Enhancing Your Emotional Intelligence
Personal Competence: How we manage ourselves
Deep understanding of one’s emotions, realistic, neither overly self-critical nor naively hopeful.
- Seek feedback, acknowledge you capabilities and limitations.
- Journal your emotional highs and lows.
- Reflect on accomplishments and skills to achieve them.
- Be curious, ask questions to learn.
|Journaling–whether as a stream of consciousness or on a specific topic–can enable us to make sense of trauma, improve our immune system and moods, and help us sleep better. Daniel Goleman|
An ongoing inner conversation.
- Watch and listen for others’ emotional tone and non-verbal language.
- Ask others for their opinions before making a judgment or giving your perspective.
- Give others your full attention, reflect on their words and feelings.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
|On a good day, 80% of us are lying to ourselves about whether we are lying to ourselves. Dr. Tasha Eurich|
Social Competence: How we manage relationships
Being attuned to how others feel in the moment.
- When emotions start to rise, pause, take a moment before responding.
- Take an active interest, read the currents, understand different perspectives.
- Get organized, take time to plan ahead.
- Listen to your own self-talk. If negative, rephrase to be more positive.
|Would You Hire You?|
Handling other people’s emotions and reactions.
- Take time to learn what is important to and motivates others.
- Display a wide range of tactics for persuading others.
- Cultivate a web of diverse relationships.
- Work to resolve disagreements and enhance relationships.
|“Executive presence” is a vague term–its definition can vary greatly from person to person. Yet we can develop traits that contribute to an executive presence, including authenticity and empathy, with strengths in emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman|
- Emotional Life of Your Brain, R. Davidson & S. Begley
- Emotional Intelligence 2.0, T. Bradberry (Includes a self-assessment)
- Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness, T. Eurich
- Taming Your Gremlin, R. Carlson
- The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, D. Goleman
- To Sell is Human, D. Pink
- Dan Siegel: Mindsight
- Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (Books, Videos, and App)
- Harvard Business Review (Three free a month)
- Emotional Agility, S. David & C. Congleton
- Learning to Learn, E. Anderson
- Why You Should Hire for Emotional Intelligence
- Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed
- Key Step Media
- Ted Talks: Five Ted Talks to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
Aull About U
Noted by her clients for her energy and her ability to work with all levels of an organization, Janice leverages her passion for working with people to ignite their growth and development. She strives to create a learner-centered, performance-based environment, guiding and inspiring individuals to become self-directed learners.
Janice has a proven track record with over 30 years of experience in a corporate environment; including managing and leading salary and hourly employees. She is currently a faculty member with the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management™.
Janice earned her Master’s Degree with DePaul University, Facilitating Human Performance Improvement; a Graduate Certificate with Boise State University, Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning; and is a certified Coach with Corporate Coach U.
Life itself is a privilege, but to live life to the fullest – well, that is a choice. ~Andy Andrews – Author
Transformation is going beyond form, it is taking a step into chance. When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and took a chance to transform yourself in some way?
Taking a step outside your comfort zone can conjure a wide variety of emotions; excitement, fear, anxiety, relief, nervousness, and wonderment to name a few.
We all have the capability and capacity to go beyond our form; to leverage the strengths and energy within ourselves. For some, the challenge is identifying where to start. Start with focusing on what you are passionate about, the things that give you energy. Ask yourself what you can do to take your passion and strengths to the next level.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve a transformation can take effort. Have you seen a butterfly work to emerge from its cocoon or a chick struggle to hatch from an egg? They put a lot of focus and effort into their transformation, with spectacular results.
Taking time to create and implement a vision and strategy that focuses on doing what you are passionate about will bring you energy. This energy will translate into self-awareness, agility, and innovation; propelling you into transformation. People will be drawn to your energy, creating an engaging environment that supports bringing out the best in yourself and those you interact with.
Are you exploring life outside your comfort zone? Are you inspiring yourself and others to transform beyond current form? If so, enjoy and savor the journey. If not, take a step, challenge yourself to the next level, your path is in front of you.
If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. ~Nora Roberts – Author
Do you have Enterprise Contributors at your organization? According to CEB organizational success requires a workforce of Enterprise Contributors – individuals that contribute to their role and to the larger enterprise.
Enterprise Contributors proactively spread ideas, knowledge, experience, and expertise across the organization. They are:
- Connectors – promoting formal and informal collaboration between colleagues.
