Author Archive

Does your boss have empathy?

Article submitted by guest author Harvey Deutschendorf

3 levels of empathy…which one does your boss have?

Fiona was Corrie’s manager at a branch of a large financial institution that had branches across the U.S. Europe and Asia. They had recently come up with a new process that

Fiona was hoping that the organization would adopt throughout their operations. As Corrie was instrumental in developing the process and was a recognized expert in her branch on the topic, Fiona decided she would be the natural choice to present to the annual meeting of the U.S. division. While Corrie was very knowledgeable, she was somewhat of an introvert and not comfortable speaking to large numbers of people. The annual meeting would have up to 400 employees from various levels from all across the country. She meets with Fiona and discusses her concerns and anxieties concerning the presentation with her.

Corrie: “I’m not really good with talking to a lot of people. I get really nervous and have trouble concentrating on what I have to say. I wish someone else could do the presentation.” Below are 3 examples of how Fiona could have responded, indicating 3 levels of empathy:

Level 1

Fiona: “You’ll do fine. There’s nothing to it. You know this stuff better than anyone else around here.”

In this response Fiona showed a complete lack of empathy. She failed to even acknowledge Corrie’s anxiety over the presentation which would be the first basic step towards working towards a solution with her. Instead she dismissed Corrie’s feelings entirely leaving Corrie even more anxious and feeling completely unsupported and misunderstood. It has been reported that public speaking is one of the greatest fears that people have, even greater than dying. Jerry Seinfeld joked that at a funeral most people would sooner be in the casket than have to give the eulogy. Fiona should have been aware that Corrie’s fear was very real and normal. Corrie was an excellent employee who was not known for coming up with excuses and trivial complaints, therefore Fiona should have taken her concerns much more seriously.

Level 2

Fiona: “Lots of people have a fear of public speaking. I used to until I went to Toastmasters. Now I’m okay, even though I get a little nervous. There’s nothing wrong with being a little nervous. You know your stuff well, so you’ll be okay. “

In the second response Fiona at least acknowledged Corrie’s anxiety. She did not address it, however, only speaking about it in general terms and talking about her own experience. She did not invite Corrie to help her look for ways to lesson her anxiety. As a result Corrie still feels that her concerns were not taken seriously and addressed in a caring manner.

Level 3

Fiona: “Sounds like you are feeling really stressed over the thought of having to do this presentation.”

Corrie: “Yeah, I get knots in my stomach and tongue tied when I have to talk in front of a group of people.”

Fiona: I remember feeling like that up to a couple of years ago whenever I had to present something. Since I started going to toastmasters a couple of years ago I’ve been able to lose a lot of my anxiety, although I still get a bit nervous. Have you ever considered going to something like toastmaster? It really helped me.”

Corrie: “I probably should. I’ve heard good things about it. A friend of mine has been with them for 5 years and always wants to take me as a guest. This presentation is only a couple of weeks away and toastmaster won’t help me this time.”

Fiona: “Is there anything I or anybody else on the team could do to help. Would it help if you did a trial run at our unit meeting this Thursday? You don’t have any problems talking to our group and it might help you feel more confident. If you want I can set up a meeting with Garret in Communications. I hear that he has some good exercises that you could work on that might take off some of that anxiety load that you’re carrying. If you want more practice I can talk to the folks in unit C about doing a trial run of your presentation at their unit meeting next Thursday. You know all of them pretty well and the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become. That’s the way it’s always worked for me anyways.”

Corrie: “Sure, I’ll give it a try. Maybe once I’ve done it a few times in front of people I know I’ll feel better.”

