Don’t force it!

Last time we talked about why the smartest kids in the class aren’t always the most successful. (Not surprisingly, it’s because they have EQ skill deficits!) Then we discussed the first of seven secrets to bringing a winning EQ program to your client company, as it appeared in an article I wrote for Chief Learning Officer Magazine. Did you miss that blog post? Here’s the link. It’s short. Take a look. Now let’s talk about the second secret.

  1. Make it voluntary/Win Their Hearts.

People, particularly those drawn to be leaders, value autonomy. As a result, getting forced into some company sponsored development program can be an instant turnoff. So it’s up to learning and development professionals, and coaches like you, to make the idea of developing EQ so exciting and compelling that people will be eager to engage in it.

Does that sound like a tall order? It isn’t, really. One approach is to start with a workshop. Enumerate the real benefits; create opportunities to let executives try out EQ tools on some of the real-life leadership problems they face; link increased EQ skills to goals they already have; make sure they know the training is geared toward the company’s most valuable players – them; and, not surprisingly, make it voluntary — that almost always does the trick.

Oh, one more thing. Show your own EQ. Be someone they want to spend time with, someone who is genuinely interested in their success; someone who can be vulnerable themselves, someone who is knowledgeable; and someone who has a sense of humor.

If managers worry that a voluntary program lets some people off the hook, make sure everyone knows that while EQ training is voluntary, performance is not. What I encourage managers to do is to ask people to attend the workshop, simply to learn what is on offer, and discover what’s in it for them. After that, people can opt out at any step along the way, as long as they deliver the new higher standard through means of their own.

That was short and sweet! Next time, we’ll talk about the third secret to bringing a great EQ program to your client company.

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