The EQ interview finding employees high emotional intelligence part 6

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Questions to Assess Resilience Q: Tell me about a time when you felt that you were defeated at work. • What did you do? Q: Tell me about a time when you were distracted or preoccupied about something. • What did you do? Q: Tell me about a time when you felt like giving up on something. • What did you do? Q: Describe a time when you didn’t think things could get any worse, and then they did. • What did you do? Q: Tell me about a time when you decided to give up on a goal. Q: Tell me about a time when you were overwhelmed at your last job. • How often does that occur? • What do you do about it? Q: Talk about the last time you were criticized at work. • How did that go? KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASSESSING ANSWERS For most of us, life just isn’t rosy all the time. By asking people to assess how they react to those times when work gets discouraging or when they feel overwhelmed indicates how resilient a person is during the difficult times. In response to questions about these situations, most people will want to filter their answers to present only a positive picture, so setting the tone for an honest discussion is important. You can do this by stating, “We know that every day can’t be a great day; I’d like to know more about those days at work that don’t go so well.” Then listen for the candidate’s ability to bounce back. First, what alerts the candidate to his response to bad days? Then, does the candidate have some 44 THE EQ INTERVIEW sort of system to recover or cope with the bad days? If possible, it would also be useful to assess how many of these days the person encounters. (If every day is a bad day, that may be cause for concern.) Be sure to look for the methods people use to overcome obstacles. It’s not that resilient people don’t have bad days, but they create ways to get through them. Oftentimes, resilient people realize that the situation is temporary. Others say they put the situation in perspective. Some say they talk it over with a confidant and realize that they may be blowing things out of proportion. Still others talk about what they may have been able to learn from these kinds of experiences. Candidates who dwell on the situations, place blame, constantly run away from challenging situations, give up, or describe victim or powerlessness behaviors provide the interviewer with cause for concern. BONUS QUESTIONS: AWARENESS AND CONTROL IN THE MOMENT An important concept in emotional intelligence requires people to be able to exercise both self-awareness and self-control “in the moment.” By exercising self-awareness and self-control in the moment, we avoid backtracking, hurt feelings, and wasted communication. For example, realizing after the fact that an action or behavior caused harm or was inappropriate proves better than not being aware at all, but it still requires the person to go back and right the situation. Perhaps the situation required an apology, or a discussion to clear the air. One manager summed it up by stating that she thought about how she treated a particular employee and realized that she lacked patience in the situation. She decided to apologize to the employee and then set aside time to listen to the employee’s issue. However, if a person can recognize and exercise self-awareness and self-control as the situation unfolds, she can then choose to act in an appropriate manner, thus eliminating unnecessary turmoil or backtracking. If the manager in the example in the last paragraph realized that her impatience affected the way she interacted with the employee, she could have adjusted her behavior on the spot. Interviewers and hiring managers should assess whether a candidate is aware and adjusts her behavior in the moment. SELF-CONTROL OR SELF-MANAGEMENT 45 Questions to Assess Awareness in the Moment Q: Tell me about a time when you realized that a conversation wasn’t going very well. (Is the candidate able to realize during the situation the dynamics of the situation?) • What did you do? (Is the candidate able to redirect the conversation for a better outcome?) Q: Tell me about a time when you realized that you weren’t speaking up during a meeting. • What did you do? Q: Tell me about a time when you realized that something was best left unsaid. • What did you do? KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASSESSING ANSWERS When exercising emotional intelligence in the moment, a person chooses to redirect conversations or actions as they unfold. The interviewer should look for examples where the candidate states that during a conversation or encounter, she steered the conversation in a more productive direction. Although it may prove difficult for the candidate to come up with examples, these kinds of displays of emotional intelligence speak volumes. A typical example might be: “The other day I was on the telephone asking for some information from a peer in another department. The peer, in a curt voice, said she didn’t have time to give me the information. I was annoyed at her answer, but immediately I thought, it isn’t going to get me anywhere to be curt in return. Therefore, I thought about her situation and I said, ‘I realize it’s the end of the month and you’re probably swamped. In fact, I hate to bother you with this request when I know you have so many other things to do.’ She’s a very reasonable person, so she said, ‘I’m sorry. I really am swamped and we’re shorthanded today. I know you need this. I can get this to you after lunch. Would that be okay?’ ” This candidate was able to give a concrete example of a time when she took steps to exercise emotional intelligence during the encounter that resulted in a more positive outcome. Had she acted on the fact that she was annoyed at being put off by her peer, she could have escalated the conflict. To establish aware- 46 THE EQ INTERVIEW ness in the moment, look for evidence of both restraint in escalating conflict and also examples of having the courage to speak up when appropriate. Both factors contribute to successful interactions. Competency 4: Planning the Tone of Conversations In addition to being aware in the moment, emotionally intelligent people take this skill a step further by planning the tone of their conversations so that they achieve the best results. To preplan a conversation or tone of a conversation, a person must anticipate reactions, impact, and outcomes. For example, the physician who curtly announces that you have less than six months to live and then walks out to attend to the next patient isn’t demonstrating much emotional intelligence. Likewise, the salesperson who fails to establish rapport or doesn’t anticipate or ask about a client’s needs hasn’t planned the conversation or tone that will achieve the best result. We’re talking not about a rote script, but rather about true awareness and skill at setting tone and strategy so that the best outcomes follow. Questions to Assess Planning Tone Q: Tell me about a time when you deliberately planned the tone of a particular conversation. (This indicates that the candidate is aware that tone affects outcome.) • How did you do that? (This indicates skill.) • What result did it have? Q: In your present job, can you tell me about some situations when you must think about how you are going to say something before saying it? • What must you consider? Q: Tell me about a time when you planned the way you phrased a problem or situation so that you could get the best result. Q: Tell me about a time when you missed an opportunity to set the tone in a discussion. • What happened? SELF-CONTROL OR SELF-MANAGEMENT 47 KEY POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASSESSING ANSWERS Just as strategy factors into business success, strategy also factors into our success in our human relationships. By strategizing to get the best outcome from a conversation, a person deliberately determines how to interact in a productive manner. When the candidate answers these questions, the interviewer should look for how the candidate planned and prepared for the conversation by anticipating the reactions of the other party. For example, the candidate may relay a situation similar to the following: “I had to talk to a coworker about a problematic situation. Earlier, we had a staff meeting and decided on several actions that we could take to help one another meet the end-of-day cutoff deadline for running work. The coworker wasn’t doing something that we agreed to at our staff meeting and it was affecting my results. I thought about how he might react. I anticipated that he could get defensive when I approached him. So, I decided to open the conversation by saying that several of the actions he was taking as a result of our staff meeting were really helping me meet my deadlines, and I thanked him for that. I asked if things were okay from his perspective, regarding the new actions. Then I broached the subject of the problem. I’m so glad I decided to think about how to approach him, because he was very open to talking about the problem. If I had just come out and accused him of not doing something we agreed to, he would have had a very negative reaction.” In this example, the interviewer can see that the candidate was sensitive to the fact that he could set the tone of the discussion by the way he approached his coworker. The candidate gave forethought to his strategy and delivered it in a way that achieved a positive result. Of course, this skill always has the potential for abuse. If a person sets the