FDIC is the guarantor of emotional intelligence for an organization. It helps you address and navigate emotional challenges and evaluate your progress as an organization.
During Coronavirus we binge-watched Scorpion. The storyline is built around a team of geniuses who solve large-scale threats while struggling to have healthy interpersonal relationships.
The plots are ridiculous – you repeatedly suspend disbelief as they hang from helicopters, fall from space, sink in quicksand, all while defeating threats to individuals and, at times, the entire planet.
Why did we keep watching? Because we enjoyed the character development. Walter, the leader of Scorpion, struggled with EQ or Emotional Intelligence.
When Dealing With Emotional Intelligence Sometimes Being Right Isn’t Enough.
You have to win people over and convince them to do what is right. Leaders and managers face the tension between what is true and what is effective daily. You need to be right and persuasive, not merely right.
So, to that end, I introduce you to FDIC.
This is not the organization that insures your bank accounts, but an acronym for addressing interpersonal challenges and expressing EQ.
When you face behaviors that you want developed or changed in yourself or others, the FDIC helps you evaluate your progress.
How often does this behavior happen? If it is a negative behavior, you look for frequency to decrease over time. If an employee is sarcastic during meetings and is pushing other team members away, then you need to coach this employee that sarcasm is rarely the appropriate response in a professional setting.
The Frequency Of Behavior Related To Emotional Intelligence
It is unlikely that someone who has spent years honing his art of sarcastic wit will be able to turn off this spigot on the spot. More likely the frequency of sarcasm will drop with repeated encouragement and drawing his attention to the behavior when it emerges instinctually.
For positive behaviors you are often seeking the increase in frequency. Following a checklist for a repeated process may be tedious, but when your team members do this with increasing frequency the number of errors plummet.
Those demonstrating emotional intelligence will exhibit behaviors with the appropriate frequency.
The Duration Of Behavior Related To Emotional Intelligence
How long does the incident last? Can team members have productive healthy conflict to resolve issues without it becoming personal? Many people say they can do this, but they are still drawn in personally and feel attacked or diminished.
Can they abandon this defensive posture quickly or do they get stuck there, unable to hear the issue that is actually the focus of the conversation? Do they continue to freeze out their colleague over the subsequent days and weeks?
Of course, there are behaviors you want to last indefinitely. Commitment to the team should not wax and wane, but should remain consistent or grow over an extended period.
Duration is a reliable indicator of emotional intelligence. Someone who holds a grudge for months or years is not sufficiently mature.
The Intensity Of Behavior Related To Emotional Intelligence
How quickly does a team member ramp up emotionally? Do they turn it up to 11 when 7 would be more than sufficient? How intense is the exchange?
Some people react quickly but are able to harness their emotions rather than allowing them to gallop out of control, trampling everyone around them.
Some personality styles can react with intensity because they are attempting to persuade, others because they feel that values or relationships are being threatened.
Intensity or passion is desirable at times, but can be inappropriate when the reaction is more than is called for and becomes threatening or repulses others rather than drawing them in. You want people who can be intense, passionate at the appropriate times.
Being emotionally flat can be an inappropriate lack of intensity. Some personality styles need to express their strong emotions by naming them because they tend to appear disinterested in most situations.
“I’m so excited” even if said with little emotion is better than not letting people in at all so that they are left to wonder if you care. Intensity needs to be calibrated to the topic and audience. Ability to calibrate intensity effectively is a sign of emotional intelligence.
The Context Of Behavior Related To Emotional Intelligence
Frequency, duration, and intensity are each part of the equation. Understanding the context is also essential. I’ve alluded to context in describing each of the other three, but it is its own element that needs to be considered.
Can you read the environment around you to know the appropriate mix of frequency, duration, and intensity that will produce the desired outcome?
When your boss conducts a regularly scheduled performance review, it is probably not the context for airing your grievances with the organization and leadership. Sometimes it feels good to be completely honest but rarely is that the appropriate strategy, regardless of context.
Coaching team members to read contexts is a skill essential to professional success. It is part of emotional intelligence because it reflects a judgment about what is wise rather than what is convenient or emotionally satisfying.
Summarizing The FDIC
Put these four elements together and you will demonstrate emotional intelligence. This isn’t the stuff of genius, but of ordinary human beings. You may not save the world but perhaps become more persuasive, more productive, and more relationally effective. For most of us, that is enough.
Dr. Stephen Julian is President of Julian Consulting, a firm specializing in team health, effective communication, and leadership development. He has worked with leaders and their teams for nearly 30 years in a variety of settings – including Africa, South and Central America.
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