The EQ interview finding employees high emotional intelligence part 12

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Q: Relate a time when you wanted something at work to remain the same, but others didn’t. • What did you do? • How did you feel about that? Q: Describe a time when you had to learn something new. • How did you feel about that? • How have you adapted to the new system? Q: Tell me about a time when you had trouble adjusting to a change. • What did you find difficult? Q: Give me an example of a time when you were flexible. Q: Give me an example of a time when you weren’t very flexible. Q: Tell me about a time when you had to reconsider how to interact or behave because you weren’t getting the results you required. Q: Were there any behaviors that you had to abandon that worked for you in a previous job that didn’t work in a new job? • How did you know these behaviors didn’t or wouldn’t work in your new job? For managers or leaders: Q: Tell me about a time as a manager that you found it necessary to bend the rules. • What did you do? • Why did you do it? • How did you feel about it? Q: Tell me about a time when you were flexible and accommodated the needs of someone on your staff. • How did you feel about that? Q: 104 As a manager, have you ever been flexible and later regretted it? THE EQ INTERVIEW Q: What types of behaviors did you need to develop when you transitioned from worker to supervisor? • From manager to director? Q: Were there any behaviors that you had to abandon that worked for you in a previous role that didn’t work in a new role? • How did you know these behaviors didn’t or wouldn’t work in your new role? Q: Was there ever a time when you changed roles or jobs or organizations that you had to let go of behaviors that contributed to your success in past situations? KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASSESSING ANSWERS With all the changes that take place in the workplace, candidates should be able to give you concrete examples of times when they had to be flexible. Asking the follow-up question “How did you feel about that?” is an important way to assess the candidate’s underlying assumptions about change. Is the candidate someone who enjoys change, or does he like things to remain the same? Look for a picture to emerge about how the candidate views change. Just as with all the competencies, the job will dictate whether or not the competency is important. Being rigid and following a set pattern, schedule, or method may certainly be desirable in some jobs. In fact, being too flexible in some positions may be a detriment. Carefully match the competencies with the job. If flexibility is important, listen for evidence that the candidate is indeed flexible. Consider this answer to the question “Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a change at work”: “Well, just recently, we changed the procedure for receiving large orders. We used to have two people check in the order. One would check the computer system and verify the order against the packing list, and the other person would check for the merchandise. Now, one person has to do both jobs. So, I had to learn how to use the computer system where the electronic packing lists and orders are stored.” The interviewer then asked the follow-up question “How do you feel about that?” and gained the following information: “Well, I don’t like it. It’s so much easier to do it PERSONAL INFLUENCE: INFLUENCING SELF 105 the other way. It’s confusing to find everything on the computer and also go and check the order.” Another follow-up question provides even more information about the situation: “How are you adapting to this change?” “Well, I’m doing okay. My supervisor said that I had the fewest discrepancies and also had the fastest check-in speed, so my numbers are very good. Our department measures speed and accuracy of order check-in.” So it’s possible to dislike the change yet be able to adapt quite well. This answer gives the interviewer important information. If the candidate had said, “I’m adapting okay,” the interviewer wouldn’t have enough information to evaluate the candidate’s position and would need to ask for concrete measures. Also, remember that additional examples will enable the interviewer to determine whether the candidate generally dislikes change, yet adapts well, or whether this is an isolated example. It’s important to acquire this information if the job that you’re interviewing candidates for requires lots of change and flexibility. In addition, employees, and especially managers and leaders, should understand that different jobs and roles might require different sets of behaviors. If they are aware that different roles or jobs require different behaviors, probe to discover how they became aware of the need to adapt. Were they able to read the environment or the people and realize that they had to adapt their behavior? Or did someone have to point out the