tone with the goal of creating outcomes that benefit only her or if she uses an insincere tone, she can be considered manipulative. Asking candidates to fully describe the situation or outcomes allows for a fuller disclosure of the facts. Also, probing questions about motive clarify the candidate’s intentions and sincerity. One candidate seeking approval of the lead engineer said, “I knew if I buttered George up, I’d get his approval for the project and I’d look like a hero to the guys upstairs.” Although this candidate may be sincere, further probing is in order because at face value, this response sounds quite manip- 48 THE EQ INTERVIEW ulative. Also, the candidate’s motives seem corrupt. A more in-depth discussion of manipulation and other warning signs for interviewers and hiring managers follows in the last chapter of this book. FIGURE 4.1 Self-Control or Self-Management at a Glance PROS CONS Emotional Expression • Expresses emotion with impact on others in mind • Tempers enthusiasm (if necessary) to show sensitivity toward others • Expresses anger in a constructive manner • Gives examples of expressing thanks and gratitude toward others • Claims he never expresses or feels negative • Too readily expresses anger • Behaves inappropriately when angry (especially without remorse or regret) • When overwhelmed or stressed, takes it out on others Courage or Assertiveness • Is able to take actions on issues of importance • Takes actions when work or organization is at risk • Is able to recognize when an issue is worth challenging • Does not let fear immobilize her or mute her position • Can give examples of exercising judgment while taking risk • Is unable to separate the issues; lacks perspective on which issues require courage and which require letting go • Is unable to see the need for compromise • Goes along too readily with status quo despite misgivings • Can’t provide example of speaking up about something important (continued) SELF-CONTROL OR SELF-MANAGEMENT 49 FIGURE 4.1 Continued PROS Resilience • Gives examples of learning from failure or criticism • Accepts challenges or obstacles and seeks solutions • Can articulate coping mechanisms for negative circumstances • Takes responsibility for actions to create a better situation when faced with obstacles • Reframes a negative situation to look for opportunities • Relies on inner strength to deal with negative situations CONS • Is unable to give an example of overcoming a failure • When facing criticism, gives up • Lacks confidants or appropriate coping mechanisms to assist with negative circumstances • Places blame on others for negative situations • Appears powerless or victimized when describing negative situations Endnotes 1. Robert E. Kelley, How to Be a Star at Work (New York: Times Business, Random House, 1998). 2. Todd Humber, “Emotional Intelligence,” Canadian HR Reporter 15, 16 (2002): G1. 3. Marshall Goldsmith, “Which Workplace Habits Do You Need to Break to Become More Successful?” Journal for Quality and Participation 30, 2 (Summer 2007): 4. 4. C.M. Pearson, L.M. Andersson, and C.L. Porath, “Assessing and Attacking Workplace Incivility,” Organizational Dynamics 29 (2000): 123–37. 5. Diane Bandow and Debra Hunter, “The Rise of Workplace Incivilities: Has It Happened to You?” Business Review (Summer 2007): 212. 6. Sigal G. Barsade, “The Ripple Effect: Emotional Contagion and Its Influence on Group Behavior,” Administrative Science Quarterly 47 (December 2002): 644. 50 THE EQ INTERVIEW 7. Kathleen K. Reardon, “Courage as a Skill,” Harvard Business Review 85, 1 (2007): 58. 8. D. Maxfield, J. Grenny, R. McMillan, K. Patterson, and A. Switzler, “Silence Kills,” VitalSmarts (2005): 9. 9. John J. Engels, “Delivering Difficult Messages,” Journal of Accountancy 204, 1 (July 2007): 50. 10. Bruce Bodaken and Robert Fritz, “The Managerial Moment of Truth: The Essential Step in Helping People Improve Performance,” Publishers Weekly, March 20, 2006, 47. 11. Engels, “Delivering Difficult Messages.” 12. Sandra Ford Walston, “Things to Love About Courage,” Strategic Finance 89, 1 (July 2007): 17. 13. Jane Goodman, “Career Adaptability in Adults: A Construct Whose Time Has Come,” Career Development Quarterly 43, 1 (September 1994): 74. 14. Christopher Peterson and Martin E.P. Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). 15. Connie R. Wanberg and Joseph T. Banas, “Predictors and Outcomes of Openness to Changes in a Reorganizing Workplace,” Journal of Applied Psychology 85, 1 (February 2000): 132. SELF-CONTROL OR SELF-MANAGEMENT 51 This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 5 Empathy Empathy Inward Inward Outward Competency 1—Respectful Listening Competency 2—Feeling the Impact on Others Competency 3—Service Orientation 53
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