes had to be made in order to retain talent. This year, however, may introduce a new shift in the power dynamic.

In 2023, people may be staying at their jobs, but the problems will persist if left unaddressed. Issues like burnout, feelings of underappreciation, and quiet quitting did not disappear when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. These are the workplace issues that still need to be considered.  The question now is — will employers maintain the positive changes they started to implement in 2022?  

 “Don’t take the easy way out, be the employer of choice. It takes time and energy, but it’s worth it.” Carolyn Stern.

Emotional Intelligence is the answer to employee turnover, retention and engagement. EI can help provide a permanent balance to problems that plague the ever-going power shifts among employers and employees workplace.

Invest in emotional intelligence training give your leaders the tools to know what questions to ask to find out how their employees are feeling. 

Such as…

  • What motivates them?
  • What stresses them out?
  • How do they want to feel appreciated?
  • What does work-life balance look like to them? 

Leaders need to be brave to ask these important questions. They need to display empathy, meaning they need to be sensitive to what, how, and why people feel the way they do. Being empathetic is being able to pick up on emotional cues and respond appropriately. Leaders must “emotionally monitor” others on a moment-by-moment basis. When people feel seen, heard, and cared for, that significantly impacts job satisfaction and the employee experience.

Prediction #2: A Return To The Office 

“The concern is that those unconvinced about hybrid in the first place will use a recessionary market to get people back to the office.” —  David Morel, Forbes (December 2022)

The pandemic ushered undeniable change in corporate culture across all industries, including the introduction of remote/hybrid work. 

With the “Great Rebalance” creating a power shift from employee to employer, businesses may stop considering employee wants. Part of this shift may include a forced return to the office, so ensuring employees feel cared for and appreciated for their efforts and work is critical.

With many workplaces returning to the office or a hybrid workplace model,  how can EI help with the transition?

First, how are you feeling about returning? Check-in with your employees what will returning to the office look like for them? If they have any negative emotions associated with returning to the office, try to identify why they are feeling this way.

Second, let people know how you are feeling. Express if you are feeling any stress about returning to the office. Encourage your employees to do the same. Have a discussion and work through these emotions together. 

“Being emotional in the workplace is unprofessional. But having emotions isn’t.” Carolyn Stern.

Finally, what can you do to make the best of a situation? Determine whether or not a return to the office is necessary. If it is, try to look for the positives an opportunity to connect with your co-workers and create a sense of community.  

Prediction #3: Time To Take Stock And Reflect

“For business leaders, 2023 presents an opportunity – perhaps not for growth but for reflection. Now’s the time to take stock and improve working conditions, ready for recovery when employees and candidates once again favour those employers who create open, flexible, and healthy workplaces where they can thrive.” — David Morel, Forbes (December 2022)

2023 may not be the year for companies to expand and grow financially. But remember, it’s not always about the bottom line; it’s about how people feel. 

“Remember, the way your employees feel at work and about their work affects how they perform at work.”  Carolyn Stern.

When they think of your company, what are they saying? Are your employees feeling supported and fulfilled? 

It is important for leaders to continue reassessing their skills on a regular basis and constantly working to upgrade them. Identify any barriers you are facing at work — as a leader, the challenges you are facing affect the whole team. Being a leader that practices self-awareness and works to grow their own EI inspires others to do the same. 

It’s Time to Invest in Your People

 

The workplace will never be the same. 

2023 is the year to invest in emotional intelligence training and become an emotionally strong leader to seamlessly enhance the employee experience as workplace norms evolve.

EI Experience training workshops and online programs will help you not only face the challenges to come in 2023 but navigate through them to get the results you are aiming to meet! If you need a book recommendation to improve your emotional intelligence, check out The Emotionally Strong Leader for a six-step self-coaching program to help you become your best self. 

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#303 – 1231 Pacific Blvd

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Phone: 778-728-7322

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LEARN MORE. BE BETTER.

© 2023 Carolyn Stern & Associates Incorporated doing business as EI Experience

LEARN MORE. BE BETTER.

CONNECT WITH US

#303 – 1231 Pacific Blvd

Vancouver, BC V6Z 0E2

Canada

 

Phone: 778-728-7322

Email: [email protected]

© 2022 Carolyn Stern & Associates Incorporated doing business as EI Experience

How To Support Introverts in the Workplace

How To Support Introverts in the Workplace

As a society, we tend to listen to the loudest voice in the room. This is where extroverts may have more advantages in the workplace than introverts. However, the loudest person doesn’t necessarily always have the best ideas.   

That means it is up to leaders to make space for introverts to feel and be heard. For example, introverts may have anxiety about speaking up in meetings.

This isn’t to say that introverts have less to contribute; quite the opposite. Introverts tend to be thoughtful and reflective people who prefer to let their work speak for itself.   

Throughout her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain encourages us to change how we see introverts and, equally importantly, how they see themselves.

So how do you support introverted employees in reaching their full potential? The answer is simple: by using emotional intelligence. As a leader, you want to explore the following approaches to your management style to best engage your introverted employees.

So, how do you support introverts in the workplace?

1. Give introverts a space to share their ideas.

Team meetings make it easy to identify introverts from extroverts. Leaders need to accommodate their meetings to benefit both types of team members, allowing introverts to speak and extroverts to listen.

Utilizing technology like private group chats and direct messages in a remote or hybrid setting may help introverts feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Leaders may also consider having one-on-one meetings with all their employees. This creates an environment for introverts to share their ideas and leads to productive feedback sessions that benefit both the employee and the employer.

2. Recognize their unique value.

Recognizing someone’s value is essential for any employee, regardless of whether they are introverted or not. But when it comes to leadership, introverts may be routinely overlooked for leadership positions.