need for a different set of behaviors? Preferably the candidate determined the need for different behaviors by observing others in a similar role, by assessing people’s reactions, and by anticipating differences. This internal compass would lead to flexible and adaptable behavior without the need for someone to point it out. If someone must point it out, the person may have already lost credibility or have a performance problem. Asking a candidate interviewing for a managerial or leadership position about examples of when she accommodated others or when she felt it necessary to bend the rules gives you important insight into the candidate’s flexibility. You should assess the answers you receive against the fit within your organization. These questions involve judgment issues that you’ll need to evaluate against the landscape of your organization. For example, is the manager’s example about bending rules in favor of satisfying customers? The judgment portion of the question is separate from the issue of flexibility. If you’re attempting to 106 THE EQ INTERVIEW determine whether someone is flexible, the candidate should be able to give evidence where she demonstrated flexibility in her thinking and decision making and acted in a flexible way. FIGURE 7.1 Personal Influence—Influencing Self at a Glance PROS CONS Self-Confidence • Gives realistic description of use of abilities • Gives examples of taking proactive steps in difficult situations • Tone, speech, and other nonverbal behaviors indicate belief in self • Can articulate weaknesses in a manner that indicates self-improvement • Is willing to admit need for help • Is too fearful to reveal a weakness or ask for assistance • Cannot give examples of actions in difficult situations • Tone, speech, and other nonverbal behaviors indicate lack of belief in self • Makes all-encompassing statements regarding abilities that reflects arrogance • Makes statements that devalue others in the organization Initiative and Accountability • Gives concrete examples of independent actions to improve work • Takes responsibility for outcomes of actions • Demonstrates creative actions to solve problems or workplace issues • Blames self when actions do not produce desired results • Is unable to give examples of actions taken except when directed by others • Blames others or system when actions do not produce results • Uses system as an excuse for inaction (continued) PERSONAL INFLUENCE: INFLUENCING SELF 107 FIGURE 7.1 Continued PROS CONS Goal Orientation • Gives concrete examples of meeting goals • Seeks help if not meeting goals • Seeks clarification of goals and process to meet goals • Is open to coaching or learning from others who reach goals to improve performance • Rationalizes behavior when goals are unmet • Attacks the goals or standards as unrealistic if not met • Blames others if goals are unmet • Uses excuses such as lack of resources if goals are unmet Optimism • Gives examples that emphasize the positive factors • Discusses ideas in terms of possibilities or achievement • Can give examples of things learned from taking risks even if project failed • Discusses failure in terms of what was learned • Gives examples that emphasize negative factors • Discusses ideas in terms of why they won’t work or can’t be achieved • Sees projects or ideas as overwhelming • Demonstrates reluctance to try new things Flexibility • Can describe alternative solutions to problems • Gives examples of learning new methods or processes • Gives examples of accommodating others • Gives examples of when abandoned own solutions to accommodate others • Seeks only one solution to a problem, then abandons it • Resists learning new things • Is slow to accept change; doesn’t see value in change • Wants to go back to the way it used to be • Describes a narrow comfort range 108 THE EQ INTERVIEW Endnotes 1. Scott Beagrie, “How to . . . Build Up Self-Confidence,” Personnel Today, September 26, 2006, 31. 2. Robert Simons, “Control in an Age of Empowerment,” Harvard Business Review 73, 2 (March 1995): 80. 3. Ian Broadmore, “Self-Confidence: Top 10 Tips,” Training and Coaching Today, October 2006, 21. 4. Simons, “Control in an Age of Empowerment.” 5. W. Keith Campbell, Adam S. Goodie, and Joshua D. Foster, “Narcissism, Confidence, and Risk Attitude,” Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 17, 4 (October 2004): 297. 6. Simons, “Control in an Age of Empowerment.” 7. T.L. Stanley, “Managing Your Team,” SuperVision 67, 6 (June 2006): 10. 8. M. Seligman, Learned Optimism (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998). 9. J.M. George and K. Bettenhausen, “Understanding Prosocial Behavior, Sales Performance, and Turnover: A Group Level Analysis in a Service Context,” Journal of Applied Psychology 75 (1990): 698–709. 10. Todd Humber, “Emotional Intelligence,” Canadian HR Reporter 15, 16 (September 23, 2002): G1. 11. Seligman, Learned Optimism. 