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When I’m consulting with companies to help resolve issues between managers and direct reports, or even between partners, each party usually starts with “the blame game.” As I talk with each individual privately, they find it easy to talk about what other person said or did that made them angry. What gives them pause is answering my question, “What do you think was your role in this?”

Understanding how your behavior, tone or words can influence someone else’s responses is a key component of Emotional Intelligence (EI). We have to learn how to empathize with the other person’s position, and consider how our approach may have triggered what we felt was an “unreasonable” response. That is not easy… but, if both people are willing to do the work, there’s a good chance for a positive resolution.

EI is not just about reading their emotions. The “flip side” of EI is being able to recognize your own feelings. Your awareness of emotional triggers will help you avoid having a nuclear reaction instead of a helpful response when someone pushes your “hot buttons.” Will you share a story where you (or someone you know) showed high EI in handling a situation?