Friday, August 26, 2011

The EQ Interview - Top Mistakes - 1

We're not always superman.

ME – ME – ME – If I’m interviewing someone, I certainly want to hear about a person’s accomplishments. But, I’m also very interested in how a person frames his or her accomplishments. If it’s all about ME, then I have to wonder… “Does this person ever acknowledge others and the contribution that others make toward his or her success?” I’m looking for an occasional mention of “team” of “helpful colleague” or “helpful boss or mentor” otherwise, I’m concerned that I’m hiring someone whose only view is of self. I’d like to hear that without asking the person if others were involved in the success. If I have to ask, then I’m concerned that it isn’t something that the person values.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nice Guys Finish Last: Disagreeing versus Disrespecting

With all respect to Leo Durocher, why can't Nice Guys finish first once and awhile? "Do Nice Guys -- and Gals -- Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income," by Timothy A. Judge of the University of Notre Dame, Beth A. Livingston of Cornell University and Charlice Hurst of the University of Western Ontario, was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Since that publication, news outlets and bloggers have jumped on the study's finding, that nice guys, do in fact, finish last in terms of compensation.

But how are we defining "nice" and "not nice"?

The study's findings seem to point to the "not nice" individuals as those who are more disagreeable. But disagreeable doesn't mean disrespectful.

When teaching classes on Emotional Intelligence (EQ), we often get asked the question, why do I have to be nice to everyone? Or, why should I care if someone is hurt by something I might say, if I'm right or if I'm only trying to help? The short answer is, you don't need to change. However, people with high emotional intelligence can deliver a hard message in a way that does not disrespect the receiver of the message. Does that mean that the deliverer of the message is being "nice"? Not exactly, the deliverer is still being disagreeable by bringing up organizational challenges, personnel problems, conflicting opinions, or any number of other difficult discussions, but doing it in such a way that promotes respect and values others. The folks who are more likely to be perceived as "nice" are more likely to be avoiding conflict by not bringing issues to the forefront.

In the contrary, a individual who promotes his/her opinions by disrespecting others ("that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard" or "I'm wasting my time in this meeting, the answer is clearly what I've already said"), might also be labeled "not-nice". Let's take a moment and think about the culture that is promoted by that individual. Do you think co-workers and employees are going to be willing to share potential problems or ideas with that individual? If that individual is a leader in the organization, ideas and suggestions may end up being stifled, which would limit the organizations power to proactively respond to potential issues.

An organization as a whole cannot adapt to challenges by avoiding conflict and ignoring issues or remaining inflexible in one position, it follows that an organization would most value those individuals who can disagree on issues and highlight challenges but still foster a culture of respect.

In short, high emotional intelligence allows a disagreement to come to the front but not disrespect. So let's redefine "nice" as "high EQ" and say that those guys and gals do finish first.