- Contributors – willingly providing feedback and assistance to others.
- Consumers – actively seeking out ideas and input from others in the organization.
Today, the average employee works with between 10 and 20 people every day on what were formerly known as ‘individual tasks’. Employees need to be able to cooperate and work effectively with peers in order to accomplish tasks. CEB found Enterprise Contributors outperform individually and they enable increased performance in their colleagues. Firms with Enterprise Contributors outperform their peers by 5% and 11% on year-over-year revenue and profit growth, respectively.
Research conducted by CEB revealed 75% of employees report feeling stymied by the current structure and culture of their firms, preventing them from being Enterprise Contributors.
To enable Enterprise Contribution it is vital HR teams look beyond conventional performance management processes which are based on improving individual performance. HR can help their firms reconcile four paradoxes at the heart of performance management:
- Coworkers are asked to help each other, but they also compete for raises and promotions.
- Employees need autonomy, but they also require direction in prioritizing their activities.
- While collaboration tools can improve quality, they can slow execution.
- Employees value contributing, but being rewarded for it actually reduces their motivation.
Building the next generation of employees with enterprise capabilities involves supporting employees to develop skills that allow them to balance individual task and network performance effectively. Leaders navigate, not simplify, role complexities to enable employees to identify opportunities for enterprise contribution that move beyond collaboration. Competencies that distinguish Enterprise Contributors:
- Prioritization: Prioritize contributions for the organization, not just the role.
- Teamwork: Possess knowledge of peers’ work, not just personal characteristics.
- Organizational Awareness: Understand organizational context, not just formal structure.
- Problem-solving: Identify and initiate change, not just positively react to change.
Complex work environments are a reality. Successful organizations equip employees to filter contributions to and from the organization to determine which will have the most impact. Leaders enable and drive accountability for employees to navigate the complexity and perform as Enterprise Contributors.
To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work. – Sister Mary Lauretta
What does ‘meaningful work’ mean to you? According to Malcom Gladwell meaningful work is work that is autonomous. Work that is complex, that occupies your mind. And work where there is a relationship between effort and reward — for everything you put in, you get something out.
When was the last time you reflected on the work you do? Are you focused and mindful with your pursuits? Are you able to answer the following questions?
- Am I being challenged?
- Am I growing and learning new skills?
- Am I respected by my colleagues?
- Do I believe in the mission of the organization I’m working with?
Think long term – Ask yourself what life you want. Think about where you want to be in five, ten, 20 years. Of course, you have to answer more immediate questions about what you want in your current job or your next, but do so only in the context of your longer, larger career goals.
Meaningful work will mean something different for each of us. I encourage you to look beyond the obvious things, like salary, title, or prestige of the company and reflect on the following categories:
This is about the concrete outcomes of your work. What do you want to achieve? Sure, you may spend a lot of your day responding to emails or attending meetings — most jobs entail at least some of that — but what evidence do you want of your work?
These are the strengths that you want to improve. The key is that you are using these strengths in a way that you find rewarding. Being good at something you don’t enjoy doesn’t count; it has to be something you love to do.
This is about the salary, benefits, and flexibility you need to live the life you want. For some people, this may mean a high paycheck that allows you to take exotic vacations. For others, it could be the freedom to work when and where you choose. Here you need to know the lifestyle you want and ask whether your job is helping you fulfill that.
This covers the culture and values of the place you work. This is not the same as mission; it is about whether you feel like you belong. What are the beliefs and priorities of the company and the people you work with? How do people treat each other? Do they collaborate? Have lunch together? It’s important to enjoy spending time with your colleagues and your manager.
The content of these categories will vary for each person. Make a list of all the things you value, and then prioritize them. This list will help guide your decisions and can be used to evaluate specific opportunities like a new assignment in your current role, a job at a different company, or a new career path.
Answers to the above questions are the things that will make the difference between being okay with your work and being truly happy.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. “ ~Zig Ziglar
For some of us we have three months left to complete our goals. Where are you at with these goals? Are you on target to achieve them? Do you need to make some adjustments? To quote Henry David Thoreau – “It’s not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we busy about?”
Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.
Now is a great time to step back and analyze the progress you are, or are not, making with your goals.
- Take time to clarify your priorities. Identify and focus on the goals that will add the most value.
- Acknowledge your wins and learn from the progress you have or have not been making with your goals. Maintaining a learning mindset will promote continued growth and movement towards goal completion.
