Legal Management Consulting: EQ (Methods, Meetings and Ground Rules)

EQ - Methods, Meetings and Ground Rules

We’ve all experienced moments in our professional – and personal – lives when something didn’t go as we expected or wanted. How you handle uncomfortable and unexpected situations, as well as your ability to see them coming and avoid them, is the very definition of your Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and some of us are better at it than others. In fact, EQ might be the single most defining factor in success.

If you’re not great at reading other people’s emotions and/or your own, or if you aren’t great at anticipating/managing your own emotions or avoiding confrontation/managing relationships with others, the best news is that you can actually improve your EQ. You read that right… EQ is a skill, and you can get better at it!  In the second part of this 3-part blog series, we’re exploring another method to improve EQ.

While Affinity focuses on improving communication and fostering better leaders - both internally and in our clients’ offices, we’re also improving our EQ. One way we do that is our deliberate approach to meetings and teams.

The entire company is run loosely following the Traction®/Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®) as presented by Gino Wickman in his real-world look at common problems and frustrations in businesses. We follow the premise that everyone should have similar experiences from a leadership perspective. Every team has a traction meeting and every team member has a 1-1 with their team leads. This allows everyone to be heard individually but also act as a member of a team. Team meetings follow a Traction format with strict ground rules that even help each one of us improve our EQ by forcing us to communicate a certain way.

EOS Ground Rules

The rules help those who struggle with EQ to get stronger by requiring that they communicate differently than they may be used to.  Adding the 10 Commandments of Issue Solving (also found in Wickman’s Traction) to the meeting method helps ensure that we can actually solve problems without letting drama or competitiveness get in the way.

10 Commandments of Issue Solving

We ask people to get outside of their comfort zones and identify how they are feeling or how someone’s behavior/actions impact them. We also expect team members to think before they speak. We don’t want people to become passive or aggressive when something doesn’t go their way, but we do want them to share constructive feedback. People with a high EQ are generally naturally assertive, however, the ability to assert yourself while steering clear of emotional reactions isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone.

One of the most difficult rules for people whose EQ is not as strong is to receive feedback without debate. They are only allowed to ask clarifying questions because we are focused on the solution, not on placing blame. It’s important to remember that everyone’s perception is their reality, and the goal is to learn not to take offense when criticized. We encourage proactivity not reactivity, so taking a beat before responding negatively can help improve EQ.

We start off every meeting sharing personal and professional “good news.” This takes each team member about 20-30 seconds, but we’ve found it is a great tool to “break the ice” before meetings (especially since many of our teams are remote). There’s a saying “it is hard to hate people up close.” Sharing our good news helps us get to know each other better on a personal level and helps us to all see each other in a different light.

Changing how you run meetings and management of your people is a big adjustment, but it is one that can make a huge impact to your team’s overall EQ while improving employee satisfaction and team health. 

Need help improving 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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