Feedback and Emotional Intelligence

What do employers want?


All you need to do is scroll through job postings, and you will find there are key ingredients for ideal candidates. Most, if not all, employers are looking for the following:


1. Listening and oral communication skills

2. Adaptability to change; working in a fast-paced environment

3. Innovation and creativity to obstacles

4. Personal management, motivation, striving toward personal development and accomplishments

5. Collaboration, teamwork, interpersonal skills to work with other people, cooperativeness and negotiating skills

6. Want to make an impact beyond the job responsibilities itself; be part of something bigger


All the ideal candidate ingredients are emotional intelligence skills. Or at the very least require a foundation of emotional intelligence skills in order to execute on well.


Let’s weave into the mix, a HOT TOPIC right now – leadership skills as related to giving feedback.

Marcus Buckingham is currently on the circuit talking about how much people don’t like getting feedback. People don’t want feedback. People are closed off to feedback.

And yet feedback is a primary managerial skill – required by all managers and required to do well.


So, if I am a manager, hiring an employee with all these skills then I should be providing feedback on their performance in these areas. Do I? Sometimes.


Most of the time, however, I’m giving feedback on job related tasks and not the skills I hired them for. Feedback here will drive EQ development.


Now a common practice in leadership programming, or at least a big chunk of it, is to provide managers with processes that allow them to give feedback well.

BUT there is a competing trend to change the way in which feedback is given because no one likes to get feedback, so we have to change the way it’s delivered.


Is anyone asking why?


This is what I’ve been percolating on for a few days.


Could it be because EQ or emotional intelligence has been rapidly on the decline?

If we were to grow our EQ/EI skills, would feedback be perceived differently?


Instead of being interpreted as a personal attack, would I see feedback as information intended to help me grow and develop and reach my potential? Would I see it as an olive branch, extended to inform me of a difficult truth I’ve been avoiding or fooling myself about?


Feedback isn’t offensive to the emotionally intelligent.


Developed EQ allows the individual to see feedback objectively, not subjectively, and not emotionally because:

- high self-regard allows them to know their strengths and weaknesses

- high emotional awareness allows them to temper their emotions during the feedback process by managing their stress

- high emotional expression allows them to understand the emotional state of the manager providing feedback because they are proficient at interpreting emotional cues

- most importantly, high self-actualization, the pursuit of meaningful activities relevant to constant growth toward our optimum performance, allows me to be in the feedback objectively


Developed emotional intelligence allows me to remove myself from the way the feedback is delivered and look at it objectively, placing myself back in the moment that was observed, that the feedback is about, and see the interaction through the eyes of the observer. To take their observations and examine how, what they saw, aligned, or failed to align with my intention and purpose and then take that feedback to make changes to my behaviours or my thoughts in that moment.


Developed emotional intelligence allows me to question the behaviours, seen through another’s eyes, and understand how they came to their conclusions; taking the feedback and building upon skills, behaviours, beliefs.


Okay…so let’s talk about when emotional intelligence is not developed, whether it’s the manager or the employee or both.


Employee first. Poorly developed or low emotional intelligence will cause the employee to tighten their armour and raise their shield. This will result in one of 2 things: silence or violence. The employee is either going to fight or flight. After all, when the emotional shield is raised, that’s all that can be done – react. And when emotions are high, logic has a very difficult time existing. Thinking remains on the back burner. The only thing the employee is thinking about is survival and they will do anything to survive.


Manager. Poorly developed emotional intelligence will cause feedback to wear a cloak of authority, personal attack, and subjective opinion. It will be buzzing with untampered emotions and coloured with language that is hurtful. It will be focused on the character of the person rather than the behaviour. It will be delivered personally because it is personal.


Talk about a catastrophic accident to the relationship. No one is walking away from this interaction unscathed. The ripple effect of this interaction will live forever and, in my opinion, be incredibly difficult to survive or recover from.


Making feedback better starts with development of your emotional intelligence. It’s necessary for this and for all interactions with people; for our ability to be better for ourselves and for others.


Within manager to employee relationships this is a cornerstone to the feedback revolution. To being on the same side of feedback and knowing that the place it comes from is the heart.


Your IQ plus your EQ equals your Talent Quotient

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