Emotional Intelligence Tips – EQ Competency – Straightforwardness

Emotional Intelligence Tips


"Straightforwardness is the ability to communicate your thoughts in a straightforward manner". Sounds simple doesn’t it?

But what gets in the way of our ability to communicate effectively without being misunderstood? In short – our emotions.

Often our concern about the reaction we might receive from the other person is what stops us from communicating in a clear and straightforward manner and can ultimately stop us from communicating at all.

Let’s try a simple exercise:
Scenario - You need to give feedback to a staff member and you expect that it’s not going to be well received. You are aware of an informal complaint from a client and realise that you probably should address it. It’s not a serious issue but if the situation continues you expect that it could become a problem and affect the business relationship with that particular client.

Many readers would say, ‘Of course you should address it – what’s the big deal?’ However, when a person with less straightforwardness is leading someone who is more assertive, addressing seemingly ‘difficult’ issues becomes inherently problematic. This is particularly true when the manager is expecting a less favourable response.

Here’s a practical strategy that could be used by someone faced with this situation:

1. Write down the pros and cons in answer to the question: ‘Should I directly deal with this issue?’

Pros

Cons

It will ultimately help our clients

I may get a negative response

The behaviour is a bad example to the rest of the team

Addressing this may hurt our relationship

Promptly and assertively addressing this matter is in line with the leader I see myself as 

The staff member might take time off work as stress leave

2. Cross out the situations in the table that you have no control over.

Pros

Cons

It will ultimately help our clients

I may get a negative response

The behaviour is a bad example to the rest of the team

Addressing this may hurt our relationship

Promptly and assertively addressing this matter is in line with the leader I see myself as 

The staff member might take time off work as stress leave

3. Observe what you are left with

​It would appear, from what has not been crossed out in the table that this conversation, even if challenging, is worth having.

This simple exercise could help you to identify the concerns or anxieties that are causing you not to communicate the message, project or change that you need to deliver on.

Below are some coaching tips for increasing your ability to communicate in a straightforward manner:

  1. Plan your communication: Know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Write this down.
  2. Practice or seek feedback from a trusted advisor.
  3. Be direct and empathetic. Get to the point, don’t confuse the message and remember to demonstrate empathy towards the other person.
  4. Set a time frame: Give yourself a deadline to hold the conversation and thereby avoid procrastination. eg– “I must have this conversation by the time I go home on Friday”.

Remember, organisation/planning, positive self talk and realistic determination are your allies in assisting you to display straightforwardness. You can do this!

You will be pleasantly surprised that delivering messages in a straightforward manner can actually minimise the occurrence of a negative reaction from the receiver.

By not being straightforward, you risk your communication being misunderstood which can lead to lower levels of trust, increased conflict and a deterioration in your relationships.

In this series we will offer practical strategies for building your EQ in the areas of:

  • Optimism
  • Self-Knowing
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Reliance
  • Self-Actualisation
  • Self-Control
  • Adaptability
  • Empathy
  • Relationship Building
  • Straightforwardness

Look out for the remaining posts in this series.

If you would like some further assistance, training for your team or coaching for developing this (or any of the 10) Emotional Intelligence competencies please contact Workplace Harmony Solutions by calling 1300 141 643 or emailing us at enquiries@workplaceharmonysolutions.com.au

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About the Author

Matt is passionate about developing constructive leadership capabilities in others so they may better empower, engage and enhance performance in their own team members.