Typically, I don’t write a lot over the summer. I love trying to ‘catch up’ with all the reading I have wanted to do. That said, when I read this #CHARLESTONCHURCHSHOOTING; it resonated so much with me that I had to share it! Seriously!? Bill Ferriter has many great insights. This post, though, really gets to the essence of why I am an educator. Thank you William Ferriter!
Due to a fortuitous convergence of related articles I have been thinking a lot about Emotional Intelligence, whether we can change it for ourselves and how one’s EQ relates to interpersonal conflicts.
Unless you live in a bubble you’re likely exposed to POTENTIAL interpersonal conflicts on a weekly (if not daily) basis. I say POTENTIAL because we have a fair bit of control over whether these actually develop into conflicts. Having two teenage children, right now, I have been reflecting A LOT on how to reduce interpersonal conflict (that should give you a clue as to how often these potential conflicts develop!). Occasionally, conflicts at work also occur… So, I read a useful article on “Five Secrets for Mastering Conflict” published by the “VitalSmarts” folks who are behind Crucial Conversations and CrucialSkills. Skills for Change. Change for Good.
Essentially, before having a crucial/difficult conversation…
- Be truthful without being brutally honest. I like to call it compassionate honesty.
- Get your facts straight first and link them to your feelings… don’t just share your feelings without facts, it turns people off and causes them to tune you out, fast.
- Don’t listen defensively, listen with true intent to understand the other’s perspective.
- Take honest responsibility for how YOU have contributed to the situation.
- Instead of being afraid of saying something because you fear the costs, if things don’t go well, consider the costs if you don’t say what needs to be said and try to think positive about how the conversation could turn out if it goes well.
The possible problem with all this is that these skills directly relate to one’s Emotional Intelligence. So… if your EQ isn’t great, what do you do? Can an EQ be increased? The good news is, it can! It’s not easy but there are some basic, positives to get us going down the path to improvement. According to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in the Harvard Business Review, there are 5 key points to consider:
- We CAN change our EQ but long term improvements require plenty of hard work and guidance/feedback. Luckily, our EQ tends to naturally improve with age.
- Interpersonal Skills is the most coachable characteristic of one’s EQ.
- To improve, we need specific and accurate feedback – like, 360-degree feedback and other specific, accurate coaching processes.
- Since some techniques and processes are better than others, focus on the ones that are in the “cognitive-behavioral therapy” realm NOT the “self-esteem/confidence-building” realm.
- Some people are simply more coachable than others… this is not a reason to give up! This is a reason to do a coachability pre-assessment to help initially map the journey and increase the effectiveness of the coaching.
The bottom line is, if you really want to improve, there are concrete ways to do it that can help you develop better interpersonal communication skills that can help reduce conflict. Here is another resource on improving one’s EQ:
Fleas and Revolutionaries by Michael Josephson
Here’s another great post by Michael Josephson that I want to share… with the caveat that I don’t endorse tying the idea of the glass half-full to political revolutionaries. However, there’s no doubt there’s power in positive thinking… and, positive actions! I would tie this concept to the actions of education revolutionaries!!!
I was led to that book from watching a video interview by Katie Couric that really gave me something positive to reflect on… service to others and the difference it makes. Not only does it feel good to know you’re helping others… you can actually make a real difference.
Educators make a difference in the lives of their students on a regular basis. How can we get our kids to take that and ‘pay it forward’. I’m convinced that we can combine helping opportunities with encouraging stories (like the one above) to really build global citizenship.
AND! We benefit by helping others! It’s a win-win! There’s plenty of evidence that shows that giving of ourselves is good for us, so let’s get out there and give what we can!
So, here’s a brief plug to help out Mother Earth! Do SOMETHING to help make a difference AND commit to doing that something regularly. Here’s a list of possibilities… there’s countless more everywhere you turn!
- Take a Global selfie… (see NASA link >>)
- Help your city become more sustainable (visit Green Cities Campaign for more information)
- Make sure your light bulbs are CFLs so that you are using less electricity.
- If your heater is electric… set it to come on just a couple degrees warmer than it’s currently set.
- Use recycled paper.
- Don’t let your car run/idle if you are just sitting in it, waiting for someone.
- Insulate your home.
- Bring your own bags to the market…
There’s a much longer list of suggestions at StopGlobalWarming. I’m sure there’s many things on that list you can commit to!
Happy Earth Day!
I really think it’s common sense that email responses should be given in a timely (24-48 hours) fashion. Am I nuts!? Sometimes, I feel I am when I never get a reply to an email I have sent – especially one with a request or question in it.
So… I turned to the internet! What does ‘prevailing wisdom’ (whatever that is!) say about the proper netiquette on email replies? (By the way, the links below also have other great netiquette tips!)
Even Microsoft has something to say on this! There are wikis about email etiquette, news articles (the Globe and Mail, the New York Times) , business articles (Inc., Business Insider) , etc... Guess what? The prevailing wisdom is that emails should be responded to in anywhere from 24-48 hours! Definitely!
If you are so busy that you cannot respond at all (you’re there but not “away” to require an away message be in place), you are in fact deciding to ignore the Sender — even if for the time being — and that’s exactly what they will assume. You’ve made a decision that their e-mail is not important to you or you would have responded.
There really is no gray area here. Perception is alive and well in regard to how quickly you respond to those who take the time to e-mail you.
- “Reply promptly. If you need to do some research or some thinking before you respond to an email, or if you’re too busy to write a full response promptly, send a short response letting the sender know that you got the email and advising when you will respond.” ~ wikiHow
- “The roaring silence. The pause that does not refresh. The world is full of examples of how the anonymity and remove of the Internet cause us to write and post things that we later regret. But what of the way that anonymity and remove sometimes leave us dangling like a cartoon character that has run off a cliff?” ~ NY Times
- “Respond in a timely fashion. Unless you work in some type of emergency capacity, it’s not necessary to be available the instant an e-mail arrives. Depending on the nature of the e-mail and the sender, responding within 24 to 48 hours is acceptable. —Duncan” ~ Inc.
- “Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you. It’s difficult to reply to every email message ever sent to you, but you should try to, says Pachter. This includes when the email was accidentally sent to you, especially if the sender is expecting a reply.” ~ Business Insider
- “Just because someone doesn’t ask for a response doesn’t mean you ignore them. Always acknowledge emails from those you know in a timely manner.” ~ Email Etiquette
- “Answer swiftly. Customers send an e-mail because they wish to receive a quick response. If they did not want a quick response they would send a letter or a fax. Therefore, each e-mail should be replied to within at least 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day. If the email is complicated, just send an email back saying that you have received it and that you will get back to them. This will put the customer’s mind at rest and usually customers will then be very patient!” ~ 32 most important email etiquette tips
So… Go ahead, make my day! Email me!