Episode 48-Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Keep Your Project Running Smoothly

Episode #48
Original Air Date: 12.19.2017

30 Minutes

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Our Guest This Episode: Monique Russell

Want to learn how to manage your emotions and the emotions of others? Grow your Emotional Intelligence! Monique Russell – executive coach, leadership guru, and communication expert—joins the Manage This crew to discuss how Emotional Intelligence impacts the role of the project manager, and what you can do to improve. In this podcast, Monique touches on the four key components of Emotional Intelligence, as well how to respond to ever-changing situations. Monique delves into the issues of self-awareness, self-management, and the healthy (and unhealthy) practices of leading a team.

Hailing from the beautiful islands of The Bahamas, Monique Russell believes leadership is a lifestyle and she proves it in everything she does. Monique is the founder and managing partner of Clear Communications Solutions, LLC, where she teaches effective communication strategies to leaders in a variety of business sectors.

As a communications expert, she has taught thousands of leaders globally and has consulted for government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and for fortune 100 companies such as Verizon, Intel, and Equifax. She has worked with institutions of higher education in the areas of diversity, cultural sensitivity, public speaking, and communications. It is because of her multi-dimensional experiences that her teachings on how to communicate confidently from the inside out are very effective. Monique is married with two boys and loves to read.

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

"I liken EI to the whole adult learning style, the whole multiple theory intelligence.  Later on they added more styles, you know, musical.  EI is still evolving; right?  It’s still evolving.  And now that we have the tools, we can think about, well, how do we integrate this at the project management level so that we can get more mileage out of our conversations or out of our relationships."

- Monique Russell

"Every day you have an opportunity to increase your emotional intelligence and take your conversations and your relationships to another level.  Because it’s definitely not just all about that IQ; right?  It’s the EQ that allows us to connect with others, improve our productivity, improve our morale, make our places great to work."

- Monique Russell

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NICK WALKER:  Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  Every two weeks we like to come together and talk about what matters to you, whether you’re an experienced expert in the field or a newcomer to project management.  This is our opportunity to take a bold and objective look at where we are in this industry and the role we play in it.

I’m your host, Nick Walker, and with me are the guys who have the experience.  They are the in-house experts, Andy Crowe and Bill Yates.  Andy, it is always a treat to have someone in the studio who’s a coach, a motivator, a mentor, someone who’s out there calling on us to be our best.

ANDY CROWE:  It is, Nick.  And this topic is overdue for us.  We’ve needed to address this for a good while, and I think it’s very timely.

NICK WALKER:  Well, let’s meet our guest.  Monique Russell is an executive consultant helping leaders and teams communicate effectively at work.  As a part of Clear Communication Solutions LLC, she’s consulted on marketing and communication strategies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other national associations, as well as corporate organizations.  She is a teacher, having taught communications and public speaking at the university level.  A proponent of lifestyle leadership, she hosts an annual Forbes recommended leadership conference, Leadership Alpharetta.  Originally from the beautiful islands of the Bahamas, she loves the ocean, and we’re told she’s quite fond of sushi.  Monique, thank you so much for being with us here on Manage This.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  It is a pleasure, an honor to be here with you today.  Thank you for having me.

NICK WALKER:  Well, first off, we’d like to get to know you a little bit better.  Can you tell us about your experience as an executive coach?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Well, I will say let’s go all the way back to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas.

NICK WALKER:  Okay, that sounds good to me.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  I always knew that I was interested in public speaking, and I started early in performing arts, started acting, and moved through high school debating.  And I just loved it so much that I knew I wanted to get on TV.  That was my number one goal.  So I ended up leaving the warm, sunny island and going all the way to St. Cloud, Minnesota.

NICK WALKER:  Oh, what a contrast.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  You know about St. Cloud, Minnesota weather; right?

NICK WALKER:  It’s cold.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Yes.  So anyway, I studied journalism, and I continued on to marketing and advertising; and I got out, and I hustled, hustled, hustled, trying to get my way in the door, and I couldn’t get my way in the door.  So I started off in executive support.  And I didn’t know it then, but that was my training ground for what I’m doing today.  I had no idea that what I did then was what I would be doing or connected to what I’m doing today.

