Legal Management Consulting: EQ (Come As You Are, Leave Even Better)

EQ - Come As You Are, Leave Even Better blog series

Not everything goes as we expect it to. People respond negatively to a suggestion you thought was positive. Sometimes the baggage someone’s carrying around from their personal life gets in the way in their professional responsibilities. Everyone’s upbringing influences their relationships with co-workers and family. Occasionally that can make interactions at the firm irritating or uncomfortable. Handling these kinds of situations is a skill known as Emotional Intelligence, or EQ.

Some of us have a higher EQ than others, but the good news is we can all get better! In the final installment of our 3-part blog series, I’ll be sharing one last tool for improving EQ.

As with all skills, EQ only improves with practice. At Affinity, we employ use of insights from DISC Assessments every day. DISC focuses on communication styles, and DISC reports provide understanding into how you communicate as well as how you can communicate with others and how they can communicate with you to get the best results. Learning how to communicate better, and understanding what sets us off when communicating with others who may or may not have the same communication style we do, so that we can anticipate our reactions and change them, is a huge factor in EQ.

One other assessment our team utilizes is the Gallup’s Strengths Finder. The premise behind Strengths Finder is that your talents are those skills that you possess naturally, and that you can grow those talents exponentially compared to those skills that don’t come naturally to you. As many of the strengths of the 34 total Gallup identifies speak directly to communication, ability to influence others, and reaction to a variety of situations, it can really help you build a self-awareness that is a critical part of your EQ. Strengths Finder also helps teams identify what work should be done by each person to achieve maximum results based on talents and helps team members know what skills don’t come as naturally to their peers, which can make it easier for everyone to work together toward a common goal.

Michelle Gilbert, Managing Member of Gilbert Garcia Group, shared some strategies their firm employs to boost EQ. Michelle’s team is focused on communication, and they’ve taken communication assessments to help promote teamwork and EQ. They keep communication preferences at the forefront when approaching others. They also work on team building to improve EQ through outings such as bowling, skating, team retreats, charity/service projects, and fun games to get to know each other better. One activity they did recently was to have everyone write descriptions of themselves and everyone else had to guess who it was. They put on lunch and learn sessions so that everyone can get to know what each team does. And finally, they are committed to team involvement in decision-making and planning in everything from planning the team retreat, to selecting what charities to support, and choosing the firm’s motto each year. They are currently revamping their Mission and Vision Statements, and the team has been tasked with helping with that as well. When asked how these strategies help, Michelle said, “everything we do is centered around improving team diversity and getting to know each other better, which helps ensure we have a happy, healthy team dynamic with a higher EQ.”

Whether your EQ is a strength, or whether it’s something you must work on, one thing is clear. You shouldn’t ignore it, because everyone has the ability to improve their EQ and the improvements you make can only have a positive impact on your interactions with others. Business owners and managers should also take a hard look at your own firms to see if there are things you can do as a company to help your people improve their own EQ, as that can impact your firm exponentially in both results and success overall.

Want to learn more about how to improve EQ or team health in your firm? Request a consultation now. 

[* Published with permission from ALFN. Originally Published in ALFN WILLed April 2019 Vol. 4 Issue 2.*]

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Erica Fujimoto

Written by Erica Fujimoto

Erica heads up Affinity’s default services team. Having worked in the default industry since 1999, Erica supports her team’s projects from a project management perspective. She also works directly with her clients as they implement, customize, maintain and update their default solutions software. Having worked with, and spoken to, default legal professionals across the country, Erica has a strong grasp of the foreclosure/bankruptcy laws in many states and is able to directly impact the efficiency of firms through her law firm consulting work.

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