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Emotional Intelligence Makes You A Stronger Leader In High-Stakes Business

2019-08-12T10:18:31+00:00August 12th, 2019|Authentic Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Mindfulness|

emotional Intelligence and LeadershipDoes high emotional intelligence make you a “soft” leader?

If you are a senior executive operating in high-stakes, fast-paced and competitive environments, you might have encountered this corporate myth.

I suspect this comes from the misconception that “emotional intelligence” is only about empathy, positivity and compassion and that it will somehow take away your critical thinking, toughness, decisiveness or leadership edge.

The reality is that emotional intelligence fuels stronger leadership in high-stakes environments. In my experience, those who have greater emotional intelligence can often better focus strategically, eliminate cognitive biases, make tough decisions, manage conflict and have difficult conversations with ease and effectiveness. From my perspective, emotionally intelligent leaders have the greatest edge, especially in high-stakes environments.

Below are four ways I’ve observed embracing emotional intelligence has helped my clients become stronger and tougher leaders and how it could help you, too:

1. Improved Resilience And Mental Toughness

The ability to show grace under fire, be mentally tough and lead effectively in uncertainty, chaos and crisis is the hallmark of a strong leader.

The primal emotional intelligence skills of self-awareness and self-management are the gateway to becoming mentally tough. To begin working on these skills, pay attention to your stress triggers and emotional blind spots. Create new habits that help you manage your capacity to be calm in a crisis, bounce back quickly from challenging events and signal strength to your people. Building a daily mindfulness practice or taking on a regular contemplative routine like journaling, for example, is very helpful in building resilience.

When executives are wary about starting a mindfulness practice, it is best to start small. Consider scheduling a few minutes daily for a visual breathing exercise, which is a great beginning point. Mindfulness is about intentionally paying attention — without judgment — to the present moment.

When you practice emotional intelligence as a leader, you learn to stop internalizing stress and reacting to incoming noise. With emotional intelligence, you minimize your feelings of frustration, anger and even mental exhaustion in your day-to-day life, and you learn to operate at your best and also let others operate at their best.

2. Sharpened Thinking

Emotional intelligence helps you to pay attention to the patterns, biases and blind spots in the way you think, form opinions and make decisions. By creating new self-awareness habits, you also learn to isolate the role your emotions are playing in your approach to decision making.

Practices such as mindfulness, taking new perspectives and emotional self-management which are a part of the emotional intelligence repertoire, help you enhance your ability to focus on what is most important. You can choose to zoom into a micro-perspective or zoom out and look at the big picture.

These are essential critical thinking skills for any leader who wants to succeed in a high stakes’ environment.

3. Greater Ability To Read External Cues

Many leaders default to leading from their areas of expertise and spend too little time synthesizing the cues from the operating environment.

As a leader in high-stakes environments, if you don’t pay greater attention to others and tune into their mindset, drivers and preferences, you will not be able to read organizational and market signals. Emotional intelligence helps you develop social awareness and become more aware of cues, patterns and influencers of the people around you, whether they are clients, stakeholders, teams, adversaries or your board.

The first key step is to intentionally spend time understanding organization dynamics in your company and engage with empathy with those around you. Both practices give you a big picture and a micro view of external factors. This insight into the external environment helps you make more effective decisions around strategy, talent, organizational transformation and execution.

4. Increased Effectiveness With People

Relationship management is a key facet of emotional intelligence. The focus on managing relationships with others by building upon self-mastery and social awareness helps you hone your relationship management ability. You learn how to influence others, have difficult conversations, manage conflict, develop and coach your talent, inspire your teams and generally become more effective with others.

Leaders in high-stakes environments are expected to be effective and create results quickly. Once they learn to seamlessly forge and navigate relationships, it makes them even stronger in their leadership.

I believe strong leadership in high-stakes environments can only be built on a foundation of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a unique and powerful gateway for both self-mastery, as well as your effectiveness with others. If you operate in a high-stakes environment, you would be remiss to not add it to your toolkit.

Written by Shefali Raina for Forbes Coaches Council  Original here 

The Value Of Emotional Intelligence For Leaders

2019-06-14T11:15:27+00:00June 14th, 2019|Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Leadership Development|

When you advance in your career, achieving more success and fulfillment, there are areas of potential and growth that are still latent.

Plato eloquently wrote, “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotions and knowledge.” In order to expand yourself, desire, emotional self-awareness and self-discovery through knowledge are three qualities that are paramount for greater success.

As an executive coach, my role is often one of guiding the inner process to reveal the potential that you are not aware of, similar to a caterpillar before it becomes a butterfly. It’s a potential that simply hasn’t been developed yet.

Here is where emotional intelligence (EI) comes into play. IQ and technical expertise are no longer sufficient to be successful as a leader or to move up in an organization. A popularly cited survey from 2011 showed that 71% of employers valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ. In fact, 59% of employers would not hire someone if they had a high IQ but low EI.

When you are high in emotional intelligence, you, as a leader, are able to increase employee engagement, retention and performance because you:

• Are demonstrating the ability to manage your own emotions

• Understand your effect on your team

• Are able to resolve conflict effectively and quickly

Have enhanced communication and listening skills

• Are able to stay calm in times of stress, conflict and challenges

• Understand the emotions of others

When you reach the managerial level or higher, you often rely on the same skills and strengths that brought you to the top. However, overusing your strengths can also be a weakness. Increasing EI enhances your toolbox, bringing awareness of when to dial down a strength and use a different one. Increasing one competency will increase other areas, giving you the edge to:

• Make better decisions under pressure

• Recognize when emotions are influencing your thinking

• Understand and gauge the emotions and psychological states of others

Using Assessments To Increase Emotional Intelligence

Administering an EI assessment is beneficial because you will have a full picture of the strengths you have and what will need developing. When you receive the results of your EI assessment, it reveals the competencies where you are strong and areas needing development.