In this instance Fiona showed good empathic listening skills. She responded directly in a caring manner that indicated that she understood where Corrie was coming from. Corrie felt that she was heard, understood and cared about. Having been in Corrie’s shoes, she used this to build trust and understanding towards working towards a solution that they both could live with. She explored with Corrie some ideas that she had that might help her get the fear monkey off her back, or at least lighten his weight. It would have been better if Fiona had let Corrie come up with her own solutions to her anxiety. In this case, Fiona felt that Corrie’s anxiety would limit anything she could come up with on her own. Besides, time was running out and they did not have the luxury of a long term plan. Overall it was a great example of the effective use of empathy. Chances are Corrie will become more confident and will do a good job in the presentation. She knows she had the support of her boss and coworkers and her relationship with Fiona will become stronger. If things go well, she will come away feeling more self- confident. She may also feel grateful to Fiona for believing in her enough to not take the easy way out and give the presentation to one of her coworkers.

Using social intelligence to keep employees engaged

https://comicvine.gamespot.com

Article contributed by Amy Sargent

You hear a lot about emotional intelligence these days, but what do you know about social intelligence? Social intelligence is the ability to be aware of how others are feeling, in the moment, and manage your behavior in a way that nourishes the relationship. Social intelligence is two-fold: 1-social awareness and 2-relationship management.

Social awareness comes in the form of empathy, situational insight, and having a heart to serve others, all qualities within ourselves we can develop with the help of assessments to establish self-awareness, good coaching, and old fashioned practice-makes-perfect. Learning to put yourself in other’s shoes, picking up on social cues, and doing kind things for others–like buying that box of doughnuts on National Doughnut Day–are skills you can push yourself to embrace and improve upon. Managing relationships can be a little tougher. Whenever people are involved, it’s suddenly no longer just about us (the part we have jurisdiction over). As much as we’d like to, we just can’t control what others do. But what we can do is focus on our behavior that can help elicit a desirable response from others.

Learning others–who they are, what they are motivated by, where they’ve come from, where they want to go–is a skill that gives us insight into how to manage our relationships toward positive connections. It’s especially important in leadership as we aspire to steer and guide our teams. In order to motivate and inspire employees to reach company objectives and goals, we have to know what makes them ‘tick’. And it’s not a one-size-fits-all formula. While doughnuts may do the trick for some, others want you to show an interest in their personal life, remembering their birthday and their kids’ names, while others are simply motivated by a raise. Each person comes with their own unique set of history, schema, personality, and skill sets, and discovering what those are with each team member can take a lot of effort — and time.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” –Anne Mulcahy

Statistics show that it may be worth the effort. In a study done by Dale Carnegie Training, they found that $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover. Companies with engaged employees outperform those who don’t by 202%. And the shocking reality check: 71% of all employees are not fully engaged.(www.dalecarnegie.com/employee-engagement)

The good news is that relationship management skills can be learned and improved. After an insightful self-assessment into your social + emotional intelligence, teaming up with a certified social + emotional intelligence coach can help you begin to make shifts in these vital areas of relationship health:

  • Communication
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Powerful influencing skills
  • Conflict management
  • Inspirational leadership
  • Catalyzing change
  • Building bonds
  • Teamwork & collaboration
  • Coaching & mentoring others
  • Building trust

Learning to develop a keen sense of awareness for others’ feelings, needs and concerns, and responding accordingly, can be a great factor toward the success of your endeavors.

“Connect the dots between individual(s) and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity, and meaning in their job.” –Ken Blanchard

We all know what happens when there is poor integration of your work with the rest of your life

Article submitted by guest author John Drury

Your busy life is hurting you more than you know

In 1988 I traveled to Philippines and India for the first time. I was part of a small team and we were away from home for 3 weeks. It was a busy trip working in community development and leadership training in both countries. In Manila I managed to get a telephone call through to Australia at the local Post Office and spoke to my family. I cost me AUD$36 to make the 3 minute call. In India I lined up at the one public telephone with international access for an hour. However, when it was my turn I could not get through to Sydney which was very frustrating.

So much has changed since that time. We expect to communicate with loved ones every day from anywhere in the world. Not just by email or phone calls but also by posting pictures and making a video call on Facebook….for as long as we want and for free as long as we have WiFi access.