NICK WALKER:  Well, we are so glad you’re with us because I know a lot of people in project management positions tend to be very logical and analytical.  They have a tendency to not get caught up in feelings and emotions on the job.  But you are an expert in the field of emotional intelligence, or EI, where feelings do matter.  And I’m sure there’s a lot of project managers listening to this going, “Yes, I need that.”  So how does EI impact the role of the project manager?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Wow.  You know, EI is like – it’s like your warning sign, if you will.  So I want you to think about your gas light in your car.  And when that gas light comes on, and that check engine light comes on, it’s like that warning sign that says, hey, something’s coming down the pipe.  You need to take action.  So you can ignore it, but sooner or later you’re going to end up on the side of the road.  Right?

BILL YATES:  Right.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  So EI is like our warning sign.  It’s our indication that, okay, something’s happening.  My body is going through some stress levels.  I need to either pause, remove myself from the environment, really think about how I want to handle a certain situation.  And I think that, you know, with EI, it hasn’t always received the attention that it needs; right?  I learned about it first when I was, in 2012, we were putting together some resources for interpersonal and intrapersonal communications at the university.  And so I went through the resources, and I came across emotional intelligence, and I was like, what is this?  You know, this squishy stuff that, you know…

BILL YATES:  Right.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  We were thinking it’s the soft stuff, and nobody’s going to really pay attention to it.  But it’s like the concepts, they’ve been around.  But EI gave us a framework, or a methodology, I guess, if you will, to put two different industries and how we could find ways to integrate the EI system into different industries like project management.  And I thought of this when I was thinking about emotional intelligence, like what would it be similar to?

So you know the way we learn.  I have two boys.  My eldest one, if you give him a task list, he will follow the instructions to the T.  But my youngest one, he needs to hear it, or he needs to be able to do something in order to learn.  And we knew that people learn differently, but we didn’t really pay attention to it until we had the multiple intelligence theory or the framework, and we could say, oh, okay.  So if I want to get you to fix my TV, I need you to have a step checklist.  Or if I need you to fix my TV, I need to give it to you or read out the steps to you in an auditory form.

So I liken EI to the whole adult learning style, the whole multiple theory intelligence.  Later on they added more styles, you know, musical.  EI is still evolving; right?  It’s still evolving.  And now that we have the tools, we can think about, well, how do we integrate this at the project management level so that we can get more mileage out of our conversations or out of our relationships.

BILL YATES:  I love the way you set this up, Monique.  This is great.  I think back to the original, the book that really paved the way for this with Daniel Goleman and “Emotional Intelligence.”  And I look at the framework, and let’s unpack that framework a little bit because it really starts with self, and then it goes into team.  And I think for many project managers that we encounter, I think that’s a natural progression.  They have to have that self-awareness and that self-management and then move into team awareness and team management.  How do you see that framework kind of rolling out for project managers?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  You hit it right on the head, Bill, because you have to start off knowing yourself.  You have to know what your body’s doing at the first signs of stress, if you’re super, super excited about something.  We are now accepting that our emotions can cause us to make decisions that we might later regret.

BILL YATES:  Okay.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Right?  And that goes for your personal and your professional relationships.  You start off knowing about yourself so that you can self-manage or auto-correct.  Just like riding a bike, you start off building that muscle.  And then sooner or later it just becomes natural to you.  When you have your aspects down, then you will be more aware to others’ emotions.  And then when you have that tool or you have that knowledge, you just take the conversation or take the relationship to another level, integrating it into your team, boosting your team morale.  You’ll be able to recognize if there’s someone who’s just unmotivated, just showing up.

I’ll tell you, there was a project manager that I coached, and he was just very, very disappointed with his work situation.  He had no interest.  He was just completely despondent, didn’t know what his next step was going to be.  And it was a very sad conversation from my end.  And I tried different lines of questioning, and I said, “Okay, well, what do you think you would want to do next?”  It didn’t work.  But when I framed the situation, and I said, “Okay, tell me about your favorite job.  If you could think about the last job or the job that you had that was the most exciting, where was it?”  And within two seconds he told me.  Within two seconds he knew.

