What to do and what not to do with difficult partners was the subject of two recent posts (Leadership Frame #8 & #9). Coincidentally I came across a recent article from Travis Bradberry at Talent Smart (the EQ/emotional intelligence people) and he offered some more tips from an EQ perspective which I thought would be helpful for readers. Essentially this is about ensuring your own emotional intelligence is such that you are well prepared to deal with difficult partners. This requires understanding EQ and then having some EQ strategies you can use to assist in these situations.  I summarise some of these below with my liberal editing and annotation in the context of dealing with difficult partners.

Difficult partners, like angry babies, can at times be impossible. You need to be geared up to deal with them and not avoid the issues they bring to the firm. EQ techniques can provide some pointers.

Just like angry babies, difficult partners sometimes defy logic. While some partners may be blissfully unaware of the negative impact they have on those around them, some  almost seem to get satisfaction from being obstructive, creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity and strife and end up wasting a heck of a lot of leadership and management time.

Bradberry  (author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0) makes two important points:

  1. to deal with difficult people effectively, you need an approach that enables you, across the board, to control what you can eliminate and know what you can’t; and
  2. the important thing to remember when it comes to difficult partners, and the impact that they have on you and the firm, is that you are in control of far more than you realize.

Suggested steps:
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Leadership Frame #1 – Emotional Intelligence (‘EQ’)

In an earlier post I signaled posting  on Leadership Frames – key techniques and skills for successful leaders – simple yet effective – this is the first of the series.

Leaders should understand the importance of EQ. It determines leadership success and top performers are high in EQ. Together with our innate intelligence (‘IQ’) and personality, it makes us who we are.

EQ is a flexible skill that can be learned. In other words, even if you are not born with it, high EQ is one of the leadership frames that can be developed. Many of the points in this post are highlighted in the excellent book  Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Bradberry & Greaves.

EQ, IQ and Personality: who we are

Our IQ (intellect or intelligence) is distinct from EQ.

Three distinct qualities we all possess – IQ and Personality which are fixed, and EQ which can be developed. (Graphic adapted from EQ 2.0)

IQ is not flexible and is fixed from birth. You do not get smarter by learning new facts or information. Intelligence is rather your ability to learn. It is the same at age15 or 50.
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