EI and leadership - Articles

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« 8. Practical EI skills in stakeholder negotiations »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

High emotional intelligence in leaders can be a significant benefit in enhancing stakeholder engagement and management. Do you know where your stakeholders need to get to? Do you know where you need to get them to? Do you know the emotions that will achieve this?

Your own levels of emotional intelligence will influence how well you can answer these questions. Your own levels of emotional intelligence will also influence how well you can apply your knowledge of their emotional needs to achieve a successful outcome.

  1. In the article "Do stakeholders' emotions matter?" we examined why stakeholders' emotions influence your ability to engage with them and win them over.
  2. Then in a second article "Emotional profiling reveals Stakeholder motivations" we considered how to build an emotional profile on stakeholders in advance of meeting with them, so that you could predict how they will respond and be prepared.
  3. In this third article we will look at the practical application of using this emotional profile in a meeting with your stakeholders, so you achieve a better buy-in.

Emotional intelligence: Decisions regarding your stakeholder

Once you have built an emotional profile of your stakeholders you can use this information to help you make a number of important decisions regarding your interactions with them.

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The decisions you need to make will obviously vary with your situation, the profiles you have produced and your history. However, here are some general guidelines to give you a flavour of what questions you may need to ask yourself next:

  1. What obstacles and objections are they likely to come up with at our next meeting?
  2. How can I best communicate the plan so it meets their emotional needs?
  3. How can I best work with them so we both get our underlying and probably unseen emotional needs and motivations met?
  4. What is the best way to explain my information or proposal so that they feel less tense, overwhelmed or vulnerable?
  5. How can I present this in such a way that we can work together for a common cause that we all consider important?
  6. How can I help them feel important? (I haven't previously mentioned this in any of the other emotional intelligence articles, but I have found that leaving people feeling important, valued, or appreciated is a key way to engage them.)
  7. How can I help them meet the demands of their key stakeholders whilst also having them on board with this proposal?

Emotional intelligence helps communication with Stakeholders

Your emotional intelligence directs your communication. How you feel about your stakeholders influences what you say and how you say it. 

However, there is no one way to interact with any stakeholder. One way does not fit all, and 'my way or the highway' doesn't usually bring successful results. They are not emotionally intelligent.

  • Instead, consider "If I say this ___ what is their response likely to be?". How will it make them feel?
  • Then consider, "If I say it in a different way ___ how will their responses differ and how will it make them feel?".
  • Then decide, "Given these two (or more) options, which one will give me the best short term and long term outcomes?".

Emotional profiling can help you enhance stakeholder engagement when used with high emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence and emotional profiling are not the only aspects to be considered when developing stakeholder relationships. They do not replace all the rational logic, facts and figures that you will also need. They are additional skills to add into your existing repertoire. It can be particularly important to use them with those stakeholders with whom you've experienced difficulties.

Be a high EI leader and develop your emotional intelligence now.

Want to improve your skills as an emotionally intelligent leader? Then book into our smart leadership coaching package.

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