There are many benefits of technology for which I am extremely grateful. I would not want to go back to 1988. The challenge is that we expect so much more to happen quickly each and every day. Life for business people and other high achievers has become full of amazing opportunities. However the cost is we are moving at such a fast pace and are always crazy busy. Many of us are probably addicted to being busy or at least the adrenaline rush that comes from having to hit deadlines and make things happen every day. This lifestyle is causing all kinds of unwanted effects such as poor sleep, stress, and various levels of anxiety and depression. In our very connected digital world we are often less intimately connected with those who are closest to us. Many have forgotten how to relax, replenish and simply be.

Poor integration of work with life often leads to self-sabotage

Work can be a good thing that provides structure and purpose to life. However, most of us are working longer than required. For business owners and corporate executives work rarely stops. Smart phones and the global economy means we are connected to work 24/7. We struggle to take time off without checking emails or thinking through work problems. Juggling never ending work demands plus the increased aspirations of life has combined to provide a life that never stops. NYC (the city that never sleeps) has become a metaphor for life for many people.  This can be exciting but it is also exhausting and draining. We like to believe we have everything under control. The truth is we don’t. More and more people are struggling to have healthy ‘work-life balance’. More and more people are sabotaging their lifestyle with poor habits, new relationships, restlessness, poor health, absent parenting, consumerism, emotional burnout, escapism, addictions and mental health issues.

Integration is a much better idea than ‘balance’

I have written in other places why I believe work-life balance is a myth. It does not work. It never has for passionate high achievers who want to make their mark on the world. Passion ruins balance. It is up to us to learn how to integrate our work with all that is important in our life.

Integration does not just happen

I have recently written a book called, “INTEGRATE – Why work-life balance is a myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle.” I look at some of the causes and results of a scattered lifestyle, and then provide some answers to how anyone can integrate their work with all that is important in their life. When we are busy and scattered our lack of perspective makes it difficult for us to  make good choices about life. There is a need to learn effective self-leadership strategies that enable us to start the process of integration for all the parts of our lives.

For me this is personal. I lost my way in a busy people serving role in which I forgot how to look after myself. My journey back from a painful burnout experience took several years and was way too costly in terms of family and relationships. I had to rediscover the elusive quality of self-respect. I had to really work on myself and learn to know and like myself again. Self-respect led to renewed self-care strategies and then to better self-management.

I wrote INTEGRATE because I wanted to share what I have learned. My wife and I are both passionate and hard working people. We both run businesses. We enjoy the results of hard work. What we have learned and put into practice over 6 years are self-care strategies that enable us to always have energy for the high impact times in our lives. We take regular breaks. We set goals and make plans across our whole life, not just for our businesses. We know the parameters or boundaries of our world and have effective plans in place to make sure we do most things very well.

Anyone can do this

We live a life of healthy integration of all that is important to us. And my conviction is that anyone can do this. You can be successful in business AND build a great lifestyle for yourself and your family. Success in one area of your life does not have to mean your health or your marriage or your children or your wider family relationships have to suffer.

Free Webinar: How to Coach Social + Emotional Intelligence

Free Webinar:  How to Coach Social + Emotional Intelligence

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

1-2pm Eastern Time

This FREE online class (delivered via webinar) is designed to give you an overview of social and emotional intelligence, its history, and its impact on individual lives, relationships, and employee engagement.  We’ll show you how coaches are expanding their practice and helping their clients build stronger companies with social and emotional intelligence and how HR reps are bringing social and emotional intelligence into the workplace.  It’s a preview look at what you will learn in our online Coach Certification Courses.The first 20 people who register and attend this online class will receive a FREE Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile®, to begin your own journey down the path of social and emotional intelligence.

  • Grow your business; attract more clients
  • Stake out a new niche
  • Expand your coaching expertise skills and knowledge

“Leaders with higher social & emotional intelligence produce more powerful business results and greater profitability.”  –Steven Stein in Emotional Intelligence of Leaders: A Profile of Top Executives, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 2009

As a coach, leader, or HR rep, you can positively change a person or an organization’s culture by improving their social and emotional intelligence. And the beautiful thing is that social and emotional intelligence can be learned! Through the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence (ISEI)®, you will learn how to use and effectively administer the Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile (SEIP)® to help clients.

