Emotional Intelligence – The ‘X’ Factor For Success

Emotional IntelligenceIn April I read a wonderful article in the NY Times by David Goleman titled, “How to be Emotionally Intelligent.”

As I read this article, I felt as if I had gone back in time to visit the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. The first line of the article asked, “What makes a great leader?” If you remember, each character in the Wizard of Oz felt he was lacking something that would make him complete, a leader. The Scarecrow asked for a brain to be smart, the Lion asked for courage to be brave and the Tin Man asked for a heart to feel emotion. The Wizard told each they already had what they were looking for; they simply didn’t have tangible evidence of what they already possessed. He gave each an item to represent the characteristic they sought. He bestowed upon them either a degree, medal or watch to turn the intangible elements of education, bravery and emotion into evidence based items.

Mr. Goleman does something very similar in his emotional intelligence article. His tips will help the rezooming attorney find actual footing on what they already possess but maybe cannot see, as the watch, medal and degree did for the tin man, lion and scarecrow. As rezoomers, emotion sometimes gets the better of us. It can get in our way or disable us. Mr. Goleman says,

“The ability to identify and monitor emotions, your own and others is key to leadership.”

Leadership is what we rezoomers bring to the table in spades. However, we hide our leadership abilities ‘under a bushel basket’ because we may feel we have no concrete evidence. We fail to adequately value our own innate magnificence because we have been out of the legal world for so long.

Mr. Goleman outlines “his short list of competencies” which include:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Empathy
  • Relationship skills.”

Self-Awareness comprises, “realistic self-confidence,” and understanding “your own strengths and limitations.” Recognize what you do really well and focus on those abilities. Be aware of tasks with which you struggle. Identify them and surround yourself with people who do those tasks effortlessly. I call this ‘recognizing my own magnificence.” I own it and likewise appreciate the magnificence in others. Collaborating makes everyone’s life better.

Be aware of your own “emotional” reactions and opinions and those felt by others. As a mediator, I monitor the emotional reaction of my clients in a session, to maintain a safe environment. I am also monitoring my own emotional reactions, what pushes my buttons and how I handle my emotions. I need to remain neutral in the mediation process. Recognizing my triggers helps me to maintain equilibrium in the process. Self-awareness, as outlined by Mr. Goleman, is key to successfully fulfilling your desire to rezoom.

Self-management includes resiliency and balance. If you are resilient and can recognize and respond appropriately to detours in your rezooming endeavor, it will result in more smooth sailing experiences. Balance enables you to be aware of your own strengths and shortcomings. Rezoomers who have been away from the law for a substantial period of time often react more calmly in crisis because they are not in panic mode. They see solutions because they are not singularly focused on the problem. You arrive at solutions by discussion and consensus, not dictatorship.

A rezoomer needs to be self-motivated. If they are not, rezooming will be an insurmountable task. You must be your strongest advocate, have the clearest vision of your rezooming path and allow for positive/negative detours along the way for necessary growth and learning.

Empathy, both cognitive and emotional, will allow you to recognize your own and others understanding of a situation. You will be able to put your ideas out there for review and input. Welcome discussion that allows for learning and finding alternate solutions. Allowing others to contribute and learn from positive and positively delivered negative observations encourages a growth environment.

Listening should always be your paramount objective when communicating. Listening first does not make you less right. It may, in fact, make you more right. If you have the foresight to listen first to an alternate view of the situation you may not have considered, you effectively open up the process to finding solutions never before considered. This can happen if you simply take the time to listen.

Relationship Skills is about compelling communication and being a team player:

A rezoomer needs to be clear about their experience and persuasive about why they are the right leader for the position. This will motivate the interviewer to hire them. You are the right person for the job if you show you have the ability to listen. It is not all about driving home your resume. Read the room and understand how they work together. This enables you to be a leader and places them in a position to recognize the ‘good-fit.’

Knowing what makes a great leader is easy when you are a rezooming attorney. Your tangible value is packed in the experiences you have had in different situations. You have survived and thrived (or not). You always look to learn from your experiences. Don’t sell yourself short. Recognizing your competencies in the areas of emotional intelligence are your tangibles, your Oz proof. Embrace your magnificence and the magnificence of others as the evidence which will enable you to rezoom easily.

Leaders are not always born. They can rezoom if they understand and embrace their emotional intelligence.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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