Another way to use the assessment is during the hiring process or when deciding who to promote into managerial roles and higher. Here is an example.

I was working with a company that called me because it had moved a loyal, hardworking employee into a managerial position, but he was failing in his new role. When I reviewed his assessment, his interpersonal skills (3 out of 15 competencies) were extremely low. Prior to moving him into this position, it would have been more prudent to give him some managerial training to develop the skills necessary to be successful in this position. Ultimately, they ended up letting him go, when had they reviewed his assessment first, they could have prevented the bad feelings that ensued between themselves and their employee.

Assessments reveal competencies (which are learned abilities) for strong, successful leadership, such as:

1. Assertiveness

2. Optimism

3. Independence

4. Strong impulse control

5. Problem-solving and decision-making skills

6. Confidence

7. Strong interpersonal skills

8. Flexibility

These eight competencies fall under the category of self-awareness, the bedrock of high EI. Increasing your self-awareness and understanding your own emotional states, behaviors and what motivates you improves your ability to understand others. Expanding self-awareness is an ongoing process, as it is a challenge to “know thyself” fully.

Let’s take a look at impulse control, the No. 1 derailer for managers and leaders. Lack of impulse control is a result of the brain experiencing a perceived threat, prompting you to act from an emotional stance rather than maintaining control. I mentioned earlier that competency is a learned ability. Yes, you can learn to maintain control even in the face of adversity, challenges and stressful situations.

When I coach individuals who are low on impulse control, the technique to conquer this knee-jerk reaction is to first reflect back on what was said and then ask questions. Asking questions is a way to gather more information and understanding, calming down the emotional hijack and allowing you to maintain your control. Asking questions can also prevent triggering the other person, and it allows them to explore the situation and maintain emotional control as well.

Individuals come to me for coaching because they want to move up the ladder yet are often unaware of these eight skills needed to be successful in the new role. When we review their results, we focus on one area to strengthen, because when we strengthen one, others usually increase as well. Strengthening impulse control, for example, can boost assertiveness, flexibility and confidence.

Increasing emotional intelligence is the differentiator between an exemplary leader and one who is not. High EI has been proven to give one climbing the ladder a competitive edge, setting them apart from other candidates.

If you’re already in a leadership role, increasing your EI is probably one of the best investments you can make for yourself and for your organization. Being smart is not enough. If you cannot manage yourself, your technical expertise is compromised, and team morale goes down. Emotionally intelligent leaders inspire others, boosting morale and thus increasing productivity and employee performance.

Article by Melinda Fouts, Ph.D. – Original in Forbes here

Emotional Intelligence Is No Soft Skill

2019-06-14T11:36:13+00:00May 14th, 2019|Emotional Intelligence, Leadership|

Despite a bevy of research and best-selling books on the topic, many managers still downplay emotional intelligence as a “touchy-feely” soft skill. The importance of characteristics like empathy and self-awareness is understood, sure. But intelligence and technical capability are seen as the real drivers of professional success. After all, a bit of coaching can help you navigate difficult conversations. And isn’t interpersonal friction simply part of organizational life?

But evidence suggests quite the opposite: that high emotional intelligence (EI) is a stronger predictor of success. In fact, high EI bolsters the hard skills, helping us think more creatively about how best to leverage our technical chops.

A KEY DIFFERENTIATOR FOR YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

When I co-teach the program Strategic Leadership, I ask participants to list the characteristics of a great mentor or role model and to classify each characteristic into one of three groups: IQ/smarts, technical skills, or emotional intelligence. Almost invariably, the majority of characteristics fall into the EI bucket.

In fact, emotional intelligence—the ability to, say, understand your effect on others and manage yourself accordingly—accounts for nearly 90 percent of what moves people up the ladder when IQ and technical skills are roughly similar.

Although many participants are surprised by the results, scientific research has proved the point. Daniel Goleman is the author and psychologist who put emotional intelligence on the business map. He found that, beyond a certain point, there is little or no correlation between IQ and high levels of professional success.

One needs above-average intelligence—which Goleman defines as one standard deviation from the norm or an IQ of about 115—to master the technical knowledge needed to be a doctor, lawyer, or business executive. But once people enter the workforce, IQ and technical skills are often equal among those on the rise. Emotional intelligence becomes an important differentiator.

In fact, emotional intelligence—the ability to, for instance, understand your effect on others and manage yourself accordingly—accounts for nearly 90 percent of what moves people up the ladder when IQ and technical skills are roughly similar (see “What Makes a Leader” in the Harvard Business Review, January 2004).

Research has also demonstrated that emotional intelligence has a strong impact on organizational performance. Sanofi, the French pharmaceutical company, focused on the emotional intelligence skills of its sales force, which boosted annual performance by 12 percent (see the research by S. Jennings and B.R. Palmer in “Sales Performance Through Emotional Intelligence Development,” Organizations and People, 2007). After Motorola provided EI training for staff in a manufacturing plant, the productivity of more than 90 percent of those trained went up (Bruce Cryer, Rollin McCraty, and Doc Childre: “Pull the Plug on Stress,” Harvard Business Review, July 2003).