12. Adele B. Lynn, The EQ Difference (New York: AMACOM, 2004). 13. W.H. Bergquist, The Postmodern Organization: Mastering the Art of Irreversible Change (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993). PERSONAL INFLUENCE: INFLUENCING SELF 109 This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 8 Personal Influence: Influencing Others Personal Influence Inward Inward Outward Competency 1—Leading Others Competency 2—Creating a Positive Work Climate Competency 3—Getting Results Through Others 111 I nfluencing others lies at the heart of many jobs. In today’s work environments, influence is exercised at many levels—boss to subordinate, peer to peer within departments, peer to peer across departments, and even grassroots bottom-up influence, where empowered workers and teams make decisions and influence management to act upon their decisions. No less important is the need to exert positive influence with customers, vendors, and patients as we manage these crucial relationships. Influence, once the primary bailiwick of management, now often belongs to everyone within the organization. In many environments, the person with the strongest skills for a particular task or project emerges as the leader. In this way, leaders emerge and retreat as the work demands. Whether or not you own the title of leader, many jobs require you to influence others. Influence sends a message of respect, results in actions that are voluntary, and yields better quality. When you need to get things done through other people over whom you have no power, influence is often the best or only choice to get the job done.1 Influence combines many of the competencies we’ve talked about thus far. In this case, however, they converge into three competencies: 1. Leading others, which is the ability to get others to follow you; 2. Creating a positive work culture; and 3. Getting results through others. Competency 1: Leading Others In a pure sense, someone’s leadership competence can be measured by determining whether others follow. The idea that it takes followers to define a leader proves worthy, especially with a candidate applying for a position of leadership. Asking questions aimed at uncovering times when people follow would indicate whether or not the candidate successfully leads others. There is no doubt that Hitler, Christ, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were all leaders because of the sheer volumes of people that were followers. We recognize, of course, that if one is to be an effective leader, many other competencies must also be in place. But at this point, the interviewer and hiring manager must look for evidence that the candidate capably gets people to follow her. 112 THE EQ INTERVIEW Consider these examples: Jeanette’s passion about music and theater abounds. She lives in a small town more than a three-hour drive from the nearest city. She decided that three hours was too far to drive to enjoy her passion. So, she began to plant seeds in her community about starting a local theater group. In the four years after she first aired her idea of starting a local theater group, Jeanette has assembled dozens of actors and artists, many sponsors, and throngs of fans who participate in a robust summer theater series. In another example, Brien, a serious student of Deming’s quality concepts, decided to create a Deming study group to learn and discuss the application of Deming’s teaching. Twenty years later, this small study group, now called CoREM—the Council on Realizing Excellence in Management—still meets monthly. The group organizes guest speakers who present ideas for discussion, book reviews, case studies, and new concepts to a group of interested learners. Brien still holds a leadership role in this quiet nonprofit, which offers all of its programs free of charge. In yet another example, Gerard believed that the small company he worked for wasted thousands of dollars in time and materials due to improper training. He said that when he came on board three years ago, no training program existed for new employees. After struggling for six months to learn the job, Gerard decided that no one should have to go through what he went through. He asked all of his coworkers to help him document the training process. He convinced them that by documenting and helping new people learn the job, everyone’s life would improve because of fewer reworks, less frustration, and a greater amount of money to be divided in the profit-sharing program. Most people contributed, and Gerard created a training program for new hires that the company uses today. In each of these examples, these people created followers. The ability to get people to follow is a critical component of influencing others. Questions to Assess Leading Others Q: Tell me about a time you had an idea and you got other people to follow you. • What did you do? PERSONAL INFLUENCE: INFLUENCING OTHERS 113
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