So I was like, “Oh, great.  Okay.  So tell me more about that job.  Why was it so good for you?  Maybe you need to go back.”  No, no, no, I didn’t say that.  But I said, “Well, why was it so good for you?”  And he talked about his relationship with his manager, number one.  Right?  The power of one on one.

ANDY CROWE:  You know, you raised something interesting a few minutes ago when you were talking about stress.  And I’m curious.  I want to – Nick, I’m going to put you on the spot here.

NICK WALKER:  Uh-oh.  Okay.

ANDY CROWE:  But when you start getting stressed, where do you feel it physically?  Where does it show up first with you?

NICK WALKER:  Probably in my speech.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay.  Interesting.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah, I start going faster or more broken.  William.  Shatner.

ANDY CROWE: “Spock.”

ANDY CROWE:  How about you, Bill?

BILL YATES:  Mine is more basic than that.  Caveman stuff, I guess.  I’ll feel it in – I’ll have a stress headache.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay.

BILL YATES:  My stomach doesn’t feel quite right.  Not like I’m going to be ill, but I just don’t feel 100 percent.

ANDY CROWE:  Interesting.  I feel it in the center – now, this is generally probably not the very first signs, but it’s the first ones I’ll notice.  And I feel it right in the center of my chest.  And my chest gets tight, not like a heart attack, but it feels like there’s pressure, like there’s somebody sitting on my chest.

NICK WALKER:  Wow.

ANDY CROWE:  And my doctor told me one time, years and years ago, he said, “Andy, consider that your idiot buzzer on the dashboard of your soul.  Stop and listen when that happens.”

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Yes.

ANDY CROWE:  Do you care to weigh in, Monique?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Oh, yeah, I could tell you right off the top,  I get knots in my stomach.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  And just like you, I experience some of those emotions in my chest, too.

ANDY CROWE:  See, a lot of people feel it in their neck or their back when they get stressed.  So it’s just interesting.  It’s an interesting question because we’re all different.  Each of us manifested that differently.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  And the key is knowing, you know, the first key is knowing what’s happening when you are getting under stress so that you can – well, let me ask you.  What do you do when you feel those feelings in your chest?  What have you done?

ANDY CROWE:  All right.  So I’m going to tell you that I’m under a huge writing deadline.  And so I had this yesterday.  And I had not taken a day off other than Thanksgiving, which was very stressful, in weeks.  And so been working Saturdays, Sundays, et cetera.  So yesterday I said, you know what, I’m going to take the whole afternoon.  I’m going to try and take time off.  I’m going to go walk.  I’m going to go focus on my breathing.  I’m going to – you know, I heard a quote.  And this is getting really touchy-feely, and I apologize to our audience members because I’m not generally that guy.

But somebody said one time that you should practice looking at things as if you’re seeing them for the first time or the last time.  And I thought, okay.  I’m going to walk around my hometown, and I’m just going to try and look at things a little differently today, and I’m going to try and keep things in perspective and relaxed.  And that was very successful for me in terms of just getting myself to relax, my body to relax a little more.  And really it all starts with perspective.  That’s what it’s really – that’s what’s driving it is me allowing other people to set priorities, and me allowing the unimportant urgent things to take over.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Wow, that’s powerful.

BILL YATES:  Let me weigh in on this one, too.  Mine’s a little bit different.  Mine, again, I’m kind of caveman on this, Nick.  I’ve got to be honest.  If my brain is just muddled with stressors, if I can engage my body to the point where my brain no longer is able to think, so I go work out.  I love to exercise.  And if I can get my heart rate up to 80 percent or so and maintain it there for a while, it hits the reset button on me.  So that’s one key for my success in managing stress.

ANDY CROWE:  This is key here because project management, we say it all the time, but it is a stressful profession.

BILL YATES:  Yes, it is.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  It is.