- Tell people what your goals are. Announcing your intentions will increase your chances to achieve your goals.
- Be realistic. If you’ve discovered your goal is too big, make adjustments. It is better to achieve something than nothing at all.
- Build in reminders to keep yourself on track and make regular time-slots available to review your goals.
Make a commitment to yourself. There is only one person in this goal-setting process that matters. You! It is all on you; make an ongoing commitment to yourself.
“Day by day, nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.” ~Unknown.
What can you do with your goals today that will make looking back to today feel really different and really satisfying?
I recommend taking time to explore John G. Miller’s book “QBQ! Wha to Really Ask Yourself: Practicing personal accountability in business and life“. This book aims to help eliminate blame, complaining, and procrastination and addresses what he feels is a major issue: the lack of personal accountability.
Miller writes that “Sometimes people think they have no choice. They’ll say things like, “I have to” or “I can’t.”
We always have a choice; always. Realizing this and taking responsibility for our choices is a big step toward making great things happen in our lives.”
Miller believes the mindset that brings personal accountability to life is take ownership of the situation, explore and question it to find a solution. He provides three simple guidelines for creating a QBQ:
- Begin with “What” or “How” (not “Why,” “When,” or Who”).
When we ask “When,” for example, we’re really saying we have no choice but to wait and put off action until another time. Questions that start with “When” lead to procrastination. Procrastination is a sneaky problem. We put off a problem until a little later, and then a little later, and then a little later, until before we know it we have put off action so long that we have a serious problem. Miller quotes a friend who likes to say: “Let’s take care of the little things while they’re still little.” When we ask “Who” we deflect to someone else and take the responsibility off of ourselves. We’re looking for scapegoats and someone else to blame.
- Contain an “I” (not “they,” “them,” “we” or “you”).
Personal accountability is about each of us holding ourselves accountable for our own thinking and behaviors and the results they produce. Blame and “whodunit” questions solve nothing. They create fear, destroy creativity and build walls. There’s not a chance we’ll reach our full potential until we stop blaming each other and start practicing personal accountability. No matter what we’re trying to accomplish, there’s always a barrier of some kind to overcome, and it’s often something over which we have no control. Instead of focusing on the barriers, let’s work to become so good that we’ll succeed no matter what. Who do accountable people blame? No one, not even themselves.
- Focus on action.
To make a QBQ action-focused, add verbs such as “do,” “make,” “achieve,” and “build” to questions that start with “What” or “How” and contain an “I.” This focus will create questions like these:
|“What can I do to help you do your job better?”
“What can I do to make a difference?”
“How can I support the team?”
“How can I help move this forward?”
“How can I provide value to you?”
|“What solution can I provide?”
“How can I do my job better today?”
“How can I improve and/or adapt to the situation?”
“How can I better understand you?”
“What can I do to find the information to make a decision?” “
Taking action may seem risky, but doing nothing is a bigger risk! Even though there are risks involved in taking action, the alternative, inaction, is almost never the better choice. Miller writes that:
- Action, even when it leads to mistakes, brings learning and growth. Inaction brings stagnation and atrophy.
- Action leads us toward solutions. Inaction at best does nothing and holds us in the past.
- Action requires courage. Inaction often indicates fear.
- Action builds confidence; inaction, doubt.
QBQ is the practice of personal accountability: We discipline our thoughts. We ask better questions. We take action.
Practice it…and may it serve you well.
How can you support your learning and growth?
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every day you make decisions. The decisions you make come in a variety of ways; people, events, or things vying for your attention, time, or resources. Hopefully many of the decisions you make add value to you and your world. What happens when they don’t? What can you do to ensure you are in your optimal zone and adding value to your world? The answer – focus on what you can control and influence and let go of your concerns (things outside of you area of control or influence).
In life, there are many things about which you are concerned about yet have no control or influence over. Fortunately, however, there are many things you can control and influence. Highly successful people embrace this and spend their time and energy where they can make a difference. They realize they can influence a great deal; resulting a tremendous value being added to their world.
When you find yourself focusing on what you cannot control or influence; pause, take a deep breath, think, stay calm, and choose one item from your list and make a difference. You can’t always control the things that cause pressure, but you can control your reaction. Remind yourself that difficulties in life happen, they are a normal, unavoidable part of life.
