This is just a short story that I would like to share to relate Goleman's emotional intelligence to a situation that occured at my job in the last few days. As previously mentioned, I work in Sales and this summer one of our vendors held a contest to encourage sales of their ice machines. They offered a tiered program where the prizes increased as you sold larger machines. The contest ended August 31 and prize checks were to be mailed out October 1. A 1099 tax form was going to be done for each salesperson, which means that the prize earnings were to be reported to the IRS and that each individual would be responsible to claim their earnings on their 2005 tax forms. These rules were outlined in the contest brochure, along with some other more ambiguous rules. Our sales trainer and department head were not involved in clarifying the ambiguity in the rules; that baton was passed on to yours truly.
So, I "took the bull by the horns", spoke to the vendor and clarified the ambiguous rules listed in the contest brochure for our entire department. When the contest ended, our corporate payroll office decided to get involved and a debate was created as to how we would receive our contest rewards. The debate was whether to follow the guidelines outlined in the brochure and have each of us receive our checks and a 1099 form, or whether to put the earnings on our regular payroll check. To make a long story short, this caused delays and new checks have to be issued now. This resulted with an e-mail from our department head saying that the checks would now be sent to us by the middle of November. This news was not received well by anyone in our department, and definitely not by me. My reward was to be $720.00 and everyone in our department (approximately 15 people) was expecting at least $400.00. This amounts to several thousand dollars which is now not going to be paid out until 5-6 weeks after the initial promised date. Here's where Goleman comes in.
We got our e-mail Wednesday afternoon, and there was a previously scheduled department meeting scheduled Thursday morning. I planned on bringing up the topic in the meeting and pointing out that no one got involved with the contest on the management or corporate level until it was time for us to get paid, and the end result was that they ended up delaying our payouts. Since I took the time to clarify the rules and make sure that we turned in everything on time per the rules, I was very angry at this. I was ready to "let my manager have it" at the morning meeting. Everyone in our department shared my feelings. I have a great relationship with the head of our department as she was formerly my immediate supervisor and we have mutual respect for each other. She has "dropped the ball" in handling situations previously and most people in our department feel like she doesn't go to bat for us enough. I usually ignore the comments and try to take her position in management into consideration, and have not really rocked the boat. But, this time, I shared the feelings of other department members and felt slighted and not-supported after we earned our company a great deal of money by selling many many ice machines! But then the 24 hour rule and a cooler head prevailed.
I did not sleep well Wednesday evening as I prepared my speech for Thursday. After much thought, I felt too much respect for our department head Diane, and I went into work early to discuss this issue with her one-on-one in her office prior to the meeting. She was unaware of the department's reactions, and I presented our point of view. She explained to me that our corporate people and our trainer got her involved at the last minute, and that no one had really taken the contest by the reins previously. This was exactly one of my points, and after hearing where members of our Sales department stood on our "abandonment" issue, she was empathetic toward us. She had not been planning to discuss the contest at the meeting, but I encouraged her to do so to help department morale. I made Diane understand how important this was to all of us. She said she would look into expediting payments of the checks, and I told her that what we needed to hear was that there would be no more roadblocks in us receiving our checks by mid-November, and she assured me she would find the direct contact to ensure everything was in order to accomplish this. Diane prioritized the issue by discussing it first in our meeting, and in the ensuing one, and what she said was well received as her sincerity was evident.
Posted by at October 21, 2005 4:29 PM
Mission accomplished! And with the help of Goleman, I used emotional intelligence skills to cool off and take a more professional approach. With me empathizing with everyone's situation, I was able to effectively communicate with Diane and she followed suit with effective empathy toward us. Communication, empathy, respect, motivation, self-control, self-assurance, adaptability and initiative were just some of Goleman's emotional intelligence skills that came into play in this touchy situation. Everyone seems confident that this situation will be resolved on time and we will get paid our due rewards. Let's hope it plays out this way, and there is a happy ending to this story!