ANDY CROWE:  This is not for lightweights.  People are doing things that have not been done.  They’re creating things that have not been created.  And they’re implementing things that nobody’s done before.  So there’s naturally stress there.  It’s not a stress-free cushy job.  If you’re looking for an easy cushy job, don’t go into project management.  You want to make a difference, project management’s great.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  Monique, you shared with me some tips for this, this self-awareness and how to recognize the stress that comes with every project that we manage.  Just walk us through that.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  So one of the tools that I would suggest is called a “HALT.”  And it’s just what the acronym says, you know, screech, stop, halt.  And that is Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  So did you know that being hungry can stifle your productivity, and being angry is a threat to your success?

ANDY CROWE:  And in my house we call that “hangry.”

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Hangry.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah.

BILL YATES: That’s a real thing.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  You don’t want the hangry face.  No way.

BILL YATES:  Snickers has some good commercials on that; right?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Oh, Snickers, that’s my weakness; okay?  I just refuel with my Snicker bar.  But really and truthfully, these are just basic tools that you can implement immediately, especially if you have high-stakes meetings, which the majority of time project managers do.  We’re using up a lot of calories when we have meetings, and we have to be conduits to many different people communicating throughout the day.  So it’s important to make sure that you have fuel in your tank so that you can continue to get mileage out of your meetings, out of your relationships and communications with your stakeholders.

BILL YATES:  So those last two, lonely and tired.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Yes.

BILL YATES:  Talk a little bit about those.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Yeah.  So we are in a time where connection is more important than ever.  We want to be connected.  Every human being wants to be connected.  Introverts, extroverts, we want to have a connection.  And it’s not just being in the same room with people – you can be in the same room with someone and be very lonely – but having that genuine connection.  If you are feeling lonely, connect with someone.  Call up a friend on the phone and share a story or share something that’s troubling you.  I think everybody has a friend outside of work that knows what’s going on inside of their space.

ANDY CROWE:  And if you don’t, it’d be a worthwhile thing to pursue.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  It sure would.  It sure would.  So you want to seek out those relationships.  Even if you have someone you can bounce ideas off of at work, you want to go ahead and foster that connection.  If you’re tired, I mean, take a nap.  The power of 15 minutes during the day, it is a recharge booster.  So for project managers I would definitely suggest scheduling time in your day where you have an opportunity to recharge.

NICK WALKER:  You know, we are not lone wolves in this world, and especially as project managers.  We can’t be.  So what about team building, team morale?  Hopefully we’re getting along with people at work and on our team.  What would a healthy team look like?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  So I want to ask you to think back to a time where you felt really connected to your team.  What were some of the things that stood out to you?

NICK WALKER:  We joked a lot.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Okay, humor.  What else?

NICK WALKER:  We seemed to be on the same page as to our purpose, where we were going.  We sort of had a vision together of what the end was going to look like.  We may have not really been totally connected on how we’re going to get there, but at least we had that vision of goal.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  An idea, okay, okay.

BILL YATES:  To add on to that, the really healthy teams that I’ve been a part of, there’s not one person or one subgroup that are carrying all the weight.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah, good.

BILL YATES:  So everyone’s really rolling their sleeves up and in there doing, you know, committing to this cause and putting in the hours, putting in the effort, contributing.  So it’s not one of those 20 percent of the team is doing 80 percent of the work.  Every situation I’ve been in like that, there’s some kind of resentment.  That breaks down at some point.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah.  You don’t feel like, boy, I’m the only one who’s pulling the weight here.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Doing everything.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah.  And you also have a feeling like I need that person.  I need that other person.  I need all these people.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Mm-hmm.  And in those groups, that’s where you have a healthy respect for the strengths of everyone in the team; right?  So I remember working on a project.  And I think I shared with you earlier, I am not the development type person.  I am the big picture person, and I love and I thrive in those environments.  But I respect and admire the strengths of someone who is that development person.  So when we are on a team together, we complement each other; right?  It’s about playing to your strengths.  And in the teams where everyone can shine in their strengths, you will find a lot of productivity and morale boosting.

