• Edwin Land, was quoted as saying, “Politeness is the poison of collaboration.” I would like to add to that…Politeness and stress are the poison of collaboration.

    Collaboration Takes Time

    I recently conducted a workshop for business leaders focused on stress and the impact it has on collaboration. As part of the workshop, everyone participated in a short simulation. It involved 15 people working together under extremely tight time constraints. When the mission was completed, and the team fell short of achieving their goal, the first, second, and third explanation was “we didn’t have enough time.”

    Interestingly, a day doesn’t go by where I don’t feel pressed for time. So what happens in those situations?

    Josh Freedman has a lot to say about this in his article, Stress is Killing Me. Time for Emotional Intelligence? When we are feeling pressed for time or facing a problem, a natural reaction might be to feel stress. On it’s own, that might be manageable, but unfortunately, stress often occurs in a cycle. The stress cycle looks like this:

    I can relate to this cycle. It’s the “If I can just get through these next couple of days, I’ll have more time for….” and then as I sit in my urgent focused state, I shut out the world around me, feeling disconnected.

    As we debriefed the workshop activity it became clear to everyone, the lack of time created a sense of stress. This stress resulted in:

    • People jumping in to try to solve the problem.
    • Some worked in groups of two.
    • Ohers worked in groups of three
    • Others on their own.
    • Some just checked out.

    Communication shut down.

    Planning was non-existent.

    And random solutions were being tossed out with no success.

    Collaboration requires you to slow down, seek multiple perspectives and ideas to determine the best possible solution.

    Emotions Drive People, and People Drive Performance

    During the workshop, participants completed a Six Seconds Brain Brief Profile to increase their self-awareness. The profile helped them to understand:

    • Where they prefer to focus (facts or feelings)
    • How they appraise situations (assess risk or assess opportunity)
    • How they get energy (pragmatic action or long-term possibilities)

    Our simulation helped to point out that emotions drive people, and people drive performance. Here are just a few of the observed actions that resulted from different feelings.

    Feeling Performance
    Challenged Jumped right in asking questions to understand the problem
    Concerned Recognized the risk and was assessing the situation
    Paralyzed Declared that it is impossible and that they were never going to be able to do it
    Overwhelmed Sat back and waited for others to step up and give direction
    Connected Listened for others’ ideas and made sure they were heard

    Being able to identify and name how you are feeling will impact your ability to navigate an emotion and ultimately the actions you take.

    Emotional intelligence is  significant predictor of success as it relates to your effectiveness, relationships, well-being, and quality of life. If you would like to learn more about how you can develop your emotional intelligence, or if you would like to conduct a workshop at your place of work or school, contact me at here.

    About Kelli Schulte, ACC, EQCA, EQPC

    I am a Chicago-based consultant and coach helping individuals and organizations grow in emotional intelligence. With a natural curiosity for how people think and feel, I enjoy helping others increase self-awareness, build greater connections, and experience a healthier sense of well-being, in order to take positive steps forward.

    In addition to being a wife and a mom of two young adults, I am also a certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Certified EQ Assessor and EQ Area Network Leader with Six Seconds, a Panelist with the Six Seconds EQ Community Forum, and a regular contributor with 30Seconds.com.

    My combined 25 years of experience working as a leadership development consultant with Fortune 100 organizations, and working with students and adults in church ministry gives me a unique coaching and consulting platform.