Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

Sales Managers as Empathetic Leaders

Article Contributed by Guest Author Pam Watson Korbel

As an interim sales manager, I have developed a new-found appreciation for Empathy and believe it may be the most under-utilized tool of business leaders.  My conclusion results from first-hand observation.  We expect our sales executives to show empathy to both clients and prospects.  Unfortunately, as sales managers we often do not display empathy to become role models for the employees we supervise.  Here are some examples:

  1. I heard a sales manager report that he told his staff directly, “If you think you’re a top sales person, then I don’t want to see you in the office.”   A better approach might be to provide a guideline to sales staff on how many hours a week to spend outside the office and what those activities should include.  Consider saying directly, “A top sales person spends 20 hours a week meeting with prospects and clients and attending networking meetings.”
  2. Some sales managers keep their staff on the telephone cold calling until they find success the same day.  In my experience, this backfires.  A pattern of no response from prospects leads to low energy for the sales person and becomes a negative cycle.  I give permission for my staff to change gears and work on a different activity in these situations to regenerate their energy.
  3. Too many sales managers focus on pushing paper and measuring numbers and don’t put enough time into ‘partnering’ with their staff.  Making sales visits with your sales executives provides opportunities to be a role model and a teacher and promotes trust.

Showing empathy to your sales staff is not weakness.  It shows strength.  Most sales managers walked along the same paths and could engender stronger performance from their staffs by being more empathetic.  Being a role model and a teacher are the productive methods to show empathy.

Coaching – A Powerful Tool for Organizational Success

Article contributed by Arul John Peter

I am soft skill facilitator based in Singapore (Asia) and have been conducting soft skills training for more than 25 years. Enabling managers as coach was not an area of my training activity. I was focusing on making each of my participant, a better employee or a manager, not paying much attention to make each of my participant a ‘multiplier’. This approach to my training changed following my participation in ISEI’s Social + Emotional Intelligence certification workshop and Leader as Coach program. The two training session brought about a new perspective on the importance of having a pool of trained and enabled managers as coaches. Managers who had been exposed to the managers as coach, find the approach useful in the workplace. It made them feel good about their contribution to people development.

Leading and managing in the 21st century is not an easy task. The need to get along with a whole group of stakeholders and move forward to achieve the vision and goals together demands a new set of skills. The Development Dimensions International (DDI), a global organization that offers solutions on talent management, identified ‘coaching and developing others as one of the five most critical skills needed on the part of managers and leaders for managing and leading the future, in its publication titled ‘Time for a leadership Revolution’. The remaining four skills are creativity & innovation, identifying and developing talent driving & managing change and executing organizational strategy. Invariably, developing these skills would require a high dose of coaching.

Research after research confirms that the benefits of coaching include the following:

  • Coaching improves teamwork and productivity.
  • Enable staff to take ownership to get things done
  • It improves the outcome of business strategies.

Coaching as a skill and development tool, allowing managers within an organization to help individual employees and teams perform at their peak. Training and developing managers to become coaches is probably the best way to bring about meaningful and sustainable changes within the organization. Having the services of a competent and certified coach/facilitator who could train and develop the managers to function as coaches is more effective. Coaches/facilitators who are trained in programs such as “leader as coaches,” offered by Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence would be able to take full advantage of Positive Deviant Initiatives,  a concept that is attributed to Tufts University. The managers who are trained to handle coaching sessions could amplify the positive and desired practices that are already working within the organization. Research and organizational studies confirm that solutions which originate from outside the organizations are not accepted easily by the internal stakeholders. It is the best practices that are identified by the key players within the organization, that make the organization successful. The best option is to identify key players and provide them with the relevant coaching skills and let them become the catalyst.