So anytime you see there’s a hole in the team, and there’s only a few people that are carrying it, it could be a number of things, as I’m sure we’re all aware.  But you want to have the one-on-one conversations with the individuals who are not pulling their weight and find out what’s driving that behavior.  Is it because they haven’t been recognized?  Recognition is something that goes a long way.  And in projects, sometimes you’re closing one project, and the next one happens, and you don’t even have time to celebrate it.

Just imagine if you were getting married, or you were celebrating your child’s graduation, and it came, and you’re like, okay, we’re going to celebrate that next year.  Right?  I mean, you’ve finished the work, you’ve graduated from university, but we’re going to put the celebration off for another year.  Actually, that happened on a project I worked on, but it wasn’t another year.  Things were so busy that we put the celebration off for a couple months.  And then when the celebration date came around, well, everybody was busy, so it got canceled.

So never underestimate the importance of recognition and giving praises for people on the team.  It’s going to go a long way.  I’ve never heard anybody say “Stop praising me for my work.”  Right?

BILL YATES:  That’s true.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  So that’s one thing.

BILL YATES:  Monique, one of the things that I – so we started out talking about self-awareness and using this HALT method to know when we’re reaching that critical point with stress where we’re going to lock down or not become effective or implode or whatever.  And then we step into this, okay, now let’s move beyond self-awareness to team awareness because as a project manager I’m working with other people.  They’ve got things they’ve got to get done.

A lot of this advice sounds like parenting.  It’s like, I’ve got to know my team like a parent or something.  So how do you – what’s some advice that you give to PMs who are having to step into this, what for them is an awkward role of now I need to get to know my team members and know what motivates them and be able to tell when they’re having a bad day.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Oh, yes.  You are the PM.  You are the leader.  Everyone is looking to you.  They’re taking cues from you.  They want to know am I doing a good job.  What do you think about this project?  Am I approaching it correctly?  And sometimes people are afraid to ask for help.

BILL YATES:  Right.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Your kids might be afraid to ask for help, but it’s going to be you as a parent to approach them and say, okay, “Hey, you know, Daniel, I see you’re struggling with this.”  Or “Can I give you some advice?”  Or “Here’s how I approached this situation before.”  Or, you know, “One time I had the same scenario, and I did this, and it was a total disaster.”  So when you’re stepping into that perspective of it’s like parenting, the project manager has such a heavy responsibility, and you have such an enormous authoritative role.  You have to own it with the power that comes with it.

You might feel like, oh, I shouldn’t have to behave like a parent.  I shouldn’t have to.  But by the very nature of your role, you are in an authoritative position, and everyone’s counting on you.  And that’s why it’s so important you want to make sure that you have your HALT taken care of.  Because when you are at your best, when that gas is full, when the oil is checked and the check engine light is off, you’re going to go further with your communications with the team.

ANDY CROWE:  Monique, I have a question for you.  One of the things, I think it’s interesting because we started off this podcast saying a lot of people know they need help in this area.  But, see, even that statement implies that they would be self‑aware.

BILL YATES:  True.

ANDY CROWE:  And there are plenty of people who aren’t really that self-aware.  So what role do you think that sort of these 360 feedbacks and assessments and things like that can play?  Are you a believer in those?  Do you prefer other ways in increasing self-awareness?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  So, great question.  I am a believer of frameworks.  I think they are starting points; right?  They’re not the end-all solution, but they’re good baseline.  For people who are not aware or who just don’t have that tune to being self-aware, there’s a couple of things that’s going to cause them to get interested.  One, the World Economic Forum has emotional intelligence as one of the top 10 critical skills that are needed in 2020.

BILL YATES:  Wow.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  They didn’t have it on the list a few years ago.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  So here’s the thing.  If you want to be relevant, if you want to stay in the times, you’re going to want to pay attention.  Sometimes we’re driven to change by vision, pain, or gain; right?  We see something that’s possible.  I’m self-aware.  I want to go ahead and be the best I can.  One, oh, I’m tired of having conflict in my team.  What can I do?  I am seeking out a solution.  Or, ooh, if I become self-aware, I can gain this.