Emotional intelligence increases corporate performance for a number of reasons. But perhaps the most important is the ability of managers and leaders to inspire discretionary effort—the extent to which employees and team members go above and beyond the call of duty.

The core of high EI is self-awareness: if you don’t understand your own motivations and behaviors, it’s nearly impossible to develop an understanding of others. A lack of self-awareness can also thwart your ability to think rationally and apply technical capabilities.

Individuals are much more inclined to go the extra mile when asked by an empathetic person they respect and admire. Although discretionary effort isn’t endless, managers with low emotional intelligence will have much less to draw on. If an organization has a cadre of emotionally intelligent leaders, such discretionary efforts multiply.

THE BEDROCK OF Emotional Intelligence is SELF-AWARENESS

The ability to be an emotionally intelligent leader is based on 19 competencies in four areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

The core of high EI is self-awareness: if you don’t understand your own motivations and behaviors, it’s nearly impossible to develop an understanding of others. A lack of self-awareness can also thwart your ability to think rationally and apply technical capabilities.

Two parts of the brain are constantly fighting for control. The neocortex is the cognitive center, where our IQ and working memory reside. On average, in a normal emotional state, the neocortex can process a factorial of four variables, which is 24 possible interrelationships.

Adeptly handling multiple variables is central to performing important tasks such as developing a strategy, improving a complicated process, setting priorities, understanding consequences, and gleaning keen insights from data and information.

The amygdala is the feeling side of the brain, our emotional center. As the part of our brain concerned with our survival, it responds 100 times faster than the neocortex. Such responsiveness is particularly useful when confronted with a potentially threatening situation.

But because it can be triggered by both real and perceived threats, we can fall into the trap of imagining the worst before we have all the facts. How many of us, when faced with a rumor of layoffs, are quick to envision the worst-case scenario before we learn the truth?

WHEN EMOTIONS HIJACK OUR ABILITY TO REASON

When the feeling side or our brain is triggered, it hijacks our cognitive system. With the slightest provocation, our ability to apply reason and logic can drop by 75 percent. Thus, instead of handling 24 interrelationships, we may suddenly be able to cope with only two. We may start to see only in black and white, in binary frameworks like yes or no, right or wrong, and win or lose.

Using questions instead of statements can also help managers and leaders avoid triggering emotional hijacks in others. Our feeling mind wants to sense that we are included, autonomous, competent, valued, respected, and safe.

Throughout a work day, there are numerous emotional triggers: an e-mail from a superior saying “We need to talk,” a comment made by a colleague with a hidden agenda, even a funny look from someone important in the office.

It can take us nearly 20 minutes to recover from an emotional encounter. If the feelings are frequently retriggered, we can end up spending significant amounts of time with little ability to leverage our technical capability and inherent intelligence.

FOCUS ON UNDERSTANDING RATHER THAN JUDGMENT

So how can we speed up our recovery? It’s important to stop and turn our attention from the emotional to the physical. Physical activity such as taking a walk or going for a drink of water reduces the amount of adrenaline and cortisol flowing through the body.

Once the body is calmed physically, we need to seek information and determine if the threat is real and, if so, what we can do to address it. Ask yourself whether an issue will matter in six minutes, six days, six weeks, six months, or six years. Questions engage your curiosity—your neocortex. Statements, however, imply judgment, triggering the feeling side of the brain.

If someone is habitually late to meetings, for example, asking yourself why that is the case will lead to a more productive conversation about the issue than stewing on the statement: “I can’t stand the fact that he is always late.”

It is easy to consign emotional intelligence to the periphery of work life and concentrate on smarts and know-how. However, such a focus will likely hamper success.

Using questions instead of statements can also help managers avoid triggering emotional hijacks in others. Our feeling mind wants to sense that we are included, autonomous, competent, valued, respected, and safe. Something as simple as asking, “Can you tell me more about how you came to that conclusion?” or “What information would be helpful for you?” is far less likely to trigger an emotional hijack than statements such as, “I don’t completely agree” or “I’m worried about what is happening.”

It is easy to consign emotional intelligence to the periphery of work life and concentrate on smarts and know-how. But such a focus will likely hamper success. It can leave us without the most important differentiator for our personal brands. And an inability to manage ourselves severely constrains our capacity to use hard skills such as the technical competence that we have worked so hard to master.

By the same token, a command of emotional intelligence is a proven differentiator in the competitive climb up the corporate ladder. By inspiring others, emotionally intelligent leaders can ignite discretionary effort on the part of their teams to boost productivity and spur higher levels of employee engagement that comes from a strong company morale.

By Laura Wilcox at Harvard.edu

5 EASY WAYS TO BRING GRATITUDE TO THE OFFICE

2019-06-14T11:37:38+00:00January 2nd, 2019|Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Motivation|

This time of year is filled with swarming demands. You are juggling to-do lists, replies to investors, flittering holiday schedules. You have yearly success to evaluate and ugly sweaters to pick. It’s easy to feel like there is not enough — not enough time, not enough talent, not enough appreciation for the work you and your team are doing.

All this not-enough-ness leaves us feeling empty and depleted rather than full of comfort and joy.

Conscious leaders can gracefully combat feelings of scarcity by incorporating gratitude into the workday. Simple shifts towards thankfulness will inspire teams and provide hope and prosperity for the year ahead.

Here are five easy-to-implement ideas to inspire gratitude for your team and organization.