Developing Others—The Power of Listening

He was seated comfortably, three paragraphs into the lead sports page article when she approached him from behind his favorite chair. “Dad, I really need to talk to you.” She dangled her 10 year old, lanky legs over the edge of the chair as he distractedly muttered, “Uh, huh?” She begins her lengthy diatribe about an event that happened at school and the call he should expect from the teacher and that it wasn’t her fault but she was next to the kids who did it, etc. As she ends her monologue, he mutters, “Uh, huh. Okay. Sounds good.” She swings her feet back over the arm of the chair, onto the floor, and walks away feeling rejected and unimportant, knowing that when the teacher calls, her dad will be hearing it for the first time.

Have you ever done this to your kids? Has it ever happened to you where you knew someone wasn’t really listening? And how many times might you have done this to your employees? Instead of the newspaper, your attention is on your computer screen as you try desperately to keep up on incoming email. Or perhaps you are answering every ping on your smart phone? The only difference between home and work is that your family may be more forgiving than your employees and other work colleagues. Have you considered the cost to your relationships and your team’s productivity when you don’t listen?

Valarie Washington, CEO of Think 6 Results, writes in her article, The High Cost of Poor Listening, “60% of all management problems are related to poor listening,” and that “we misinterpret, misunderstand or change 70% to 90% of what we hear.”

Washington also writes, “There are no shortcuts to becoming a great listener and the price tag for poor listening is high. Listening well can cut down on misunderstandings, miscues, damaged relationships, missed opportunities and disagreements while building strong alliances, increasing knowledge and delivering better results, faster.”

Top executives listen more than they talk and when they listen, they set aside everything else, including the inner clamor, and listen with their full attention. They know that the only way to really know what’s going on, and to really hear what the other person is trying to say, is to listen fully to what’s being said and what’s not being said but is trying to be conveyed.

Great leaders are great listeners and as a result, their employees are more engaged, more passionate about their work, and far more productive. Is it time for you to sharpen your listening skills? To fully assess your Leadership competencies including your ability to coach and mentor others through genuine listening, contact the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

How Does Intentionality Create Quality of Life?

The quality of our lives begins with our intentions. Our intentions form our thoughts, our thoughts shape our actions, and our actions create our lives. When we move into and live with deliberate intention, we create conscious living.

Intentionality is one of the most powerful of the 26 emotional intelligence competencies. As coaches, we support our clients daily in improving the quality of their lives, and it all begins with setting powerful, compelling, energizing intentions.

Quick story: Carol is a renowned artist living in the mountains of Colorado, and her studio is a charming old cabin which sits behind her home, nestled in the woods. It’s heated with a wood stove.

When she first started using her studio cabin, Carol found the wood stove unable to keep the temperature to a comfortable level. She liked having the wood-stove and the ambiance it created in her studio, and they certainly had plenty of wood on their mountain property, so she began researching more efficient wood stoves and found the perfect one. The price tag, however, was a hefty $1,500.

Carol set her intention to find that wood stove for half that price. She posted a picture of the wood stove in her workspace and began checking online auction and advertising sites regularly. She also put her intention out in conversations with neighbors, community members, builders and remodelers. She even checked the want ads in the local paper.

Within three months, Carol found the exact model of wood stove she wanted, still new, in the box, for $750. A couple had purchased it for their basement, but then decided to move. They had never installed it, and wanted to re-coup some of their expense, and Carol was willing to pay $750.

Carol’s studio is now toasty warm and comfortable even on the snowiest Colorado days.

This is a very simple example of the power of intention, of course, and yet it illustrates how intentions can pull us forward, improving the quality of our lives.

Living intentionally means:

  • creating a vision for our lives,
  • acting deliberately, in alignment with our stated goals, values and priorities,
  • taking the time to focus, recharge, breathe, meditate, and feel gratitude,
  • pausing to experience life and all its joys, love and wonders.

Without clear intention, our energy is scattered and our actions are less powerful.

Learn more about the 26 competencies at www.The-ISEI.com

Inspirational Leadership

Ghandi did it.  Martin Luther King did it.  Oprah does it.  Dave Ramsey does it.  IT is inspired leadership.  These leaders had and have what it takes to inspire others toward a shared vision.  They are able to challenge the status quo and articulate a sense of common purpose that inspires others to follow.  These leaders generate enthusiasm for clear, compelling visions and have been able to create a sense of belonging to something much larger than themselves.

