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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 4/27/20 - How High is your EQ?

This week’s tip: How High is your EQ?

High emotional intelligence, EQ, is what we all want when working with others because it raises your effectiveness as a school leader. Knowing that your EQ drops when you are stressed just makes you more stressed. What can you do in the new normal to be more effective? Are there things you can do to keep your EQ up?

It may be easier than you think. Marcel Schwantes, Leadership from the Core, posed the questions, in BLUE, in a recent Inc. article. We’ve added SAM team moves after each one.

1. Do you respond to people and situations instead of reacting?

Reacting is involuntary and rarely helpful when working with people. Responding is thoughtful. You can force yourself to be thoughtful by creating space so you don’t just react. Examples: “That’s interesting. I need to think about this.” Or, “Tell me more so I can better understand.”

2. During conflict, are you able to cut through the drama and stick to the facts?

When emotions flare things generally fall apart. If you can convince yourself that the anger is really not about you things can move forward. As a SAM team, focusing on the facts and ignoring the fireworks is hard, but necessary, for a positive result. Example: A teacher says: “You are the worst principal in the district. All the teachers hate you and all you do is sit in the office in meetings.” You know this isn’t true, but do you want to argue or help? You could say: “You are wrong.” Or, you could say: “Tell me how I can help. I want to support you.”

3. Do you take in the whole view of the problem and look at all sides of the issue?

SAM teams make a point to ask questions instead of making statements. The people you lead need to be heard. Ask five questions before making a statement and you will show that you value your staff. This will better equip you to act. For example: “Can you tell me more?” Or, “What would the counter argument be to your idea?

4. Do you manage your emotions better than most people?

Author Daniel Goleman says: “Reasonable people-the ones who maintain control over their emotions-are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high.” The SAM Daily meeting gives you time to think through how to act to increase effectiveness. When a SAM knows an upcoming meeting will be difficult he/she schedules ten minutes of office work/prep time so the leader can be more centered and focused.

5. Are you naturally positive and optimistic?

SAM teams focus on what they can control, not what they can’t. Effective SAM teams avoid the latest gossip or outrage about the pandemic. Instead, time is focused on what positive actions they can take about the things that matter: staff, students and school community. The research is clear: being optimistic and positive not only impacts school culture but makes you healthier and happier. Being positive can be learned. Start by saying something positive at the start of each SAM Daily Meeting. Identify a win at the end of each day and tell your significant other. Find that item you’ve been looking for in the store that has been impossible to find during the pandemic? Say it out loud: “Great! I got it!” What do you care if people look? You are likely wearing a mask. You are definitely improving your EQ.

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