emotional intelligence posts
What is emotional intelligence and why is it important in your professional life? What about an organization’s emotional intelligence? Check out the posts below!
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November 16th, 2011
So often when we experience the negative and ongoing impact of a bully on our team, we want to fight back by giving it the old ‘eye-for-an-eye…tooth-for-a-tooth’ spirit. But does blaming a bully, when s/he has blamed you first really work? Not really. If you do not see a video below – find it here.
As one person on LinkedIn aptly commented,
“…calling them “bullies” is judgmental and detrimental on our part. It predisposes us to have little confidence in their ability to change or in our ability to help them change. When we call them “bullies”, we turn them into caricatures and something less than human. We need not accept their behavior, but quit labeling them and start prompting them (as ordinary people) to learn better ways.”
Remember, bullies are not all bad. Bullies often suffer from low-level emotional intelligence. Without having much awareness of how their behaviours impact others, it’s extremely difficult to manage themselves.
Not long ago, I was called in to work with a team whirling in a cloud of dysfunction. Their team leader chose bullying behaviours to assert his leadership by;
- Making bold statements of unilateral decisions
- Lacking curiousity about the impact his decisions might have on his team’s current projects and client relationships
- Sometimes being absent for long periods of time
- Displaying inconsistent and irrational outbursts
Understandably, these bullying behaviours left his team feeling confused, burnt-out, frustrated and downright pissed-off.
By facilitating a series of direct ‘critical conversations’, all team members (including the bully) put forward their personal challenges with one another and the impacts that those behaviours had on their working relationships.
As I prompted them to repeat back to one another the viewpoints expressed by their team members, I witnessed a dramatic shift in this bully and his team.
As each person realized the impact their behaviours had on others, their body positions softened, emotions of anger onto the other shifted into sadness for oneself. With self-awareness now at the forefront, each one of these individuals realized that controlling another person’s behaviour was far more difficult than learning about their own behaviours.
In managing themselves with new behaviours such as getting curious, communicating and showing patience, this particular bully let down his guard. At that point, his team realized that they, too, had reacted to the bully with their own bullying behaviours. Empathy and higher level emotional intelligence won the race on this day!
Can you share an experience where the bully increased their emotional intelligence to the point that the issues were resolved? If not, perhaps you could benefit from a FREE bully coaching session to discuss your next steps.
October 07th, 2011
Honesty can really get a meeting moving in the right direction. When I’m in team meetings, I often find myself thinking that self-awareness needs to exist before the courage to reveal oneself openly and honestly can happen.
I talk a great deal about the importance of emotional intelligence and the ability for teams to be productive. Teams can move forward on tasks if individuals, who have a deep understanding of self, are willing to;
- Manage their stress levels and their personality traits,
- Be empathetic to the same in others,
- Lead assertively, and
- Demonstrate social skills.
In a meeting recently, a soft-spoken individual came forward with great clarity about who he was and how he saw the world.
“Look, I am a linear thinker and I lead a group of linear thinkers; engineers and financiers. As a result, it is really hard to figure out how to translate what you creative and strategic thinkers are saying. My brain just does not work that way”.
Whether it was a vocal “ah” or “ohh”, a big sigh or the movement of their chair, everyone around the table responded. We all knew that this man’s honesty had shifted all of our perspectives. With his willingness to reveal what he knew about himself, we now had permission to do something differently.
In this case, it allowed everyone to use this information to make their roles in the project more effective. I walked away understanding I needed to be more aware and conscious of taking the time to outline strategies and expand on the reasoning behind each strategy. Honesty really is the best policy.
How about you? Do you have the self-awareness to share something about yourself that might help your team work better together? We’d love to hear what type of response you get.
August 11th, 2011
Building a high-functioning team takes courage, commitment, tenacity and a willingness to work with one another. In order to improve teamwork, it’s important to try something new, change a behaviour, spice up the team a bit with a new approach and then review to see if it worked or fell short of success.
Teamwork Challenge Tip #9: Get Naked
Many of us are too timid to reveal ourselves to others because we’re scared of negative consequences or of others not seeing us in a good light. In reality, quite the opposite is true.