1. Make a list.

Take a break and grab a pen. Go sit somewhere quiet and make a list of what you are thankful for in your organization. Are there standout employees making a difference? Are you proud of new accomplishments or thankful for the light dancing across your keyboard as you type your next important email? Taking time to stop and make a list of what brings you joy at work can ground you. Then, take the time to share your responses with your team. When you lead with a vulnerable heart, this sets the stage for employees to follow, which leads to …

2. Acknowledge what’s going right.

Leaders are programmed to problem-solve. Addressing challenges and navigating unknowns probably led to your success. It is natural to jump right in and tackle obstacles with your team. A key shift towards leading with gratitude is to first recognize all the things going well right now. Start simple to build your gratitude muscles. The printer is working, and the lights are on. All members of your team arrived safely on time. Fresh coffee is percolating. Then you can move on to recognize the positive results of your team’s contributions. Last week’s demanding client is now thrilled with revision three of their blueprints. Perhaps you cut costs by changing suppliers and made five new connections leading to new sales.

Keep a running list with your team and review together at the end of each month. Celebrate your successes and confidently move forward to address new challenges. You can also…

3. Learn what your employees are thankful for in their work.

One-on-one meetings are essential to healthy workplaces. Providing space to share successes and voice concerns with a leader on a regular basis leads to better results. Rather than drag, these hours can be inspiring problem-solving sessions designed to provide insight on engagement and satisfaction at work.

Ask questions like:

  • What are you doing well?*
  • What are you working to improve?*
  • What roadblocks are in your way?*
  • How can we support you better?*
  • What about your work are you most thankful for?

These questions prompt employees to ponder which aspects of the job they enjoy and where they are thriving. They also uncover areas for improvement and perceived feelings of positive impact in their current roles. If employees struggle to identify what they are thankful for, you can work together to create a plan to make work more rewarding. Encourage them to go back to point number one and make their own gratitude lists. If they feel comfortable, invite them to share their responses with you.

4. Express gratitude for employee’s efforts.

Conscious leaders understand that people are vital to a healthy organization. With mixtures of personalities, preferences, and time available, you may feel unsure of how to express your thanks and appreciation to members of your team. Some folks love a good superlative, while others would prefer to melt away than stand on stage and accept an award. Take the time to ask what makes your employee feel special. Add a line to on-boarding paperwork to track favorite desserts or what movies they enjoy. Keep these notes in their file or their contact info on your phone. Then, when you notice a standout action, you can leave a note and a small token of appreciation on their desk. Too touchy-feely or out of budget? Jot a quick note-of-thanks email and click send. Or better yet…

5. Say thank you, in person, with an authentic heart.

My first job was a receptionist in a nail salon. I made appointments, put on jackets, and buckled folks in to the driver’s seat so their nail polish wouldn’t smear. At the end of each day, the owner would tell me, “Thank you for your work today.” No matter how many toe-nail clippings I’d swept or demanding women I’d navigated, I always felt seen and appreciated when my boss would say thanks. As an organizational gatekeeper, I’ve worked with many colleagues who say they like their work and they wish their bosses were more aware of how they navigate the frustrating parts of their roles. Employees want to be seen. Acknowledge the metaphorical toe nails and repeat the phrase, “Thank you for your work today,” with a sense of authentic appreciation as often as you can.

It takes time to see your people. When you choose to invite gratitude into your spaces and conversations, you can appreciate the positive impacts you and your organization make. Try out these ideas before the end of the year. With practice, you’ll be able to encourage your team to focus, with grateful hearts, on all you set out to accomplish.

This Article was written by Katie Huey of Conscious Company Media – Original here>

Making workplaces truly great: How management toxicity affects employees, and what to do about it

2019-06-14T11:48:41+00:00August 13th, 2018|Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Leadership|

What matters – for employee engagement and productivity and, more important, for employee health – is the work environment and the work itself.

Two recent studies reveal that nearly half of India’s private sector employees suffer from depression, anxiety and stress. Demanding work schedules, high pressure for achieving objectives, and the “always-on” mobile phone syndrome are the top three culprits.

“Management toxicity” is affecting more and more Indians just as we see it in Americans and others around the world. Of 8 lakh suicides across the world annually, about 1 lakh are Indians. India is the world capital for diabetics; and cardio ailments are affecting people in their 30s and early 40s.

We wonder whether annual lists of “great/best places to work” have any sanctity, given that many employees from such listed companies frequently complain of toxicity in management. We question the ethical and serious bias of the agencies that do such ratings, because they try to sell their products and services to the companies they are listing. We suggested health-related data as an added criterion, and a shift in orientation of the rating agencies to “non-profit” for removing serious bias.

Chronic disease, caused in part by stress, is one reason that healthcare costs are soaring around the world. Because most stress comes from work, the workplace has become a public health crisis.

But workplaces do not have to be toxic and stress-filled. Our research uncovered two crucial elements that can build healthy work environments and that don’t cost much to implement. By providing people more job autonomy and social support, enterprises can create healthier workplaces that are less stressful and eliminate the many costs related to stress.

What matters – for employee engagement and productivity and, more important, for employee health – is the work environment and the work itself. Not having a boss who heaps scorn and abuse, because the health hazards of workplace bullying and incivility have been well documented. Having a private office or at least a workplace with comfortable temperature, good lighting, and acoustical privacy, ensures that the physical work environment does not impose stress.

