It Was Because Of The Dog…
That irritating barking dog enabled an unforgettable demonstration of heart-warming consideration and kindness. It was the talk of the street.
A client described how the neighbour’s dog barked, unrelentingly, for hours every day. Neighbours from afar spoke over their fences and stood in the street complaining about the intrusion.
And then things turned around—emotional intelligence kicked in.
My client, and every other neighbour who experienced the intrusion, had a mysterious parcel left at their front door. Upon opening the parcel my client first saw a packet of Tim-Tams. And then a note. A longish, handwritten note—several paragraphs.
The dog’s mother had written an apology to her neighbours. The heartfelt, sweetened with Tim-Tams, note told how she was looking after the dog for a good friend for ten days. And how sorry she was about the barking and the disruption that neighbours would have experienced.
Her Passionate, Considerate Apology Got Me Thinking
The dog’s foster-mother could have ignored the impact the barking was having on neighbours. She didn’t. She confronted it with kindness and consideration.
Another option she had was to take a tough, defensive stance and describe how she’d previously been affected by a neighbour’s noise.
But no, her “handwritten-letter-with-Tim-Tams” demonstrated her emotional intelligence (EQ) by:
—Considering the impact the dog had on neighbouring people
—Courageously and sensitively confronting the problem head on
—Describing the situation to others, with zero justification
—Communicating clearly about how she felt about the intrusion they would have experienced
—Making a big effort to show she cared (bear in mind, many people received a longish handwritten letter.)
Taking deliberate steps to continue having a good relationship with her neighbours.
This high EQ foster-mother could have ignored the impact the barking dog was having on others and screwed relationships because of her defensiveness.
But she didn’t 🙂
And So, As A Leader, Where Are Your Current “Barking Dog” Opportunities?
- Empathy—putting yourself in their shoes?
- Authenticity—telling the truth about what’s going on for you?
- Listening—hearing their view?
- Nurturing the relationship—putting energy into the connection?
- Managing your emotions—describing your perspective in a disassociated way?
Scientists who study the brain say, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
So practice “handwritten-letters-with-Tim-Tams” often—and it’ll become a wired, embedded habit 🙂
Your Call To Action
I’m certain that you, like all other leaders on the planet, sometimes put your head in the sand about a tricky situation.
Being candid about poor-performance?
“Head-nodding” with your boss?
Talking with your neighbours about your barking dog?
Will you think about where your opportunities lie?
(Hope my neighbour’s reading this blog. If you are, could we make it something other than Tim Tams? 🙂
“Carolyn has broad and deep knowledge that she
adapts to all sorts of people and situations.
She very quickly establishes and maintains trust and rapport,
which makes the sessions so much more effective.
Carolyn’s coaching is not just hard work, it’s fun too.”
—Chief Information Officer, Manufacturing & Retail Company
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.