High-level emotional intelligence accounts for 60% of all team productivity. Opening up your ‘private self’ is key to developing your emotional intelligence and to building trust with your teammates.
Recently, a woman on a team revealed that she was feeling insecure about her inability to think outside-the-box when her team was solving problems and that, during these types of meetings, her nervousness paralyzed her ability to contribute. Her teammates had often wondered why she was so quiet, but had never thought to ask.
With this key piece of knowledge, her co-workers were now able to support her with probing questions to get her creative juices flowing, which encouraged her participation.
Your challenge this week is to get naked with a co-worker and reveal a piece of your private self. What did you reveal? How did your teammates react? What else of your private self are you willing to share?
Remember to try something new, change a behaviour, spice up the team a bit with a new approach and then analyze the results. Let us know if this week’s teamwork challenge tip made a positive or negative impact on the effectiveness of your team.
Now that you’ve gotten naked, letting go next week with tip #10 will be a piece of cake.
June 14th, 2011
When working with executive teams, I’m often amazed by how many men and women would rather internally combust with feelings of frustration, resistance, anger, powerlessness or heart-felt sensitivity than to just simply say it!
Executives grit their teeth and bury their fingernails into desktops to resist articulating their human-ness. I’m not talking about throwing a boardroom temper tantrum or having a good cry in the reception area. Rather, I’m simply suggesting that articulating how you’re feeling “in the moment” is a huge component of developing one’s emotional intelligence and communicating effectively with a co-worker.
Gone are the days when businesses were built on widget-making. Successful businesses today focus on relationship-building. Communication and developing one’s emotional intelligence are really good competencies when you’re trying to build relationships.
Emotional Intelligence encompasses a number of aspects of oneself. Consider these points the next time you’re about to personally pop a blood vessel;
Experience a feeling, recognize it and then give the feeling a name that fits – anger, frustration, sensitivity, embarrassment, stress, etc. To be emotionally intelligent, you must be able to accurately identify your feelings and emotions.
State your feelings to others simply, succinctly and cleanly – no need to add any drama.
“This long project is making me frustrated and overwhelmed.”
“I am embarrassed about missing yesterday’s deadline” ”
“I am feeling sad, I wish you could see my point-of-view.”
Try to be empathetic with others who are experiencing strong feelings. Try to be empathetic with yourself when you are experiencing feelings. This is important to do, especially in the middle of a heated debate. Your perception of the situation will be widened, giving way for many more creative and strategic solutions.
Listen carefully and accurately re-state others’ concerns or beliefs. Part of being emotionally intelligent requires you to be able to listen to others and then reiterate their views accurately. Remember that acknowledging another person’s point of view doesn’t mean you agree with them, but it does mean that you have correctly heard them.
Relationship building and leadership assertiveness go hand-in-hand. By respecting and considering other people’s viewpoints, opinions and (emotions), you can derive many options when faced with a decision. It’s important to be open and not be boxed-in by limited thinking or narrow-mindedness. State what you think clearly and assertively and, if you need to shed a tear or two in the process, don’t get so fussed about it.
How about you? Do you have a good example of when you said what you were feeling to your team? How did it feel?
April 19th, 2011
Emotional Intelligence is a critical component for healthy teams and productive meetings.
When working with others, I develop my emotional intelligence by practicing a high level of self-awareness. This came in handy the other day when I was on a conference call with two experts on my team to develop a new, web-based tool.
When I say experts, I mean that each one of these individuals has specific strengths that I do not possess. Therefore, when we are on a conference call, it’s really important that all three of us have acute listening skills. In order to be effective in our collaboration, we need to understand the other person’s position as much as we understand our own.
On this particular day, I was quite stretched. It was late in the afternoon and I could feel a cold coming on. At the 60-minute mark into our call, my concentration ability had flatlined.
Instead of hanging tight, I stated “I am full, I need to end this call because I can no longer listen or take in any of the details that are being discussed…are you willing to continue this conversation in the morning?” I then shared the information about my cold, etc.