A study of British civil servants revealed that the higher the person’s rank, the less likely that individual was to suffer from coronary artery disease. Why? When British epidemiologist Michael Marmot and his colleagues investigated, they found that the determining factor was the level of job control. Being micromanaged is stressful, and having more control over what you do and when you do it is positively associated with health and wellbeing.

The problem of micromanagement arises because corporations often promote people based not on their ability to manage others but for skills such as their capability with budgets or project management. Because many managers can’t manage, in the sense of coaching others to do their jobs better, one of the worst “sins” many employees encounter at work is being too tightly controlled.

As for the second element – social support – evidence suggests that having family and friends, and having close relationships have a direct effect on health, and that buffers the effects of various psycho­social stresses. People who were less socially integrated had higher mortality rates and higher rates of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

Changing the environment to make things better is not that hard. Just stop doing the things that create toxic work environments: Get rid of forced ranking, the “grading ­on ­the ­curve” performance review process made famous by GE; don’t pit people against each other in the guise of internal competition that results in a rat race in which people work crazy hours and travel excessively; invest in management processes where senior managers can mentor juniors; stop the transactional approach to employees by not viewing them as factors of production and trading money for work.

When people have hard times, provide them with help and support – meals, babysitting, companionship, time off and a signal that their colleagues and the company cares about them. With a supportive environment, people are healthier and more tightly integrated into the company.

Holiday and birthday parties, and events that celebrate shared successes such as product launches or project completion – almost anything that brings people together in meaningful context – helps build a sense of shared identity and belonging.

Original Article Jeffrey Pfeffer and M Muneer here: Times of India

Jeff Pfeffer is a professor at Stanford Business School; M Muneer is co-founder, Medici Institute

Leadership Emotional Intelligence continues to be the top priority as change pressures increase.

2019-04-10T09:21:20+00:00May 8th, 2018|Authentic Leadership, Discussion, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership|

Emotional Intelligence is the key Leadership SkillIt was over a decade ago that a survey by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business found that Emotional Intelligence skills such as vision, building relationships and developing people are more important to leadership success than typical leadership traits, such as external/market orientation, financial acumen and planning. This continues to be the case. We have seen the evolution and popularization of programs for Self Awareness, Self Control and Empathy, (all components of Emotional Intelligence) and also Mindfulness (a practice  we teach alongside Emotional Intelligence) as part of Leadership development globally. Working with Leaders at all levels we know that knowing what Emotional Intelligence is (competencies) and becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Leader are two very different things – it takes time to be the change that true understanding brings.

A very recent survey on Leadership at Henley Management College found that “Leadership today is complex, challenging and demanding, with leaders facing ‘wicked problems’ as highlighted by Grint in 2008 – problems with ’no right answer’ and often leaders look for the ‘least worst solution’ where there is no possibility of achieving a classic ‘win-win’ outcome.” their survey also found something we have come to know; that “everything moves faster because technology ensures that there is almost instant communication and 24 hour media coverage, with coverage of leaders’ decisions and actions transmitted worldwide in minutes. This creates a new challenge where it is almost impossible for an individual leader to deal with all the strategic issues in their organisation, so leadership has to become more devolved.”

They found too that Personal leadership development is individual and cannot be forced and that Leaders need time to achieve real personal change – often months and sometimes years. We would agree with this 100% at Adeo Consulting and this is why we work with leaders over time to create insight.

Knowledge communicated and understood by a client is not the same as insight which comes when true understanding is reached with a combination of mental clarity, experience and gut knowing.

We often start a relationship with a client for a 4 month program with extends to a relationship that last for years. Change takes time and when its deep change guidance is often needed.

Its been said to me; “Don’t mention Emotions to our leaders or they will run a mile”. You can imagine the industries and old school companies where lack of emotion is perceived as an asset. Such a skewed perspective is understandable given the way our education system works. But as I often say “Emotion is just information, and this information can be used to your benefit or ignored”. One should also consider what happens if your competitors get on board and you don’t? Leadership gurus such as Bill George continue to push the value of Emotional Intelligence – “Leaders Need a High Emotional IQ to Succeed”. The high level concepts of Emotional Intelligence and the lists of potential benefits have been around since the early 1990’s even before Goleman popularised the concept in 1995. That’s over 30 years and what has happened since is a massive increase in popularity after thousands of research papers and implementation in thousands of Organisations. One of Golemans studies done at Harvard (on Leadership Competency Models) found that 80%-90% of Leadership competencies are Emotional Intelligence Competencies. As he said “the Sine Qua Non” (something absolutely indispensable or essential) of Leadership. So true.

Emotional intelligence: What it is and why you need it- World Economic Forum

2019-04-10T09:21:20+00:00March 15th, 2018|Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Mindfulness|

When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success—IQ. Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as
the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve
positive results. Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Emotional Intelligence CompetenciesPersonal competence comprises your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.
– Self-Awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen.
– Self-Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behavior.

Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives in order to respond effectively and improve the quality of your relationships.
– Social Awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on.
– Relationship Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully.

Emotional Intelligence, IQ, and Personality Are Different

Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect. There is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence; you simply can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop
high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.

Personality is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s the stable “style” that defines each of us. Personality is the result of hard-wired preferences, such as the inclination toward introversion
or extroversion. However, like IQ, personality can’t be used to predict emotional intelligence. Also like IQ, personality is stable over a lifetime and doesn’t change. IQ, emotional
intelligence, and personality each cover unique ground and help to explain what makes a person tick.

