Do You Have Humble Intelligence?

Humble Intelligence is cool if you understand it. I was recently asked to step into a meeting with a group of very smart people. The meeting had some conflicting points which turned into a heated discussion. I like it best when issues are resolved amongst my direct reports, but in this case I needed to assist. We got through the meeting, came up with some action items, a follow up plan, and moved on.

The meeting bothered me and was on my mind. I learned a long time ago in an assertiveness training class where I learned a huge lesson on REACTIVING vs. RESPONDING. A big take away from the class was if something is going to bug you in the morning or the next day, you need to do something about it. If not, let it go as you will just be reacting.

The meeting was going to bother me in the morning and more so, if I didn’t address the root cause, it could be destructive to the team and culture we are building. So I did a retrospective – which simply means to review the situation and determine what could be improved. After you determine what can be improved, you incorporate that into the next situation. It is continuous improvement at the simplest form which I really like, because it stops us from making the same mistakes – that is insanity.

Anyway, the big find was one of the team members was certainly smart enough, but simply didn’t have strong interpersonal skills. So most of the statements from this individual put others on the defense vs. being a team. I had a few discussions with the individual and created a list of what can change to help. I prioritized them and discussed a few and will continue to review so we are in a continuous improvement mode. Here are a few that you may be able to use if you are in a similar situation.

Better Communications List

  1. Watch when you begin statements with “I”.
    1. Begin with “We” when possible.
  2. Use the form of questions when you need something.
    1. “Can we have a forecast by end of month” vs. “I need a forecast by the end of month”.
      1. Changes the tone totally – use this as much as you can.
  3. Listen – become a better listener – God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason, use in proportion.
    1. Let people finish there sentence.
    2. If you are thinking about what you are going to say when someone is talking, you are not really listening.
  4. Jumping in when someone else is asked a question.
    1. When a question is asked to a specific person, especially by name, Don’t jump in even if you know the answer.
  5. When you agree with an answer, Don’t feel you have to contribute more (even though there can be more).
    1. Simply say nothing, nod your head in agreement, or give them a compliment.
    2. If there is more, follow up with the individual offline (this is an ego thing so beware)
  6. Ask clarifying questions.
    1. If you started to get heated over a statement or situation, ask a clarifying question to make sure you understand. You can lose a lot of energy here.
      1. Example – “So what I hear you saying is…”
  7. Use eye contact when in meetings as much as possible.
    1. With computers, iPads, and other devices, it can seem you are not engaged so beware and look up a lot more. The ability to express and control our emotions is important. The ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others is equally important. It starts with being self-aware which is why I am an avid believer of knowing our individual strengths. My belief if we operate in our strengths area, we are happier, our co-workers are happier, our families and friends are happier, and the community is happier place to be. Work is people, process, and systems. Family is people, communications, and understanding our differences to balance each other out. Know your strengths, know your Emotional Intelligence (EI) score, and be hyper aware of YOU so you can self-regulate yourself in situations.


Action Items

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