The next day, one of my colleagues told me that he really appreciated how I ended the call. He admired my ability to be straightforward and stated that, in the past when he had been in similar situations, he often toughed it out in order to get through the meeting. He now realized the consequences to himself and others in doing that.
When you feel full, make sure you let others know so that you can get back together and have another effective meeting at a later date. With this behaviour, you will raise the bar for meeting engagement on your team.
Have you been in a situation where you zoned out of an important meeting because you were overloaded? What did you do? What did you miss? Or maybe you’ve been able to speak your truth and end a meeting before your brain shut down. How did that feel? How did your colleagues respond? We’d love to hear from you!
March 01st, 2011
According to Wikipedia, Emotional Intelligence is “a self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.”
It’s safe to say, then, that heightened emotional intelligence skills boost effective communication, enrich team collaboration and increase the ability to get results.
The other day, I was on a call with a new work colleague and realized that, despite our light banter, the conversation was bumping along instead of flowing smoothly. With each response that left my mouth, I felt as if my colleague was judging my competence. Problem solving was a distant and fading notion.
Technical issues in our webinar studio gave me the break I needed to get our conversation back on track. I told my colleague I needed to deal with this situation and would call her back in 10-minutes.
It turns out it was the break we both needed. When I called her back, she revealed that she had a great deal invested in the problem we were trying to solve and had been experiencing a lot of anxiety.
Her self-awareness and courage to manage her anxiety by simply stating them to me provided the clarity I needed to appreciate her anxiety and investment in a solution. Immediately, the direction of our conversation switched from ineffective to effective. Our conversation flowed smoothly, we collaborated to make a final decision and our end result was met.
Do you have an example of how a conversation gone wrong was re-directed with a pinch of emotional intelligence?
December 22nd, 2010
We’ve been writing this blog for almost 2-years and couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for your participation.
This past year, we covered team alignment, meeting productivity, the importance of communication and emotional intelligence. Some of our favourite posts have been;
- The Highs and Lows of Emotional Intelligence in Conflict Navigation
- Emotional Intelligence and Teamwork
- How to Prevent a Loss from Destroying Team Productivity
Since we started blogging, our most popular post has been The Secret to Email Productivity for Executives.
What was your favourite post and why? Your comments help keep our blog alive.
Which areas would you like more insight on? Emotional Intelligence? Communication? Feedback and Performance? Accountability? Team Development? Leadership and Followership? Perhaps you have a situation about a topic we have yet to cover. If you’re experiencing a stumbling block or a particularly difficult situation, chances are that others are as well. We love hearing from you, so please keep posting your feedback, comments and questions.
Look for a new post early in the New Year.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!
November 02nd, 2010
Is a lack of focus preventing you from getting the most out of your business meetings?
If you find yourself running from one meeting to the next and suspect you’re not being as effective as you could be, you’re not alone. A client recently contacted me asking for advice on successfully managing multiple meetings:
“I am often in back-to-back meetings with heavy topics. With no time to mentally release from one topic/meeting and switch to give my full attention to the next topic/meeting, listening becomes difficult. I know the next meeting is as important as the previous one. Are there any tips to clear ones brain to truly focus? Is there a polite way I can transition into the new meeting/topic without seeming disinterested?”
Whether itʼs swooping into business meetings with that final decision everyoneʼs waiting for, checking off tasks on their to-do lists, or navigating conflicts in between, leaders and executives are multitasking all day long. But instead of keeping teams on track, this type of behaviour can significantly derail team effectiveness and individual productivity.
It’s not how much running around you do that’s important. It’s how focused you are while doing it.
Productivity expert Jim Loehr sums up the importance of being fully focused during business tasks like meetings:
“If youʼre present but disengaged, youʼre doing the exact opposite of your intention. Itʼs not how many hours you put in with a client or on a project. Itʼs the quantity and quality of your energy—your focus and force—that determines whether that time is valuable. We call that ‘full engagement’… the acquired ability to intentionally invest your full and best energy right here and now.”