So we’re going to move to that self-awareness from – everyone’s going to come to it from a different angle or a different perspective.  The self-awareness training or self-awareness conversation, now that we have the science backing it and we have authoritative bodies like the World Economic Forum putting these skills on the list, I think we’re going to get more attention.  And if you just don’t get on the bandwagon, you’re going to get left.

ANDY CROWE:  You know, it’s interesting, as I hear you talk this through.  Bill and I have noticed before that we sort of have different approaches.  I’m more task-oriented as a person.  I’m very list-driven and task-driven.  And I’m really good at managing those tasks.  If you have a disorganized mess that you need somebody to come in, I’d be a good fit for that.  Bill’s probably more – and we overlap, definitely.  But he’s probably more relationship-oriented.  Would you agree, Bill?

BILL YATES:  Yeah, I agree.

ANDY CROWE:  And so now he’s more attuned to relationships, and that becomes more of a managerial default for him.  And so I think it’s funny when you look at this, when you look at this whole idea of becoming self-aware and team awareness, I’m thinking of it in terms of tasks.  I’m like your child who wants the flow chart.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Checklist.

ANDY CROWE:  Who wants the checklist; right?  But I can see how it’s really not necessarily that way at the same time.

BILL YATES:  And I really empathize with what he’s saying.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Hey, you know what, that’s why you guys make a great team.  And I’ll say this.  Your skill is necessary and needed.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Bill’s skill is necessary and needed.  And so if you need a checklist, I’m going to say, “Okay.  Are you hungry?  Are you angry?  Are you lonely?  Are you tired?”  You’re going to go down that list.  When we move into the relationship management, and you say, “Monique, how can I improve my awareness?  What are some things that I can do?”  When you get to having conversations with your team, you know, start by listening, asking questions.  Go people-watching.  People-watching, if you want to learn how to increase your awareness of body language, go to the Atlanta Airport.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Okay?  And sit down and watch.

ANDY CROWE:  Melting pot of the world.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Yes.  I’ve actually done this before with a lady that I coach.  We met for lunch, and we went to a busy place, and we just sat down, and we observed, and we tried to think about what was being communicated with the body language that was happening.  So you’re going to have steps in your checklist that can allow you to increase your awareness.

BILL YATES:  Right.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  When you are requesting feedback, for example, I’m giving you a step or a checklist or an item.  When you’re requesting feedback, your job is just to say thank you.

BILL YATES:  Right.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Just listen because that’s going to create an open environment for people to give you a feedback.  And I’ll just tell you, like the other day I had to do the same thing.  I put it off because I didn’t want to hear.  I wasn’t ready for it.  You know, if you’re not ready for feedback, you shouldn’t ask for it.

BILL YATES:  Right.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Get ready.  Be ready emotionally.  And then I asked, you know, how do you see me limiting myself?  And I got the feedback, and I said thank you.

BILL YATES:  Good for you.

ANDY CROWE:  You know, project managers use this tool called a “prompt list” or a “prompt sheet.”  And what that does is it gives you things just to review periodically.  And so a lot of times they’ll use them for risks and say have there been any economic changes that we need to stop and factor in risk?  So any environmental changes, et cetera?  And I think there’s some usefulness here, too, that when I’m feeling stressed, you know, I can use the HALT framework as sort of a prompt list and say, okay.

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  Am I hungry?

BILL YATES:  Yeah, what’s going on here.

ANDY CROWE:  Am I angry?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Or hangry.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, it’s so true that, you know, I think of a manager that I worked with early in my career.  And I wish everybody was wired the same way she was.  She would, when stress started to appear in her, it would actually manifest.  Her skin would turn red in her neck.  And it was great.  I mean, we could all see, oh, okay, she’s stressed.  Let’s back off.  Let’s give some space here.  But everybody’s wired differently.  We talked about ourselves and just becoming – getting some coaching as an individual because I can’t assume everybody responds to or even manifests stress the same way that I do.