The same is true of San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) known for launching “Sacred Work.”  SJCH leadership was inspired to care for not only the community members, but also the caregivers.  The team set out to make sure they were hiring folks with the right values systems in order to create a sustainable culture of caring.  SJCH hires based on the value, service to others, and today maintains a committed workforce and leadership team who believe healing the whole person and serving the caregivers as well as the community are key aspects of their mission.  As an unexpected benefit, SJCH has inspired a healthcare movement centered around “Sacred Work.”

Research conducted by Zenger & Folkman says, inspirational leadership is directly linked to high employee engagement—the psychological bond between an employee, the work, and the work environment.  Leaders who inspire and motivate followers see new behaviors, outcomes, attitudes, and emotions that translate to business outcomes such as higher productivity, more responsible behavior, greater organizational confidence, and initiative.  The employees of SJCH are a living testament to the validity of this research.

Are there actions you need to take to enhance your inspirational leadership?

  • Create a collaborative vision in alignment with your organization.
  • Set stretch goals to challenge your team and provide fulfilling work experience.
  • Communicate the vision frequently and enthusiastically.
  • Develop your people.
  • Be a model team player—put the needs of the team and organization above your own interests.
  • Foster fresh ideas and be open to trying them.

To fully assess your current competence in Inspirational Leadership and create a personalized development plan, contact the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Avoiding Career Derailment with Improved Social & Emotional Intelligence

A recent Right Management survey about leaders and the competencies that most impact their success reveals the importance of developing social + emotional intelligence for individuals throughout the organization, and especially at the top.

The survey results indicate that the number one factor contributing to the failure of senior leaders is the inability to build relationships and a team environment. In fact, 40.2% of leadership turnover was attributed to this one derailer.

This is significant.

It is also preventable.

Increasing an individual’s social + emotional intelligence in the competency areas of building bonds, building trust, and teamwork/collaboration goes a long way to ensuring the organization’s investment in talent pays real, measurable dividends by averting unnecessary leadership turnover and growing employee engagement and commitment.

HR professionals who add social + emotional intelligence training as a key component of their leadership on-boarding and continuing development program create a competitive advantage for their organization and contribute to business transformation in their industry.

Need some proof? Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceutical Company increased the organization’s emotional intelligence by 18% and saw a 600% ROI (Cherniss, 2003). PepsiCo began initiating emotional intelligence training in the 1990s and has seen over a 1000% ROI, decreasing executive turnover by 87% (McClelland, 1998). And Andrea Jung, Chair & CEO of Avon says, “Emotional Intelligence is in our DNA here at Avon because relationships are critical at every stage of our business.”

Each of these organizations saw the value of developing social + emotional intelligence competencies in their leaders and made the commitment to transform their organizations and produce unprecedented results.

If you are interested in bringing social + emotional intelligence assessment, training and coaching into your organization, contact any of our Social + Emotional Intelligence Certified Coaches at the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence. We can be reached at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Looking for a Job? Increase Your Social + Emotional Intelligence

The end of summer signals the start of a new planning cycle for many organizations, including the planning that comes with bringing on new employees.  Businesses are beginning to think about how they will expand and/or contract over the coming months and what strategic hires they will need to meet their key objectives.

That person could be you, if you’re the right fit.

In human resources (HR) circles we call it behavioral interviewing.  Essentially we are attempting to identify how candidates handle themselves and others in challenging situations.  We are testing – assessing – their social and emotional intelligence by how they answer certain questions.  S+EI is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships.

Behavioral interviewing questions might take the form of the following:

  • “Tell me about a time when you found yourself in conflict with another person in the workplace.  How did you handle it?”
  • “Have you ever found yourself working with a difficult person?  How did you handle that?”
  • “How do you go about building trust in the workplace and particularly on your team?”

Are you prepared for these (and many other similar) questions?

Taking time to improve your social and emotional intelligence will give you a competitive edge during the interview process.  High S+EI skills are necessary for managers and anyone who will be working in a team environment.