  • Become more aware of their impact on the people around them
  • Learn to manage their emotions — anger and frustration — more productively
  • Manage conflict more effectively
  • Develop people skills (including communication and interpersonal skills)
  • Learn techniques to build trust in the organization and its leadership

REGISTER HERE: http://isei.iobisystems.com/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=67119&_ga=2.193457704.404865154.1494519730-1520746144.1493144041

 

Who’s the problem?

Article contributed by Amy Sargent

Think of all the negative issues that can arise in a typical workplace.  A peer takes credit for your work. Your manager has an over-inflated ego. Your subordinates don’t work as hard as you. Your boss can’t control his temper.  A colleague drops the ball.  A customer backs out of a contract. No one notices when you go above and beyond.  You don’t get enough vacation time. You’re underpaid, overworked, and understaffed…to name a few. If you’re like most of us, you’re quick to point the finger at the culprit, and most often that finger is pointing away. But what if you — we — are the source of our frustrations?

“Think about how different your work environment would look if everyone understood and embraced ultimate responsibility.” — David Naylor, EVP of 2logical

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and manage our behavior appropriately. It’s not about getting others to behave better.  It’s about learning how to  recognize our emotions and manage OUR OWN actions in a way that most benefits the situation at hand.  But how often do you see people focusing on their own behavior?  It’s so much easier to bad mouth or lay the blame on those around us when things aren’t going so well.

In this terrific article by David Naylor below, we’re called to view our conflict in life with a different lens. Have a read!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/05/17/if-theres-a-problem-youre-the-problem/#5f182eff668b

July Coach Certification Course

Coach Certification Course

Thursdays, July 13 – August 31st

3-4:30pm Eastern Time

All classes are online!

Register now to secure a seat in our July Coach Certification Course! You’ll receive 12 hours of online certification in social and emotional intelligence coaching, and earn 12 recertification credits from the ICF, HRCI, or SHRM while you’re at it. Register or learn more at: https://lnkd.in/eqNbZ3p

Summer: A time of refreshing

Article contributed by Amy Sargent.

Stress. A quick Google search tells us stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”  I don’t know about you, but May can bring with its flowers a multitude of demanding circumstances.  It’s a month of must-do’s, especially if you have school-aged children.  ‘Tis the season for the ‘final final’ of every club, activity, sport, and academic arena that your child has ever participated in, and though they are all wonderful things, just looking at your calendar for the month ahead can cause a state of mental strain!  And this comes after long, demanding days at the office. It’s enough to wear even the strongest down.

If you were to self-assess in this very moment how stressed you are, how would you rate?

If you’d like a little help in determining your stress levels, consider taking this short quiz from Psych Central (psychcentral.com):

https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/stress-test.htm

Emotional and mental tension from life’s demands can take its toll on our mental and physical health and contribute to many health issues. This article from the Mayo Clinic cites these negative symptoms of stress:

On your body:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

On your mood:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression
Many of us have fond memories of summer break.  No school, sleeping in, running barefoot, catching lightning bugs, throwing water balloons, sipping lemonade, swimming, picnicking, camping — all wonderful earmarks of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. It was a time of refreshing between the demands of the school semesters. When we were kids, my brothers and I would play hide-and-go-seek until it was too dark to see where we were running.  I remember the exhilarating feeling of sprinting back to the old ash tree just steps ahead of my chasing brothers, tangled hair flying as my swift, grass-stained feet carried me to the safety of base.  Even if your summers were spent indoors, or taking a summer class, or working at your first job, the season still usually signifies a refreshing break in the routine, a change of pace. But how often do we get that time of refreshing in our adult lives? Seasons come and go and we plod on, day in and day out, consistently meeting demands and solving problems with no respite, leaving us exhausted.