Emotional Intelligence Predicts Performance

How much of an impact does emotional intelligence have on your professional success? The short answer is: a lot! It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a
tremendous result. TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of
performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Your emotional intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills—it impacts most everything you do and say each day.Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we’ve found that 90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim. Naturally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to emotional intelligence.

You Can Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence BalanceThe communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication
between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.

Original Article Travis Bradberry for WEF.

We deliver programs to develop emotional Intelligence in Leaders, Teams and Individuals.

How Teamwork Powers Mindful and Effective Leadership

2019-04-10T09:21:20+00:00February 15th, 2018|Discussion, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Team Performance|

More effective teamwork results from a leader’s investment in their personal development of self-awareness, emotional self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

This is one of the findings from my in-depth interviews with 42 leaders exploring the role of mindfulness in strengthening their leadership capabilities. The study also included use of the Emotional and Social Competency Indicator (ESCI) model developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, and found all twelve of the leadership competencies present in the participants. Teamwork was the competency most highly referenced by the participants, who provided detailed descriptions about the value they had received from focusing on cultivating their own, and other’s capabilities to be better team members.

Teamwork is defined by cooperative rather than separate, or competitive work. It also includes working towards common objectives, and taking ownership of both positive and negative outcomes. Individuals with strength in this competency will be able to build and maintain working relationships, in addition to promoting an environment conducive to input from teammates. They will also be:

  • Supportive of other teammates or group members
  • Involved in facilitating cooperation
  • Appreciative and respectful of others’ opinions and suggestions

The leaders I interviewed linked teamwork to a variety of benefits, including greater innovation, employee autonomy, and business growth. They also reported that their improved ability to develop effective teams resulted in stronger relationships between teammates, and greater loyalty to the organization. Finally, participants credited mindfulness with helping them understand their own role in being a good team member in the context of relationships with subordinates, peers and superiors. Leaders tied these improvements to their effectiveness, directly attributing career success to the combination of greater team capabilities, and the willingness of others to help them.

How Leaders Create Cultures Conducive to Teamwork

Study participants demonstrated a working understanding of multiple leadership theories, such as Situational, Transactional, and Transformational. Their leadership behaviors, however, tended to be more reflective of the relational leadership theory and dispersed leadership approaches. Specifically, they understood the importance of being able to meet the needs of the people and groups they worked with, and realized that the definition of a good teammate may not be the same for everyone. They also knew that they, and members of their teams, may need to adapt
their behaviors in order to successfully align with the frequently changing goals of the organization.

Participants reported that investing in attentiveness to others had a powerful impact on the strength of their relationships. The HR head for a leading global manufacturing firm summarized this as “…the deepness of listening and relating to a person and helping them connect on an individual level so they feel valued and connected to you as a leader,” which he directly attributed to improved team performance. A leader with a Fortune 10 Firm also touched on the importance of being open to receiving feedback from his direct reports: “I asked for feedback and insights from the people that I work with, and therefore they felt comfortable giving it to me.”

The importance of following through on commitments to coworkers was also stressed by participants. For example, the senior legal counsel for a leading healthcare product manufacturer shared the positive impact that her previous managers’ interest in her work life balance had on their relationship. As a result, she made sure to care for her direct reports in the same way, and take on additional personal workload if necessary: “…I want to make sure that people when they’re o?, they’re truly o?…certainly something can wait or we’ll try to get something else done.”

Making certain to not be perceived by others as paying lip service to concepts such as participation, respect, and fairness was highlighted by participants. A Department Head for a major US Hospital Network illustrated this point when describing the way he interacted with a newly promoted manager on his team: “I’ve decided to allow space for her and her team to design the new model, and giving everyone space to have their own thoughts and ideas.” His comments echoed what other leaders had to say about the relationship between team performance and the leader
ensuring that each member feels valued and motivated to make continued contributions.

How to Create a Stronger Team

Leaders were consistent in expressing their belief that you need to pay careful attention to being a good teammate if you want to be a member and/or leader of a high performing team.
This includes study and refinement of team development activities, and active observation of whether or not your interactions with others make them willing to support you as a teammate. These aspects of cultivating teamwork were summarized by a participant who has held Controller and CFO roles for three leading corporations: “I’m being respectful and…really listening, really understanding where they’re coming from… and then reflecting.”

Some steps you can take to promote teamwork that were described by participants include:

  • Work with your team to agree on a formal description of a good teammate
  • Jointly design a plan to help each member become a good teammate
  • Create and maintain open feedback channels
  • Focus on a culture of improvement, aimed at learning from mistakes

It is also important to keep in mind that building trust with your teammates requires authentic and compassionate behavior on your part. This means
being available to openly discuss their fears and concerns, and working with them to find ways to manage these issues. Making a sincere e?ort to
help teammates manage stressful situations more e?ectively will also contribute to greater engagement, as will modelling the behaviors you expect
of others in the workplace.

Original Article by Matthew Lippincott (here)

Empathy Is An Essential Leadership Skill — And There’s Nothing Soft About It

2019-06-14T11:27:16+00:00January 4th, 2018|Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Motivation|

I get tired of hearing about “soft skills,” even when it’s acknowledged they are important. No less a hard-muscled body than the U.S. Army, in its Army Field Manual on Leader Development (one of the best resource on leadership I’ve ever seen) insists repeatedly that empathy is essential for competent leadership.