Here are a few quick tips for improving your S+EI and preparing for the job interview:

Identify your strengths and weaknesses.  List them out in a top five format then rank them with 1 being the best and 5 the worst under each of the headings.  Write down how you can leverage your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.  This prepares you for one of the most frequently asked interview questions—what are your strengths and what is your greatest weakness.  Knowing how you will play on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses demonstrates your self-awareness, a key social and emotional intelligence competency.

Master conflict management.  If you are currently unemployed, dig deep for conflict situations in your previous position.  Dissect the interactions by depersonalizing them.  Figure out what you did, what hot buttons were triggered during the interaction, what you could have done better, what you learned from the interaction and how you can make it a win-win next time.  Knowing your own preferences in handling conflict and then managing your response to conflict positively going forward makes you a more desirable candidate for employment.

Practice teamwork and collaboration.  Employed or unemployed, you can practice the skills of teamwork and collaboration.  Volunteer to organize an event for a cause you believe in or sit on a local board of directors for a nonprofit organization.  Either one will provide you with rich experience in working with different types of people and managing your responses to them, another key S+EI competency.  People with high social and emotional intelligence skills are able to create a motivating and enthusiastic work environment (remember, emotions are contagious!).  They put the team’s overall goals ahead of their individual goals, and take the opportunity to share the credit for the team’s successes.  Volunteering and other community work showcases your abilities to create cohesive teams, and is just as valuable as what you have done in the office, so be sure to work it into your interview when the time is right.

These are only a few brief tips for helping increase your social and emotional intelligence and make yourself an attractive candidate for open positions.  If you’d like to learn more, please visit us at www.The-ISEI.com or email Hello@The-ISEI.com or call us at 303-325-5176.

How Jim Turned Things Around With Social + Emotional Intelligence

Liz*, head of HR for a well-known high-tech company, called to ask for some help with Jim, the Vice President of Operations.

Jim* has been with the company for 24 years, and has steadily been promoted throughout the years because of his ability to get things done on time and within budget.

He is off-the-charts brilliant, a hard-working technical genius, task-oriented, ambitious, and driven to succeed.  He has little patience for people who can’t keep up with him intellectually or operationally.

The Screamer!Some people consider him to be arrogant and condescending, and if something goes wrong, explosive.  He has a reputation for being a bully and a tyrant.

As the economy has started to turn around, the employees in his area have begun leaving the organization, jumping ship to the competition.  Decades of cumulative experience as well as trade secrets are walking out the door and directly into the waiting arms of competing firms.  Exit interviews indicate that the employees are leaving because of the way he treats them.  He berates people in public meetings, he calls them names, he has even been known to throw things in a fit of anger.

Liz is tired of hearing the complaints, and is starting to have trouble filling the vacant positions because Jim has developed a reputation in the industry and in the community as being a difficult boss.  Quality candidates have no interest in coming to working for him.  She has discussed this with him on several occasions, and he refuses to see that he has a role in the problem.  He insists that it is his job to keep things running, and that if they can’t stand the heat, they should “get out of the kitchen.”  The CEO is aware of the problem, but also values the fact that Jim has a tough job and gets things done on time and on budget, and doesn’t want to let  him go.

“Can you help?” she asked when she called us.  “It looks like we need to keep him, but we need for him to start treating people better so they don’t leave.”   I told her we would see what we could do.

The following week we went in to meet with Jim, and we also met with several members of his team.  Liz had been very accurate in her characterization of Jim, and had even underestimated, to some degree, the impact he was having on the people around him.  Several more already had their foot out the door.

We laid out a plan for Jim to enhance his awareness of his impact on people, including doing an emotional intelligence 360, and we began a coaching program focused on impulse control, stress management, and dealing with conflict more productively.  We worked with him on taking more of a “coach approach” to his style of leadership and management, seeking opportunities to develop, coach and mentor people rather than scream at them.  We showed him how productivity (and profitability) could actually be enhanced if he modified his leadership style.

