Posts Tagged ‘EQ’

When Emotion Gets in The Way

September 3rd, 2015






Photo July 2015 Newsletter

I learn my lessons the hard way. Twice in my career (maybe twice is good?), I let my ego and arrogance get in the way of being a good leader and supporter of my team.  Over 35 years ago, a consultant interviewed my team of twenty.  He gently pointed out that my emotional impulses were poisoning my team much like the article we refer to in this newsletter states.  Yes, I painfully learned my lesson and made changes to improve my awareness of myself and others.

In spite of what I learned, about 15 years ago, I found myself in the same spot.  Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad.  Today, at age 70, I am still working to avoid the poisons and improve my awareness.

From Harvard Business Review come these great tips on what NOT to do regarding emotions at work:

1. Forget your emotional intelligence (EI) and let your amygdala do the talking: Act on feelings and impulses, and don’t filter what you signal, say or do. Don’t let pesky things like social constraints or norms get in the way. Get really pissed off—and stay that way—when someone gets more than you do. Stereotype people who are different from you. Say what’s on your mind then excuse your behavior by telling people that you’re just honest and transparent, which maybe you are, but you’re also just being mean, and if it’s your direct reports, you’re bullying. Unfortunately, given the stress that people deal with at work today, an awful lot of people are walking around in a permanent state of amygdala hijack.

2.  Stick to your guns: Awful phrase. How about “My way or the highway?” Same idea. If you want to ruin a team, be rigid, single minded, and obsessive about your goals or how to get things done.

3. See the glass half-empty: If you want to mess with people’s minds and kill a team’s spirit, focus on everything that could go wrong. Scare people. Be cynical. Emotions are contagious; and negative emotions and the cynicism and biting humor that go with them kill the trust, creativity, enthusiasm, and happiness that are so important to group success.

4. Truly don’t care about people: I once worked with an executive who was, in fact, blowing up his teams­—and his family. He was at risk of losing the prize at work—the CEO job he’d been promised because he got results. The leaders of this company had, thankfully, figured it out. That this guy got results at the expense of every person and team he touched. Naturally, these results weren’t sustainable. When I asked him why he did this, he told me straight out: “I don’t care about those people.” “Really?” I asked. Underneath this total lack of empathy was a profound belief that his goals, and his way of accomplishing them, were more important. And he was smarter, so what those other people needed—well, it just didn’t matter. It wasn’t until he realized that he was blowing up his family—his wife was about to leave him and his kids had given up asking him to do things with them—that he understood why he was ruining every group and ultimately every part of the business he touched.

5. Don’t think too much—especially about your motives and feelings: Lack of self-awareness, whether conscious or not, is at the heart of pretty much all of the bad behavior I’ve seen in teams. Take the executive I mentioned above. When we really got down to it, the reason he was blowing everybody up was because he was scared. So, he got them before they could get him at work. And at home, he was scared of intimacy. Yes, he loved his wife and kids. But he just wasn’t ready for real intimacy—so he kept them all at bay.

How Good Is Your Boss’ Emotional Intelligence?

May 1st, 2015

Emotional intelligence is about being able to understand your and others’ interior lives and how your actions and environments affect them.  Believe it or not, those above the middle management level don’t always score so high on their emotional intelligence. Travis Bradbury, author and co-founder of TalentSmart, analyzed the score profiles of more than a million people, working across industries on six continents. Middle managers stand out with the highest emotional intelligence (EQ) scores in the workplace.

Companies have a clear tendency to promote people into front-line supervisory and then middle management positions because they’re good with people. They assume that a manager with high EQ is someone that people will want to work for.  Interestingly, emotional intelligence scores decline precipitously as you move above middle management, with CEOs having the lowest EQs in the workplace, on average.

Here, Bradbury writes for Forbes and offers up some of his favorite EQ-boosting strategies below.

These tips apply to anyone, even if you’re not a leader.
Acknowledge Other People’s Feelings
Assertive, action-oriented executives don’t exactly ignore other people’s feelings. What they tend to do instead is to marginalize them or “fix” them so that they don’t get in the way of action. While some have suggested that this is a predominantly male problem, it can more accurately be described as a “power problem.” People who fail to acknowledge other people’s feelings fail to realize that lingering emotions inhibit effective action. So the next time you notice someone on your team expressing a strong emotion, ask him or her about it. Then listen intently and play back what you have just heard in summary form. By validating their emotions, you’ll help them feel understood so that they can move forward without hindrance.

When You Care, Show It
Good leaders always notice when people on their teams are doing good work, but they don’t often show it. When you appreciate something that another person does, let him or her know about it. Even a quick email or pat on the back goes a long way in this regard. There are people who do great work around you every day. Don’t put off letting them know how you feel about it. Your praise will build fierce loyalty and inspire your people to work even harder.

Watch Your Emotions Like A Hawk
You may think you have a world-class poker face, but if you’re like the average executive, your weakest self-awareness skills are “understanding how your emotions impact others” and “recognizing the role you have played in creating difficult circumstances.” In other words, you would become a much more effective leader if you obtained a better understanding of what you feel, when you feel it. Practice this by taking notice of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors just as a situation unfolds. The goal is to slow yourself down and take in all that is in front of you, so that you can understand how your emotions influence your behavior and alter your perception of reality.

I can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and improving your relationships. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation also raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. The pressure that leaders are under often makes them feel as if they don’t have time to sleep, but not taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.

Quash Negative Self-Talk
A big step in developing emotional intelligence involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity. When it feels like something “always” or “never” happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.

Now, somewhat contrary to what the article says, I know many CEO’s with high emotional intelligence.  I guess that is because they know enough to bring us in to help with the development of their people and themselves.

For those of you who’d like to check out your own EQ levels, we offer you a free Emotional Quotient™ 3 from Target Training International. (Please limit one per person.) This is of course just one example of the many developmental assessments RCG offers.