Changing up your schedule to spend time to do things you enjoy is a valuable way to combat stress. The obvious thing to do is to take some time off work and go on vacation. But many can’t afford to take the time off, or have the funds to do so.  Yet they need a break as much as the next person! Look how Maya Angelou celebrated author, poet, and historian so succinctly states it:

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

Here, here!  We all probably agree, but how do withdraw if time and funds are a constraint? It’s really quite simple.  For the moment, put aside your visions of lavishly escaping to a tropical island in the South Pacific, and just daydream for a moment about things do you like to do when you have some free time. Maybe it’s just taking a walk at lunch. Or riding your bike. Maybe you like to fish. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite tunes, or shooting basketball, reading a book, or going on a jog.  Maybe your thing is to meet a dear friend for coffee. Or visit a museum, or browse your favorite clothing store. You may be one who likes to hike, or binge-watch your favorite show or … take a nap!

I have found that I have to escape city life from time to time to find my place of refreshment. I keep my tent and camping gear tucked neatly away in the trunk of my car, so that at a moment’s notice (i.e., 5:01 pm on a Friday afternoon), I can hop in my car and take a short drive out of town to find a scenic spot to set up camp. For me, something about physically removing myself from the city and escaping to the mountains instantly renews my sense of excitement and wonder. Add to that breathing in the crisp, clean mountain air, feasting my eyes on greens and blues (green trees, green grass, blue skies, blue waters), and turning off my cell phone! gives my soul the peace it longs for.

Whatever it is that suits your fancy, make sure it’s something that you truly enjoy and has nothing to do with your day to day routine that leaves you drained. But you’ll find that the most difficult part of refreshing is not determining what to do, but when.  It’s easy to decide that activities that serve no purpose other than fun aren’t as important as our day-to-day work demands that shout so loudly, and just push the fun stuff aside. You’re going to have to make a commitment to fun. Maybe you can carve out a new morning routine before the commute. Maybe you can find some time at lunch to have some down time. Maybe one evening a week you can leave the office right at 5 pm and go play. Or take a half day on the weekend and commit to spending that time doing something you love.  Though fun may not seem as vital as work, truth is, we need both.

There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” — Alan Cohen

When is the last time you did something just because it was fun? And if it’s been way too long, how are your stress levels? Our souls need refreshing and it’s important we figure out how to provide this form of self-care for ourselves. As summer approaches, try to carve out some time for fun. Your body and soul will thank you for it!

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” — Roald Dahl

7 ways to make others avoid you at networking events

Article contributed by Amy Sargent

You know the drill. You don your best business attire, turn on your extroverted switch, write your name and company on the name tag with bold letters, then stride in with your head held high offering a firm but not-too-firm handshake, fully expecting the others to notice your confidence and professionalism as you enter the room. Despite your careful preparations, though, be ready: Most won’t. (Find out why in #3 below).

If you’ve ever attended a professional networking event, either by choice or because your company sends you, you can’t deny that though you claim you’re there to ‘just meet new people’, secretly you hope to come away with a few business leads. I mean, that’s the whole point. Establishing new business connections is a tried and true way to promote your business to people that your current marketing strategies may not be reaching. And while some people are great at networking with others, some, well, just aren’t, and those that aren’t are often the reason you find yourself glancing at the clock once too often and looking for the first opportunity to dash out the door to freedom (once you’ve used up your two free drink tickets of course).

The ability to connect with others, demonstrating compassion, sensitivity, and a true interest in their interests, is a rare skill and a valuable component of emotional intelligence. Those that are good at it can put others at ease, build rapport, and seem to attract new friends/contacts/clients without much effort. Truth is, they have most likely put a lot of effort into becoming more self-aware and ‘other-aware’ — tuning into the wants, needs, and desires of the person across from them and responding accordingly. Those that lack interpersonal effectiveness tend to come across as selfish, arrogant, or a little ‘rough on the edges.’ Have you ever met any of the latter at a networking event?

