Article: Being smart in dealing with EI-challenged managers

Employee Relations

Being smart in dealing with EI-challenged managers

What should you do when you have to deal with a manager who has a low Emotional Intelligence?
Being smart in dealing with EI-challenged managers

Having a boss with a low Emotional Intelligence (EI) means that they cannot read your emotions and are not getting all the information that you are sending them.  They might be unintentionally cruel, naively stoked about everything or do not know what their team needs to do their best.  

Having emotional intelligence means being able to accurately read their own emotions, use emotions to facilitate thinking, understand how emotions progress and are able to regulate their emotions.  Here are different ways of dealing with low Emotional Intelligence.

Bringing clarity into communication

It is best to be direct with your communication and spell out the message, while communicating with low EI managers.  For example, you are in a team meeting and your boss says something that makes you feel excluded, as if your opinion is not important and it does not matter.  Immediately after the meeting, book an appointment with the boss saying that you would like to have a conversation that would be beneficial for the both of you.  Retell what happened in the meeting, how it impacted you and what could be done differently.  Reach an agreement to mend the situation and for the both of you to move forward.  End the meeting saying that you are glad that both of you could have this conversation and avoid awkward situations in the future.

Avoid responding in kind

Fight the temptation of fighting evil for evil and do the same thing that the boss does to you.  It would only make the situation worse.  Maintain your professionalism so that it would create a positive impression on those who are watching or those who get to hear about it – probably your boss’s boss.

For example, at a restaurant if your boss is getting agitated because there are no menus and is blaming you for it, do not get upset.  Instead, stay calm and say that the menus are on the way.  Repeat as often as necessary.

Document your work

Keep track of your accomplishments and compliments received from co-workers and managers from other departments.  Record the date, what problems existed at the time, what would have happened if you had not acted and how did your actions have a positive effect on the team and on the organization.

Use objective measures

Record your accomplishments that can be measured.  Take the help of data and numbers wherever applicable.  For example, saying “I resolved that ticket in three hours compared to the departmental average of 5 hours” is better than saying “I resolved that ticket promptly”.  Another example would be “I answered 80% of my calls within the second ring” is much better than saying “I answered my calls properly”.

Confront with evidence

During confrontations, if you approach your boss with detailed data that can be objectively measured, then your boss cannot complain about your work.

Keep your network active in case you are forced to part ways with your boss.  Be graceful and find out if you learnt anything of value at all from that manager, learn from the experience, use humour to cope and do not bad mouth your boss to his or her manager.  Deal with the situation professionally or make a decision to move on.

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Topics: Employee Relations, Life @ Work

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