So having someone else sit in on a meeting that I’m running.  Or maybe we have a daily standup meeting, and I’m so into my notes, I don’t have the awareness of what’s going on in the team.  But maybe another team member really does.  They’re wired well at that.  So I have to get them to come alongside of me and, “Hey, can you keep an eye?  I’m thinking I’m gauging the morale of the team okay, but I need some help here.  I need another set of eyes.”  Or if I have a difficult meeting I’m having with someone, to your point, Monique, to be able to go back later and say, “Can you give me some feedback?  We met on Tuesday.  How could that meeting have gone a little better?”  And then be able to receive that.  So, good, a lot of food for thought here.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Oh, definitely.

NICK WALKER:  I’m trying to get in the mind of maybe a project manager listening to this and going, “Yeah, okay, I’m self-aware enough to know I need help.”  What kind of resources are available?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  There is an Emotional Intelligence Assessment that you can take.  And it’s a self-assessment; and, again, you know, if you’re not – if you’re completely clueless, it’ll give you something to start with, something to start with.  But if you’re up for it, there’s another thing that you can do right away, just to get the data you need to determine if I’m on or off the right track.  And that’s just creating your own feedback questions, taking that energy and that time to go around and say, okay, how am I communicating in this environment?  When we had this meeting, what did you think?  What could I do to make it better; right?

So once you have that data about how you are being perceived outside of yourself, and take that self-assessment and see where there are similarities that you can work on and improve, that would primarily be the first step.  And then it’s an ongoing process, ongoing retooling, just like every day you get on that bike, and you’re riding or you’re exercising.  Every day you have an opportunity to increase your emotional intelligence and take your conversations and your relationships to another level.  Because it’s definitely not just all about that IQ; right?  It’s the EQ that allows us to connect with others, improve our productivity, improve our morale, make our places great to work.

BILL YATES:  That’s so true.  And it can be, back to Andy’s point, this can be another item on my list that I have, that I’ve got eyes on, when I’m leading a meeting.  It can be “Remember to ask the team this question,” or “Remember to engage this one particular team member who’s been quiet the last few meetings.”  There’s some great practical steps.  I think of some of the things that I actually put on my calendar, my Outlook calendar, to remind me to do things that would fall into this category.  So they’re good, practical steps that we can take.  And I love it that you pointed out the Emotional Intelligence Assessment.  Is that something that we can just search for online to find?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Yeah, you could definitely get it online.  You can definitely get it online and go ahead and take that.  And that might even be an activity or an exercise that your entire team can take.

BILL YATES:  I like it.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  And say, okay, let’s talk about this.  How can we, as a group or a team, improve our emotional intelligence?  Because it’s not just at work.  It’s going to carry over in every aspect of your life.

NICK WALKER:  Monique, this is probably a good time to ask you.  How can we get in touch with you to draw more on your expertise?  How can we draw on your expertise?

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  You can get in touch with me by calling 706‑963-0322.  You can reach me at my website at ClearCommunicationSolutions.com.  You can find me on LinkedIn.  Connect with me:  ClearCommunicationCoach.  You can find me on Facebook:  ClearCommunicationCoach.  I am ready, willing, and able to take you to your next level.

NICK WALKER:  Well, Monique, thank you so much.  Monique Russell, just wonderful insights.  And I’ve learned something just sitting here listening to you, so thank you so much.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  It’s been a pleasure.  Thank you for having me today.

NICK WALKER:  One of your points on your emotional intelligence component list is relationship management.  And we like to promote relationship management.  And so we have a gift for you to help with that.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Thank you.

NICK WALKER:  The Manage This coffee mug.  Use it with pride.

MONIQUE RUSSELL:  Thank you.  I will drink my coffee tomorrow out of this.

NICK WALKER:  Excellent, excellent.  Well, thanks again, Monique.  Andy and Bill, thanks, as always, for your insight and your perspective, as well.

ANDY CROWE:  Thank you.

NICK WALKER:  That’s it for us here on Manage This.  We hope you’ll tune back in on January 2nd for our next podcast.  In the meantime, you can visit us at Velociteach.com/managethis to subscribe to this podcast, to see a transcript of the show, or to contact us.  And tweet us at @manage_this if you have any questions about our podcasts or about project management certifications.  We want to make sure you have everything you need to be your best.

That’s all for this episode.  Thanks for joining us.  Until next time, keep calm and Manage This.

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