Why? Empathy enables you to know if the people you’re trying to reach are actually reached. It allows you to predict the effect your decisions and actions will have on core audiences and strategize accordingly. Without empathy, you can’t build a team or nurture a new generation of leaders. You will not inspire followers or elicit loyalty. Empathy is essential in negotiations and sales: it allows you to know your target’s desires and what risks they are or aren’t willing to take.

Elsewhere I’ve proposed a short list of 5 essential cognitive capacities and personality traits that every leader who assumes great responsibility must have. Empathy is one of the core five. (The others are self-awareness, trust, critical thinking and discipline/self-control.)

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s experience, perspective and feelings. Also called “vicarious introspection,” it’s commonly described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. But make sure you are assessing how they would feel in their shoes, not how you would feel in their shoes. This is the tricky part.

I remember my husband taking me cross-country skiing for the first time early in our marriage. He was sure (putting himself in my shoes) that I would love the sport as much as he did. From the minute the skis were strapped on me, I absolutely hated it. Being generally clumsy and lacking good balance, the sensation of non-stop instability was anything but fun for me—in fact, it made me miserable. My husband kept insisting I would love it if I just gave it a chance. Naturally athletic and graceful, he couldn’t imagine the experience I was having in my shoes—now strapped tightly to long slippery sticks! It took years for me to convince him that my experience on cross country skis was utterly different from his. Fortunately, I discovered the pleasure of tramping around on snowshoes. The solidity and certainty gave me a chance to enjoy winter woods while he continued to enjoy sliding around on icy snow.

Like the practice of self-awareness, empathy involves scanning large sets of data, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information. The process is not so different from what a stock analyst does when scanning the market and looking for signals, anomalies and novel patterns that jump out and make him take notice, realizing something important is going on.

There is a significant business cost when leaders lack empathy. Just ask United Airlines which earned the dishonor of having committed “one of the worst corporate gaffes” ever, according to Bloomberg’s Christopher Palmeri and Jeff Green, when a physician was dragged off a plane to empty his paid seat for an employee. It took United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, three tries before his public response showed any empathy. Munoz’s first and woefully inadequate statement, “I apologized for having to re-accommodate these customers,” seriously missed the mark in attempting to relate to his customer’s experience. In his second statement, Munoz compounded the error by blaming the victim—describing the passenger as defiant, belligerent and disruptive. Only with his third try, when Munoz said, “I promise you we will do better,” did he demonstrate an empathic understanding of his current and future customers.

Lack of empathy is a major contributor to the tsunami of sexual harassment incidents that have dominated recent news and led to the departures of accomplished leaders. Commenting on an employee’s body or, worse, grabbing her, requires a failure of empathy. If a boss were able and willing to put himself in the employee’s shoes and understand how she would feel when subjected to his actions, he would be far less likely to do what he’s doing.

Can empathy be learned? To some degree. The capacity for empathy is an innate human trait, and like all of these, there is a spectrum of strength and weakness. Some people are more naturally gifted at quickly sensing other peoples’ experience. In fact, some of my clients have to be taught to put up an “empathic wall”—too much awareness of other peoples’ feelings cripples their ability to make decisions that lead to disappointment or bad feelings.

Very successful business leaders are often extremely fast information processors. With my clients who do not “suffer fools gladly,” I recommend taking a moment to deploy a bit of empathy—what’s behind a colleague’s wish to propose what immediately looks like a dumb idea? Follow with an empathic comment along the lines of “I can see why you got excited about that because it’s an important issue, but unfortunately it would raise compliance problems so we can’t pursue that route.” A 90-second investment of time can prevent the employee’s feeling humiliated and disaffected in the long-term.

If you’re naturally low on the empathy scale, at least know you have this deficiency and that there is a cost to it. You can learn to check yourself and do what does not come naturally: before you act, school yourself to think of the people who will be affected and what your action will mean to them. And try to remember to not just recognize but care about that impact on others. You can also make sure you have a trusted advisor who fills in the gap in your skillset. That advisor must be empowered to stop you if you’re forgetting that there are other people in the world and that their feelings and agendas are not the same as yours—and that these matter.

Whatever your natural endowment for empathy, your capacity for empathy and skill at deploying it waxes and wanes with your own physical and mental state. If you’re ill or tired, it’s hard to have empathy for anyone but yourself. If you’re in the throes of creative excitement, it’s disruptive to consider the perspective of others. And that’s fine, as long as it doesn’t last too long and you know to check back in with the human beings around you.

Don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice. Sometimes you’ll suss out another’s perspective and feelings and purposefully ignore them. Or even use it to gain an advantage. Essentially empathy is a neutral data gathering tool that enables you to understand the human environment within which you are operating in business and therefore make better predictions, craft better tactics, inspire loyalty and communicate clearly.

Original Article in Forbes by Prudy Gourguechon here.

Leadership Is a Journey, Not a Destination

2019-04-10T09:21:20+00:00November 21st, 2017|Authentic Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Coaching, Leadership Development|

Conscious LeadershipEvery context requires different talents and skills, so leaders must stay deeply aware and learn to adjust themselves along the way. Whether you are a leader of today or tomorrow – and no matter your field – thinking consciously about leadership is essential, as this will affect your choices, decisions, and performance.

In my research and teaching, I spend most of my time with very senior global C-suite executives taking courses like INSEAD’s Advanced Management Programme. Yet, when we begin a deep conversation about leadership, I like to show these highly experienced executives a simple picture of pathways in the forest.