Positive self-talk focusing on what you can control and influence is a useful way to help you stay calm while under pressure. It will also help you stay solution focused and avoid negative thoughts that may want to dominate your mind. Use your energy to focus on the present and what you can do to move forward. Focusing on what you can control and influence can help you to optimize your performance, increase your energy levels, recognize opportunities, and respond creatively to challenges.
Things you can control, right now:
- Your actions.
- How often you smile.
- Your level of honesty.
- The effort you exert for tasks.
- How you act on your feelings.
- How much time you spend worrying.
- Taming the negative gremlin in your head.
- How often you ask questions and listen to others.
- How often you show gratitude to yourself and others.
- How often you notice, appreciate, and share small acts of kindness.
Continue your control and influence list…….and then ACT on it! There are twelve months in a year. That gives you 52 weeks in which to choose your priorities. You have 365 days to decide where to focus your time, your attention, and your efforts. You have thousands of opportunities to choose, to try, and to learn. In twelve months you can achieve miracles. You can, to a remarkable degree, create the life you want. Be courageous and show determination to take the time needed to modify, impact, transform, and reinvent things in your life. You may not be in complete control; that is no excuse to deny the power you do have. Choose well. Use your power.
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”
It’s the middle of the year, are you on target to achieve the goals you set earlier this year?
Now is a great time to step back and analysis the progress you are, or are not, making with your goals. Use the below looking-back and looking-forward questions to identify how you want to spend the second half of your year.
- Key Accomplishments
- What are all of the great things that I got done over the past six months?
- What goals did I achieve?
- What things am I most proud of accomplishing?
- Which of my goals did I really miss the mark on?
- What opportunities to learn new things did I take advantage of?
- What were the things I learned most?
- What mistakes did I make and what did I learn from them?
- Time Management
- How well did I manage my time?
- Have I been focusing my time on the most important things in my life?
- Are there any significant “time wasters” that I need to reduce or eliminate from my life?
- Top Three Goals
- What are my top three goals for the remainder of the year?
- Why are those goals important to me?
- What habits and processes do I need to adopt to support those goals?
- Learning and Knowledge
- What areas of learning do I most need to focus on?
- What new skills do I need to develop or strengthen?
- What things do I need to “keep current” on?
- What one skill, if mastered, would have the greatest impact on the achievement of my goals?
- What time management habits do I need to develop and strengthen?
- What three habits, if developed and sustained, would have the greatest positive impact
on my life?
- What habits do I need to drop or replace?
Taking time to check in with your goal status provides you an opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments and regroup where needed.
If you are having challenges with meeting your goals taking time explore why, how, and where will help you create an action plan to overcome your obstacles. Methods to overcome hurdles:
Taking time to be mindful with your goal pursuit will give them a more gentle, realistic, and achievable tone. Find a quiet place to sit, take a few deep breaths, relax, and visualize what it
will be like when you achieve your goals. Imagine what it will feel like to be in this space of accomplishment.
“I’ve always found that anything worth achieving will alw
ays have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish”. ~ Chuck Norris
“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt – 1884-1962
When is the last time you stopped to reflect upon the type of choices are you making? Every day you make choices, more choices than you may realize. Some choices may not seem like choices at all. These mindless choices are our habits or normative behaviors. Habits are choices we make so regularly that over time they demand less and less executive control. As a consequence, they start to seem automatic. But they aren’t. When it comes to habits, you may even be motivated to make an excuse that you are at the mercy of the automatic choice that has become a habit.
There is always a choice, even when life gets bumpy because of choices you had made along the way. When you reach a bumpy path or fork in the road, take time for yourself to reflect and evaluate the choices you had made and identify alternative or new choices you can make to bring you back to your desired path. Use positive energy to focus on solutions and positive changes you can make. Choosing to turn bumps and forks in the road into an experience that will put you back on the path to success will inspire you, enhance the quality of your life, and bring positive transformation.
Taking time to reflect on the daily choices you are making will also motivate you to achieve more in life, to reach new levels of learning and self-awareness. This can then lead to an increased sense of self-esteem, confidence, courage, wisdom and inner peace.
Here are some tips to help you reflect and determine which path to take next time you find yourself standing at a fork in the road:
- Listen to your intuition. Tap into your intuition. You intuitively know what you want.
- Weigh the pros and cons. Take time to thoroughly analyze the pros and cons of each situation. Work to determine which situation will provide you with the best choice.
- Get outside input. Seeking input from others may provide different perspectives on your choices. A variety of opinions and words of wisdom may help you make your decision.