Successful business meetings require focused energy. The key to staying engaged, present, and interested is to take a moment at the beginning of each meeting to connect with your team. This process is called a check-in, and it’s an effective way to help each person in the meeting refocus and recommit their energy to the meeting at hand. (Read my post “The Secret to Aligning Teams for Fast Results” for more information on this applied emotional intelligence technique.)
So next time you feel rushed and overwhelmed, take a breath. Set aside time at the beginning of each meeting to check in with your team. Practice makes progress.
What methods have you used to refocus prior to a successful business meeting? I’d love to hear about them.
September 23rd, 2010
Wikipedia states that Silos are used in agriculture to store grain or fermented feed known as silage.
Are you fermenting your team’s business knowledge in your own wee silo?
As my neighbour’s children run around their backyard chanting this favourite tune; “I am the King of the Castle, you’re the dirty rascal”, I am reminded of one leaders’ “aha” moment about “silos” in a recent leadership team meeting.
In business, silos can be created by an individual, a team or an operating division/department. Silos, within business, are characterized by holding on, controlling or turf protecting which become synonymous with power struggles, lack of cooperation and loss of productivity.
In this recent leadership team meeting, Rory* commented that he often had difficulties being productive because he judged his fellow leadership team-members as working in silos. He felt that each member focused on their own tactical projects, but didn’t take the time to support their fellow team members on common initiatives.
For the following monthly meeting with this leadership team, I introduced our ‘feedback matrix’ competency. The feedback matrix teaches members about and offers the opportunity to practice how to give one another corrective and directive feedback.
I asked each member of the team to make two statements to each of their co-workers. The statements were;
- “Working with you, one of the difficulties that I have is…”, and
- “Working with you, one of the appreciations I have is…”.
The greater the number of team members, the greater amount of feedback each person receives. It is very useful for each member to note any repetitive feedback they receive from their co-workers.
In his group of ten colleagues, Rory learned, from many, that his co-workers rarely knew what he was working on. They commented that their personal interpretation was that Rory was not sharing information about his project because he assumed they were too busy to hear from him. They stated that they often learned about a projects’ tasks far too late to offer Rory any support or resources.
With his jaw on the boardroom table, Rory realized the company did not have operating silo’s but rather that he had created his own silo.
Once Rory became aware of his own behaviours that lead to creating his own departmental silo, he was able to take the necessary steps to overcome those behaviours. He began by connecting with co-workers more often, sharing current tasks and reporting on project progress.
In leadership meetings, Rory started to experience many leadership team benefits; improved team relationships, higher productivity, better use of resources and personally feeling more effective and engaged.
The feedback matrix helped Rory increase his own awareness and responsibility of creating his own silo. He is no longer fermenting important team knowledge.
What silos are you stuck in?
*Name has been changed.
September 15th, 2010
Once judged as an over-used business buzz-word, Emotional Intelligence is now known a results-oriented business strategy. A business leader, with a high level of Emotional Intelligence, is capable of retaining best-in-class talent, securing juicy bottom-lines and producing outstanding business results.
Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ for Emotional Quotient) is one’s ability to be fully aware of their emotionally-based behaviours, to manage those behaviours, to develop empathy and social skills during the process of management and to have the courage to assert their leadership viewpoints and opinions.
Since we are all emotional beings, it is our powerful emotions that influence our collaborative behaviours.
By being aware of your own emotions and managing them with appropriate behaviours as it pertains to building relationships, you will be able to create buy-in from team members and therefore achieve great results.
If you are still unsure as to how Emotional Intelligence will affect your bottom-line, consider these facts:
- Healthy People: A survey of managers in a leading UK supermarket chain revealed that those high on EQ experienced less stress, enjoyed better health, demonstrated higher levels of morale and performance, and reported a better quality of life.
- Great Productivity: “In a study of skills that distinguish star performers in every field from entry-level jobs to executive positions, the single most important factor was not IQ, advanced degrees or technical experience, it was EQ. Of the competencies required for excellent performance in job performance, 67% were emotional competencies.” – Daniel Goleman
With the application of emotional intelligence in the workplace, leaders and teams profit with collaborative working relationships as well as bottom-line results.
Do you have a story of how high emotional intelligence has impacted your team or business results?