Here are 7 ways you can make others want to avoid you at your next networking venue:

  1. Tell others how great your company/product is before they ask. As soon as the introductions are over, be the first one to start talking about how great your company and products are and how everyone within earshot desperately needs what you sell/do, before you’ve even assessed if those in the conversation are interested or not. Be sure to use the phrase “you should” often.
  2. Don’t look people in the eyes while you’re talking. Be sure to look ‘out there’ as you talk, as if your inspiration is coming from some far-away land of enchantment. If you look people in the eyes, you might notice they aren’t listening and you’d have to adjust…yikes! In fact, just avoid eye contact in all circumstances.
  3. Don’t ask questions. A great way to make people want to avoid you is to only talk about yourself and your company, and never ask them questions about theirs. Remember, what you have to say is far more important than what they possibly could come up with, and this event is all about marketing yourself, right? If you express a genuine interest in them, they might start telling you about what they do, and you don’t want that!
  4. When others begin to share, don’t pay attention. Get out your phone, send a quick text, glance at those around you, check out the attractive person by the food table, and by all means be thinking about what you’re going to say next. Don’t nod as they speak and never, ever ask them for more details so you can better understand what they do. If it seems like they’re going to talk for more than 5 minutes, excuse yourself to go get that second drink.
  5. Bore them with details. It’s best you dive quickly and deeply into the intricate details of how your company was formed, why it was formed, the levels of training you’ve received, how many clients you have and the names of all of your branch office locations. Use a lot of acronyms. Tell them about the day when your wifi crashed and how you had to call the IT team and work with them for hours on the phone to get things resolved, making sure to share the ins and outs of the support call. Don’t check in during your stories to see if people are interested and/or listening. Just keep talking! Remember everyone in your conversation circle came to the event just to hear about you. A good rule of thumb: Talk for 20+ minutes at a time without pausing or allowing others to chime in.
  6. Brag! Tell others about every accomplishment for which you’ve been awarded, how far-reaching your clientele base is, how many times you’ve been published in the newspaper and featured on the local news. Tell them how your product is far better than anything your competitors produce be sure to throw out little masked insults toward other companies so they know that yours is superior
  7. Only talk about your work. Don’t try to get to know people on a personal level first and don’t share any personal details about who you are (vs. what you do). If you ask about their families, or what they do in their spare time, or if they love what they do, or if they are currently struggling through any personal issues, you might start to connect with them on a human level. And don’t try to find things outside of work that you have in common, whether it be a shared interest in a sport, or a musical group, or a favorite vacation destination. Remember that connecting to people on a personal level might require a relationship rather than just being able to hand them your business card and be done with them.

A lack of self-awareness and other awareness can go a long way — at least make people go a long way — away from you! Approaching your next networking event as an opportunity to truly get to know others instead of it being all about you may be a good place to start. Tune in next time to how you’re coming across and if possible, start making some shifts toward a more emotionally-intelligent approach for more successful business connections.

“Treat each event you attend and each person that you meet as if it were an appointment with your one of your best clients — even if you are meeting that person for the very first time.” –Timothy M. Houston

Showcasing Emotional Intelligence on your Resume

Article contributed by guest author Patricia Edwards

Show ’em your Career Smarts…emotional intelligence that is

Show 'em your Emotional Intelligence

Unless you are alone and counting beans in a cave, the ability to understand yourself and others, communicate and influence others are all critical skills and abilities of career success. With increased emphasis on collaboration and diversity, EI is becoming even more important  and companies are hiring with those attributes in mind.

What is EI?

EI is generally defined as a person’s ability to understand and manage his/her own thoughts and emotions as well having insight into others and responding in such a way to influence outcomes.  Generally speaking, the higher levels of EI you have, the more easily you can sell your ideas to others, resolve conflict, inspire and lead teams in complex and ever changing work environments.

How can I present my EI in my resume?

Start with the job posting or job description.  If it requires interpersonal communication skills, ability to work with a team or manage other people, you have a competitive edge if you can showcase those abilities on the resume.  Simply saying “I have high emotional intelligence” is not enough and may, in fact, create question since two dimensions of EI are “reality testing and self regard”.  Rather than list communications as a strength, list examples of how you:

  • overcame objections to influence a decision
  • communicated a controversial message with positive consequences
  • increased sales team effectiveness
  • improved patient satisfaction scores
  • resolved conflict between two opposing business units

Do you control your own emotions well under stress?  Highlighting that much needed ability can be accomplished by describing how you have responded well to emotionally stressful situations:

  • have you been able to manage conflicting priorities and assignments?
  • have you met demanding deadlines?
  • were you able to exceed a difficult sales quota?