All pathways are a little bit different. You may chance upon rock, stone, sand, grass or paving. Some pathways crisscross, some split off in multiple directions. Some pathways are easy, some are hard, and some are blocked. This metaphor of forest pathways represents one of the most fundamental insights about leadership: Leadership is a journey, not a destination.

We never actually arrive at the destination of being the very best leader that we can be. We should aspire to this, but this vision is ahead of us as our journey continues. This is not a solo journey. We make pathway decisions about the people we lead, our organisations and ourselves. There may be decisions about a new career opportunity, a new country to work in, a new organisation or a new industry.

Every time we make these decisions, it sets us on a new pathway. Our leadership and career journey only has stopovers. On a pathway, we can also suddenly face disruption, like technology, or an industry-altering business model, which completely changes the way ahead.

Leadership goes well beyond VUCA

Understanding these ideas is even more important in the 21st century, a time when the leadership journey gets increasingly challenging. We are well beyond the acronym VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). We now need to add two Ds to the acronym to reflect the broader context of the journey ahead. Everyone’s leadership journey will now be in the “D-VUCAD” world. At the front, overshadowing everything, is Disruption (whether in the form of technology, social change, industry reconfiguration or the like). We continue with VUCA. Finally, we add the reality of Diversity (including gender, cross-cultural and intergenerational).

In the D-VUCAD world, your leadership journey will include more frequent pathway changes, all of which should be navigated consciously.

A key finding in my research on leadership development, is that many leaders do not think consciously and actively enough about the new pathways they are embarking on when they make leadership or career changes. They re-use the same skills, capabilities and approaches, even when these do not match the new situation.

Take the example of John Little (not his real name), a very senior operating executive I worked with in a programme. John was an exceptional leader in crisis situations. He would frequently and successfully head crisis project teams in his firm. In such situations, he appropriately used an authoritative leadership style. He was clear, precise and energising, directing the people in his team in delivering the solution.

Context really matters in Leadership

John was eventually promoted to lead a business unit responsible for operations in another country. This was a steady-state business with growth opportunities. He was entering a very different pathway, but he didn’t consciously think about it. John told me that he felt pretty good about himself at the time. He’d just gotten a big promotion based on his track record. However, with no crisis in sight, he started to create some.

He continued to use the same directive leadership approach that had made him successful in the past. Twelve months later, he received his performance feedback. The feedback from his people was very clear: “You are a micromanaging, authoritarian dictator who never listens, consults or inspires others.” His crisis style didn’t suit his new pathway.

John accepted the feedback and adjusted his approach. He garnered a first and profound insight about leadership effectiveness: In the leadership journey, context really matters. He became more consciously aware of himself, other people, the context and the purpose of his leadership.

Leaders with “insightful awareness” understand their strengths and talents, as well as what will be their weaknesses in a given context. They understand what will drive or block them at different points of their leadership journey. They set themselves development objectives and priorities accordingly. This ensures that their “personal leadership agenda” stays dynamic. It is consciously re-assessed in light of the current and future situations. They then commit to making focused and dedicated changes, with reflection, practice, support and feedback. They confront hard questions such as: “Am I the right leader for this pathway?” and “Why am I doing what I’m doing on this pathway?”

Six As for insightfully aware leadership

Insightful leaders understand that the following six As can help them navigate their leadership journey:

• Awareness – achieving profound awareness of self, others, context and purpose as their leadership grounding point, backed with a commitment to a leadership development agenda or action plan.

• Aspiration – setting a long-term vision to be the best leader they can be, and connecting this to their short-term context and leadership development agenda, reflection, coaching and feedback.

• Authenticity – developing and challenging themselves using clear self-leadership with an understanding of their personal attributes, emotional and other intelligences, their role modelling and engagement with others.

• Acumen – building personal and team capacity for leadership judgement, agility and decision making about business and people matters, as well as leveraging team diversity and talents.

• Approaches – adopting conscious leadership approaches that match organisational, team and personal capabilities with the needs of the context or situation.

• Altitudes – “flying” at three distinct leadership altitudes: 50,000 feet (vision, strategic, external and organisational); 50 feet (execution, operational, teams and stakeholders); and 5 feet (self and very close personal relations with others). Thinking, acting and communicating seamlessly up and down, without getting trapped at any one altitude*.

In the D-VUCAD world, building on these As allows insightful leaders to harness the specific capabilities their teams, their organisations, their context and they themselves need.

These capabilities might include a combination of: Competitiveness (e.g. goal setting and technical skills); Creativity (e.g. innovation and curiosity); Collaboration (e.g. teaming and engagement); Control (e.g. planning and risk mitigation); Cognitions (utilising different kinds of thinking capacities and multiple perspectives); and effective Communication (intrapersonal, interpersonal, group and public).

Capabilities are not emphasised blindly. Insightfully aware leaders emphasise the capabilities required to achieve specific strategic or operational outcomes at the time or in the future. This is how they succeed on the pathway. For example, a leader in a critical operations role might emphasise control capabilities like implementation and risk management. Meanwhile, a leader developing innovative products or services might emphasise more creative capabilities such as brainstorming or ideation.

Our unconscious is filled with drivers and blockers. The key is to reflect on our leadership consciously, and in context. Every leader’s journey is a personal one – with opportunities to seize and problems to face. Assess your passions, your motivations, your talents and your skills. Match these to the pathways ahead and adjust where needed. Always be “insightfully aware” as you challenge yourself to be the best leader you can be in the journey stages that you are sharing with others.

Original Article by Professor Ian C. Woodward, INSEAD here