As we explore the different aspects of Emotional Intelligence (‘EQ’) in a leader’s life, we cannot overlook something I call “Timing and Optics”. As you will learn, this concept is a key part of any leader’s EQ training.
In the day-to-day life of a leader, we are faced with many different scenarios, challenges, and sticky people problems. As a leader, a big part of what we do is facilitate or direct solutions, changes, and transitions. It can be mentally exhausting! Thankfully there is a glass of red wine, or maybe some chocolate, waiting for us at the end of the day.
There is a model that I learned a number of years ago to help me and my team understand the different scenarios that we must lead our teams through. It is a measuring stick for the effectiveness of solutions for the customers, the business, and the team members: Timing and Optics of Decisions. Be it a decision I have developed or one that I facilitate, understanding and working the timing and optics helps me see the problem better, understand how valuable the solution will be, and decide how best to communicate it.
The timing of what has happened and the timing of how the leader responds is of utmost importance. Problems often have a way of popping up when you least expect them. Their timing is the worst! However, in terms of timing, your solution can be controlled. Sometimes you need to respond quickly and decisively (eg. safety issues or critical customer delivery problems). On the other hand, sometimes you need to take your time: gather data, weigh your options. The key is to be in control of your emotions and appear that you have a plan and direction, even if you are making it up on the fly!
Optics are a little more complicated: this is how things appear. Even if your intentions are good, people’s perception is their reality. Optics, when not considered fully in your EQ training and leadership, can spin out of control at the speed of light. The stakeholders in a business are many: superiors, peers, customers, shareholders… the list goes on and on. All these stakeholders need to be considered in the solution. How will they receive and perceive your solution?
Next time you need to find or facilitate a solution for a sticky challenge, ask yourself and your team to layout the timing and optics of what you are about to do. You will be amazed at how it leads to rational, high-EQ discussions and decision making.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.Tags: Communication, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, EQ, EQ Training, Leader, Leadership, Management, Robert Murray, Robert S. Murray, Success, Team, Team Work, Vancouver BC