This is despite the fact that introverts possess emotional intelligence competencies that contribute to great leadership abilities. Introverts tend to practice impulse control and look at all possible outcomes before acting a business practice that offers reliable results. This practice also contributes to their problem-solving abilities. Introverts think before they act. In fact, a study by Adam Grant at the Wharton School found that introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes.

The point is, if you are an extrovert, take the time to look beyond what you think an ideal leader/employee should look like. Just because a leader/employee does not act like you does not mean they don’t bring value to the table. In fact, because they behave and think differently than you, that could bring great opportunities, innovation, learning and growth.

3. Know that one way of being isn’t better than the other.

​​Introverts and extroverts recharge their energy differently. Introverts need time to recharge alone after being social. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being around other people. Identifying these characteristics will allow employees to learn to recognize their feelings and pay attention to body sensations, increasing their emotional self-awareness. 

It is important to understand that extroverted nature is not better than introverted, and vice versa. Introverts and extroverts bring different sets of skills to a team. Skills that a company (and the world) need to function.  

No one is 100% introverted or 100% extroverted. As humans, we are complex and have characteristics from both.

The EI Experience training workshops and online programs can help you become a leader for all people introverts and extroverts. Helping your team meet their full potential.  

For every introvert who excels with independent work, there is an extrovert ready to collaborate. Together, they make the perfect team!

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter!

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What is a Transformational Leader?

Transformational leaders anticipate changes within an organization and aim to be ahead of them by preparing team members on how to navigate through them. The result will be a culture that fosters adaptability and innovation, where people feel inspired to handle whatever comes their way and supported to think outside the box.

So, how can you put your transformational leadership skills to the test and build the resilient culture you have always dreamed of? Below are three tips to help you get started.

1. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

Transformational leadership requires a high level of flexibility, so be prepared to condition your mind to anticipate unforeseen situations. Considering multiple outcomes and embracing change as an opportunity to grow and find new alternative ways to do things more effectively. This perspective will reframe your mental model around change, and force you to think of it more positively to prepare you to handle adversity.

2. EMPOWER YOUR TEAM.

Encourage your team members to think and learn on their own — that’s when new, and great ideas come to life. Delegating tasks and sharing decision-making power is not just the answer to a more productive organization; it also promotes employee growth. Providing your team with opportunities to learn and grow will inspire them to feel empowered and self-directed to handle any challenge that they face.

3. PRACTICE EMOTIONAL SELF-AWARENESS.

Take a moment and determine how well you know yourself. What are your strengths and development opportunities? Do you know your Emotional Intelligence level? Ask yourself these two questions to enhance your emotional self-awareness. It starts with you as the leader, so don’t cut yourself short, and spend time truly acknowledging how you can learn more, and do better by working on yourself.

The main takeaway is that a transformational leader knows when to take a step back to encourage creativity and employee autonomy, and step in to embrace change and make change within themselves. The three tips above will act as a great starting point for your transformational leadership journey. Not only will you be better equipped to embrace your emotions and those of your employees, but you will also build a culture of engagement

A culture that makes it OK to be human in the workplace. 

Implement these steps today to become a transformational leader — one who encourages employees to be self-directed, innovative problem-solvers.

Stay connected with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn more about how emotional intelligence can help your organization.

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Identifying and Overcoming Your Growth Barriers

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The Importance of Identifying Barriers

Barriers represent the real-life issues that get in the way of our success. The fascinating thing about barriers, however, is that though they may appear overwhelming, they serve a purpose — they help us uncover the root cause of our problems. 

Awareness of these barriers and how to combat them has become vital for success, especially for those of you in leadership positions. It’s important to learn to identify your obstacles because they do not just affect you; they also affect those around you.

For instance, say your suggestions in the workplace are dismissed by a colleague multiple times. This re-occurring event could result in you not wanting to share your thoughts anymore and, consequently, get in the way of innovation, collaboration, and the team’s overall performance. 

This issue has now become a barrier to professional development and is affecting your team’s productivity. 

There are various reasons why leaders are blocked from achieving their full potential. Obstacles are inevitable, so learning to identify them before they become barriers to your success is crucial.

So, what can you do to identify and eventually overcome these hurdles?

How to Identify Barriers

Begin by pausing to recognize the kind of challenge you are facing and how it is impacting you. Some barriers may be hindering your professional development, while others may be getting in the way of your personal growth.

Understanding the type of barrier you are dealing with will clarify how you address it moving forward.

Here are the three fundamental steps to help you identify and address your barriers, as well as those of your team:

1. Self-evaluation

Taking a step back and recognizing how you feel is critical. Start by identifying a one or two-word feeling, then ask yourself what that feeling is telling you about yourself, others and the situation you are facing. Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings and pinpoint what triggered them. Be an observer of your emotions, actions, and body sensations.

2. Assess The Needs of Your Team

Encouraging an open-door policy and weekly team meetings will provide insight into what your team members need from you, what challenges are triggering them and how it’s making them feel. Open and engaged communication with your team will help you identify how they can support you and how you can support them. It’s a two-way street.

3. Coach Yourself and Your Team

Now that you have identified your and your team’s triggers and how they make you feel, use that emotional data to determine the next steps. For instance, if you know you don’t like your ideas being dismissed, give that feedback to the person dismissing you. Coach yourself and your team by using emotions as information to act appropriately and professionally in the workplace.

Overcoming Your Barriers

Now that you have clarity on identifying your barriers and your team’s, you can start to see the positive impacts this will have on your life.  

Eliminating barriers to growth means removing all that interferes with your ability to self-improve. The result of overcoming such limitations is that it will give you satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. Ultimately, you will be empowered to express your ideas, and your team will be motivated to work as a unit with you. 

If you need personalized help identifying your growth barriers or those of your team,  book a call with us!

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