- Don’t let fear decide. Change can be scary. Making choices can be intimidating. Fear tries to convince you that keeping things the same is better and that change is not worth the risk. Learn to push fear aside and recognize that you need to make a choice that’s based on what’s best for you, not a choice based on avoiding what you are afraid of.
- Do what’s best for you. Do what’s right for you. This can be hard to determine sometimes when you’re weighing all of the options and getting various words of advice, but ultimately you have to focus on yourself. Tune everything else out and really ask yourself, “What is the right choice for me?” If you took away all of the details and distractions and “What if” questions, you’ll come to the realization that you know what’s best for you. Once you determine what’s best for you the question is: are you going to do what’s best for you? Sometimes this is much easier realized than acted upon.
- Trust in yourself. This ties in with the first point, but it’s not entirely the same. Once you’ve done all of the things above and you reach a decision, you may find yourself stepping back and questioning the choice your about to make. Even after all of the work you’ve done to get to this point, your mind might be filled with doubts. Don’t let those doubts overcome you. Remind yourself that you are doing what’s best for you and you’ve taken great steps to come to this conclusion. Believe in the choice you’ve made and, above all, remind yourself that everything is happening just as it should.
- Don’t ever look back. Once you’ve made your choice, make sure that you commit yourself to it and refuse to look back. It’s easy to begin doubting your choice, but looking back and wondering about what could have happened if you had made a different choice will do you no good. Realize that there is no such thing as a bad choice – if you choose with the right mindset then every choice brings learning and growth. When you accept and move forward on your journey then choosing loses some of its daunting weight and becomes a joyful experience.
- Choose something. Analyzing, assessing and agonizing are important, but can only go on for so long. Life is lived through actions; acting on your choice is the most important.
Life is a journey, not a destination.
Feeling a bit stressed? High levels of personal stress within and outside of the workplace are becoming commonplace. Stress is not going away, which is why focusing on developing your resilience will help you deal with the daily stressors you are faced with. Resilience is being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Resilient people have an ability to experience both negative and positive emotions even in difficult or painful situations. They are able to find potential or value in most challenges. The following characteristics will help you develop your resilience.
Filtering information and interpreting your world
- Personal Responsibility – the extent to which you believe that your success at work is determined by you talents and motivation as opposed to external factors such as luck or good timing.
- Realistic Optimism – seeing the world in a positive way, but also remaining grounded in reality. It is noticing and appreciating positive experiences whenever and wherever they occur, not taking things for granted.
- Personal Beliefs– seeking and embracing the sense that life has meaning and purpose. This may be in the form of religious observance, spirituality, or devotion to a particular value system or cause.
- Self-Assurance– the extent to which you believe you can
successfully perform work-related tasks or behaviors. Challenge your reflexive thoughts and negative self-talk; change emotional patterns, restrain your negative thinking and stoke your positive thinking.
- Self-Composure – the extent to which you manage your stress and remain calm under pressure. Take stock of how things might have been otherwise, instead of just how they are, use strategic positive thinking to increase gratitude, which then builds resiliency.
- Self-Care – good physical health, including a regular routine of healthy habits is foundational to both mental and emotional resilience. This includes taking mental breaks and time to relax, especially spending time outdoors and surrounding yourself with people you enjoy. Research suggests that spending just 20 minutes outside leads to more expansive and open thinking.
- Problem-Solving– the extent to which you can plan and resolve problems effectively. One strategy to fostering a learner mindset is to use “question thinking” (“What is useful here?’ or ‘What are my available choices?’), as opposed to ‘Judger Questions’ (‘What’s wrong?’ or ‘Why me?’)
- Goal Orientation– the extent to which you set appropriate goals and monitor your progress on those goals. While it might sound cliché, the more you can consider challenges as opportunities to learn, grow and develop, the more resilient you are likely to be.
Communicating and connecting with others
- Courageous Conversations– the extent to which you communicate with others in a candid and courageous way in the face of difficulty.
- Social Support– the extent to which you have a supportive social network. Being of service to others is a potent way of fuelling resilience. Studies have shown that serotonin (the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being) is used more efficiently by people who have just engaged in an act of kindness. There is a cumulative effect to continued acts of kindness and the serotonin boosts that accompany them. You can fill up your well of resiliency when you consistently add to it. When times get difficult, you can draw upon this well
What are you going to do today to start depositing into your resiliency account?