Have others told you that you are insightful and read others’ emotions well?  Describe specific circumstances in your career when you used that ability.  For example:

  • if assigned to improve a process, you may have designed questions and facilitated focus groups to solicit ideas from people most impacted
  • if involved in a merger of two business groups, you may have conducted a needs assessment to gain concensus before pursuing any change

When showcasing your EI, be mindful of the position and work environment.  Customer service, sales, human resources, medical delivery, or research all have industry specific responsibilities.  Conflict resolution might look different in different work settings; however, if you have ever managed a team of employees or were responsible for firing someone, you can certainly speak to your emotional intelligence competence.

Remember:  specificity speaks louder than generality.  Your resume can briefly explain the situation and provide the hiring manager with good discussion starters for the interview.  Be sure to be prepared with details to expand upon your top three EI traits.  You will make a very favorable impression during the interview.

Speaking of interviews…

Most companies ask behavioral interview questions to determine how candidates might fit into the organization.  Many organizations also use EI interview questions to hire and promote.  The questions answer:

  • stress – what are your hot buttons
  • how you relate in conflict situations
  • what motivates you to do your best
  • how you define your own work success

Not just for Execs

Lest you think this is only used for manager positions, this type of screening and interviewing is common in healthcare, customer service and sales, financial services and most other professions. Here’s an example.  A leading collection agency uses EI interview questions to determine candidates’ levels of optimism and self esteem.  It turns out that the perfect candidate for this company possess fairly  low optimism and very high self esteem.

How can you measure your high EI?

Options include online EI assessments or working with someone certified to report out detailed findings and work with you toward a customized development plan.

Want to learn more about emotional intelligence and your job search or career success?  I help professionals and executives get hired by designing strategic job searches. Contact me at Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com or tweet me @CareerSmartz.

Taking Leadership To Heart – Success Stories

Article contributed by guest author Dawn Cook.

From Dawn’s blog at DaybreakEQ.com…

This month’s featured leader in the Taking Leadership to Heart series is Eric Adams, Senior Manager -Business Operations for Verizon Wireless.  As we look at his leadership style, you will see there are some commonalities with the others leaders who employ emotional intelligence – the first of which is transparency.  When I asked Eric about emotional intelligence, this was his response.

I haven’t always had emotional intelligence.  For example, when I moved to the south, I discovered people talk more slowly here.  I was impatient and anxious for them to get to the point.  I would interrupt and look at my phone with impatience.  Then I took an emotional intelligence class and had an aha moment. I quickly realized that was not the way to do business here and that I needed to listen with an open mind.  You must also assume the other person is not going to change which means you must adapt.  I also cue into others’ nonverbals and tone.  Body language tells you a lot.  It helps you recognize others emotions.

Adaptability is a key emotional intelligence skill and without it we become irrelevant (think ‘Who Moved My Cheese’) or at the very least we appear obstinate.  Adapting your style to the environment means using your social awareness to recognize you aren’t connecting the dots, using your selfawareness to see how you are missing the target, and using your selfmanagement to make the necessary adjustments.  Instead of letting your ego or pride rule your actions, you make full use of your brain.

Listening without judgment is part of empathetic listening – also a critical emotional intelligence skill.  So often we are driven to jump to judgment so we can apply a quick solution.  Unfortunately, that solution may solve the wrong issue, or worse yet, create a new issue.  To really be present and listen without judging requires selfawareness and selfmanagement.  We must recognize that we are making a judgment before we can suspend it.  And we have to wrestle with the emotions that support our need to be right over our desire to listen with an open mind.