Jim was resistant at first.  But when he saw the results of his 360, he could see he had some blind spots.  He even took his 360 report home to show his wife, and complained to her that people didn’t really know him or they wouldn’t have answered the way they did, and that he had to keep doing things the same way or “nothing would ever get done on time.”

She disagreed with him.  She told him that the report was absolutely on-target, and that she had experienced his negative behaviors, his arrogance, condescension, and contempt, yelling, and anger enough over the years, and that quite honestly, she was planning to end the marriage when their youngest child (currently 16 and a sophomore in high school) left home for college.

Jim was stunned.

She also told him that their older three kids (already out of the house) didn’t want anything to do with him, and that they felt estranged from their father.

He was speechless.

And then she told him that their 16-year old daughter, who had been seeing a counselor, had talked with her counselor recently about suicide, and that she attributed a great deal of her depression and inability to deal with high school to the way she was treated by her father.

Tough news indeed.

Jim discussed all this with his coach very soon after this conversation with his wife.

He asked to review the 360 results again, and agreed that perhaps he did need to work on a few things.  Together we put a plan together, which he began to approach with the same drive that he approached most other aspects of his work.  He identified goals and very specific actions he could take to improve how he was interacting with people.  He also decided he needed to acknowledge publicly that his prior way of doing things had not been effective.

He sat down and had a very honest conversation with each member of his team.  He apologized for his past behavior, explaining that he hadn’t realized just how difficult he had been.  He told them what he wanted to change, and asked for their support in making those changes, even asking them to help hold him accountable in his quest to change.  Every day, he practiced the new techniques for managing conflict, and for managing himself.  He learned new ways of communicating with people, learned how to understand what motivated them, and how to work and interact with them more effectively.

Today, Jim’s employee engagement scores are higher than any other department in the company.  His team is happy, turnover has decreased to almost zero, and they are producing more than ever in the history of the company.

And on the personal side, Jim’s marriage has improved (he’s working really hard here), and his relationship with his children has improved beyond measure.  And his youngest daughter?  She’s now a beautiful 17-year-old, happy, well-adjusted, and thriving socially and in school. *

*This case study is based on real events, but the names have been changed and the circumstances altered slightly to protect confidentiality.

Engineering Great Managers at Google via Social + Emotional Intelligence

In a fascinating article in the New York Times, Adam Bryant reports on Google’s initiative to engineer better managers, and it turns out that seven of the eight key competencies of great managers are squarely in the realm of social and emotional intelligence.

Two years ago, Google embarked on an in-depth research initiative to determine the characteristics that define the best bosses in the organization.  The study, called “Project Oxygen,” analyzed thousands of performance reviews, employee surveys, nominations for “top-manager” awards, and much more.

All the data analysis and research was boiled down to a list of eight key management competencies.

The top skills, called “Google’s Rules for Managers,” include:

  1. Be a good coach to your employees (have regular one-on-ones, maximize employees’ strengths, provide specific, clear feedback)
  2. Empower your team and don’t micro-manage
  3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being
  4. Don’t be a sissy:  be productive and results-oriented
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
  6. Help your employees with career development
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
  8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.

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4 Practical Tips to Manage Conflict in Your Organization & Life

“I’m just going to fire the cleaning lady!” This is how my friend responded to my greeting as I picked up the phone. “What happened?” I asked. Flustered and breathless she says, “She flushed a toothbrush down the toilet, didn’t tell us and now we have had to drain the septic system, snake all the drains, and finally replace the toilet! I’m talkin’ $800 bucks worth of service and repair to find a toothbrush!” I cautiously allow the next question to leave my lips, “Have you talked to her about it?” Silence.

How many times have you, as an HR professional, had someone burst into your office or call you on the phone with their own version of “firing the cleaning lady,” and you discover no attempt has been made to discuss the issue with the employee or co-worker? Probably more often than you would like.

Learning to respond appropriately, manage conflict and handle uncomfortable conversations is so important in leadership and in life that entire books (Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan & Al Switzler) and businesses (trained mediators, etc.) have been built around the topic.

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