Reading The Trusted Advisor this summer, p. 113 on Emotional framing ie. observing an emotional fact is about taking risks, I was reminded about a client meeting many years back when I was just an Account director. I got the feedback at the time that I misread the situation. It was a difficult commercial conversation and my presentation was very logic, facts driven ie. rational. I was being a good manager and thought that was the core of the job.
In the midst of going through the difficult and uncomfortable conversation as quickly as possible (and being young and impatient), I missed the cues in the client body language and didn’t address her emotions. We didn’t resolve the commercial issue that day (proof that impatience in negotiations is counter productive) but thankfully addressed the emotional angst and found an agreeable resolution shortly after.
Looking back reminded me how much growing into being a leader is also about accumulating so many small learnings:
- EQ and understanding that human beings are not rationale
- see my previous post on our human bias here
- listen to McKinsey’s podcast Behavioral science in business: Nudging, debiasing, and managing the irrational mind
- and read one of my favorite behavioural economics book: Nudge
- Letting go of the short term pressures, gaining confidence that immediate resolution (ie getting things done) is not always the answer and that taking the time to go over options, to think through solutions will ultimately be mutually beneficial to client and agency
- That confidence comes with experience and “buying time” is the result of another lesson: managing internal expectations within the organisation/agency
- I’ve found it very helpful in recent years to share very openly with my clients how I am accountable for the business and how I manage expectations internally. This is circling back to #1 “EQ”. By showing vulnerability and enforcing the human aspect in the relationship, I am indeed connecting more deeply with my clients as they have to also manage their reporting lines.