Eric initiated a Behavior-Based Document which outlines how he expects his team to behave.  For example, think before you respond is a requirement for communication style, as is walking away instead of engaging in destructive conversation. This is classic impulse management and so valuable.  Taking even a moment to pause and think before reacting to a trigger enables you to get a grip on the emotion that is tempting you to react.  In that moment, you can coax your logical brain to re-engage and overrule your emotional brain which is trying to take over.  And walking away is a great strategy because it gives your emotional brain time to settle down and allows the logical brain to come back online.

Neuroscience has proven time and time again that emotions drive behavior which drives performance.  Plus, it’s well documented that an employee who feels valued is more engaged and productive than one who is not.  Eric capitalizes on these facts by making recognition a cornerstone of his leadership.  He implemented a program where he sends an email to all his customers with an organizational chart and asks them for input on his team.  He then uses that feedback as the basis for rewarding team members who are performing well.  The especially cool part of this program is that the team member who wins gets to see exactly what customers say about them – and all their colleagues see it as well.  Not only does it create a sense of pride for the winner, but a sense of appreciation from customers and colleagues as well.

Effectively managing relationship landmines is a skill most of us aspire to have, but few people do.  Eric is one of those few.  Last year Eric was promoted to a leadership position in IT over one of his peers who was up for the role.  More interesting is the fact that Eric did not have a background in IT and his peer did.  This was a delicate situation, one ripe with the possibility for animosity.  Eric’s approach was to address it head on and be transparent.  He acknowledged his peer may have some reticence or even resentment to working for Eric and assured him he understood that.  He also impressed upon his peer (now direct report) that he was there to support him, learn from him, and help him succeed.  Eric worked to help restore that team member’s confidence and he was eventually elevated back to a lead role at a similar level.

Turnover is typically an easy way to measure employee engagement, a standard success metric for many organizations.   Eric has had zero turnover on his team from people leaving because of his leadership.  However, Verizon did have a reduction in force and reorganization which resulted in losing 30% of his staff due to layoffs and promotions.  The motto was ‘do more with less’.  Eric knew it was critically important to keep a close eye on his team members to see how they were feeling.  His efforts to continually check in with them and show genuine concern about their well-being resulted in the team rallying and keeping production relatively the same.  That’s no small task!

Here is an example of how Eric builds loyalty and keeps turnover down.  A team member worked until 9 pm a few nights putting out fires.  When he learned this, he told her to go home, work from home the next day for a couple of hours and take the afternoon off so she could enjoy a long weekend.  With that gesture, Eric made it very clear to her that he cared about her as a person, not just as an employee.

Eric doesn’t just check in with his team when there are challenges; he believes that day to day conversations like ‘how was your weekend’ are the key to building a good team.  Maintaining high visibility and high accessibility are two more cornerstones of his leadership.  His door is always open and he is constantly texting, calling or IMing his people to see how they are. He serves as a sounding board.  It’s not about micromanaging either.  Eric trusts his team to do the job.  He believes in empowering them and is hands off until he needs to be hands on.  In return, they trust him completely.

His direct reports will tell you that Eric is big on personal development for his team.  He brings in guest speakers on topics like emotional intelligence and personality styles and he encourages continuing education for self-improvement.  They also feel like he supports them.  One person shared this example.

Not long after I started reporting to Eric, I was called out by the Region Vice President (Eric’s boss) for an issue in a store.  The RVP was so angry that he questioned whether it was the right move to put me in the role.  The conversation was completely demoralizing.  I went to Eric and asked him to reassure the RVP I was competent.  Eric was calm and collected as he listened to my story and said, “I did my research on this team before I took this job; no doubt you are competent.  I will call him and share responsibility for this.”  I knew in that moment that he had my back.

For fifteen years, Eric has been making a difference at Verizon Wireless.  Starting in a store and working his way up the ladder has given him great empathy for what it takes to be successful in the various roles.  Undoubtedly it has paid off for him as he continues to be promoted year after year.   His emotionally intelligent leadership is serving both him and the organization well.

Do you know a leader who uses emotional intelligence?  Drop me an email at Dawn@DayBreakEQ.com and we will get them featured in this series.

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