How Emotionally Intelligent is Your Lawyer?

Emotional intelligence is defined by as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”  We discussed in our last post how beneficial to the attorney/client relationship an attorney’s emotional intelligence can be.  But how can you tell if your lawyer is emotionally intelligent?

imagesAccording to a May 8, 2016 Forbes article titled, “5 Signs of High Emotional Intelligence,” the following are signs that a person (like your lawyer) has high emotional intelligence:

Sign No. 1: They handle criticism without denial, blame, excuses or anxiety

Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware and can address their faults and shortcomings in an honest and clear way.  When faced with criticism, an emotionally intelligent person will take note, analyze their mistake, and correct the issue rather than fall into an emotional downward spiral.  “People with high emotional intelligence do not deny it, blame others, make excuses or melt into a pool of anxiety.”

Sign No. 2: They’re open-minded

People who are emotionally intelligent listen to others without jumping to judgment and do not immediately dismiss another’s idea.  “You won’t find them chit-chatting all day, or tolerating negative personalities, but they do have a knack for helping people quickly set things right.”

Sign No. 3: They’re good listeners

Those with emotional intelligence can separate emotions that prohibit them from listening so they can hear the facts.  “They’ve worked at developing the ability to divorce themselves from those emotions so they can remain open and able hear what is really being said.”

Sign No. 4: They don’t sugarcoat the truth

Emotional intelligence includes speaking the truth in a way that ensures the truth gets heard.  “Frank, I’ve got a tough message to deliver.  There’s no getting around it, but I want you to understand that I’m doing this out of a concern for your wellbeing.  Because if you don’t fix this stuff, your career here is in jeopardy.”

Sign No. 5: They apologize when they’re wrong

High emotional intelligent people know when they are wrong and do not spend time or energy proving they are right.  Rather than offer excuses, emotionally intelligent people simply apologize and get back on track.  “It sounds something like this: ‘I’m sorry’ I messed up and chose some bad words that sounded like I was attacking you.  This is not what I intended.  Can I try again?”

There are many traits that good lawyers should have, and they include emotional intelligence.  So, how emotionally intelligent is your lawyer?

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Center for Legal Practice Reform
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