Emotionally Intelligent Decisions

traffliA new season is creeping up on us: winter. While the seasons change in terms of weather, one season that does not hibernate is that of emotional intelligence or EQ. “Now” always seems to be the season of high-profile people making poor emotional intelligence decisions.

Emotional intelligence is the ability you have to recognize, manage, and understand how your emotions govern your decisions and relationships.

Your IQ and title do not correlate to high levels of EQ. Well-known figures fall into the trap of being far less emotional intelligent that their IQs or resumes would lead us to believe.

The former CEO and Founder of Groupon makes me laugh the most lately (and frown, too). Before he was relieved of his position as CEO, Andrew Mason held a company-wide meeting to discuss how the organization had to grow up and stop taking “stupid risks.” While speaking, he also seemed to have his voice “break.” He then apologized for drinking too much beer (it was available to everyone during the meeting).

I’m trying to figure out his message: “Time to grow up, folks–burp–whoops, sorry about that. OK, let’s first finish our drinks and start that growing up tomorrow.”

What’s wrong with Andrew? Right now, I will point out just one thing: low EQ. Also, maybe not just a good idea to allow the media to observe such meetings.

EQ comprises self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. In Andrew’s case, I would argue he is lacking solid self-awareness and self-management: he hasn’t yet mastered what he can and can’t do as the CEO of a high-profile and public company.

Here’s another great article on this event, by Tom Post of Forbes.

We all make mistakes. Being emotionally intelligent means you begin to catch yourself before you make some missteps. You train your brain to allow some gut reactions to be paused, so your rational, logical side can consider if the automatic reaction is the best one for you, the situation, the people involved, the business, etc.

We see the EQ foibles of CEOs documented often in the news; we personally are affected by such follies committed by people around us at work all the time.

So, how can you avoid some mistakes of your own–saying or doing things automatically and then regretting them?

Start by identifying your hot buttons at work. What things drive you nuts? And when you are being driven nuts, how are you reacting? For example, if people arriving late to meetings makes you angry and you regularly throw out some snippy remarks, then test yourself to not say anything in response to tardiness just once a day. Instead of speaking, take a quiet, deep breath as the late arrivers walk in.

Then, do some reading. For a primer, check out Emotional Intelligence 2.0: a great, short book with an online assessment included and amazing training materials. For a deep dive, read Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, as he is the #1 expert and researcher in this field.

Finally, ask others for help. Ask trusted peers and your manager to share with you some of the triggers they see in your behavior. Self-awareness involves looking inward as well as asking others for their insight and help.

Choosing just one hot button to focus on can make a big difference. Retrain your brain one step at a time. Doing so will make raise your EQ a little yet can dramatically influence your effectiveness, engagement, and health (really, it’s true).

Need some help? Let me know in the comments section what your hot buttons are and we can discuss how I can hold you accountable.

Too bad there aren’t any Groupon offers for emotional intelligence, eh? I wish it were that easy.

Coaching Questions of the Month: Making Decisions

This month our Coaching Questions are all about making decisions.

When it comes to making decisions ask yourself these questions:

  1. What’s stopping you from making a call?
  2. What would have to be addressed for you to feel comfortable?
  3. What would happen if you asked your team to consult with you to make this decision?
  4. What is the cost if you don’t do this?
  5. How will you feel when this decision is made—and communicated?

 

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Avoid losing your top performers

A few years ago, I spoke with Liz Dennery Sanders of SheBrand, about the top leadership themes everyone should have on their radar.

One of the themes refuses to come down from the #1 spot: helping executives avoid losing their top performers.

I remain optimistic (cautious, yes) that things are getting better. I see subtle signs in the small businesses I frequent and I hear resounding trumpets from some of my clients—like the ecstatic sales director in a workshop this week, who talked wildly about his organization (and no, it wasn’t simply because it’s his job to be a raving fan).

In creating plans for executives to coach their stars 1:1 and in teams, there are some ideas I return to often and then some new ones that pop up.

A favorite in the last few years remains the book Greater Than Yourself by Steve Farber.

The title refers to the book’s theme: amazing leaders help others become better, greater, more powerful, more awesome than themselves.

Why don’t leaders do this already? Why don’t more people view relationships as ways to make others greater, greater than they themselves are? Why isn’t there more joy in creating success in someone else? Why isn’t it acceptable? Or mandated?

Should I ask someone to help me become greater? Should I make sure I am ready to be asked myself? Whom should I choose?

The relationships Steve discusses in the book develop through a common connection and honesty that is already established and most times has happened naturally. But they become much more powerful when both sides subtly see what they are doing for each other.

Many of my weekly conversations allow me to help executives to be so much greater than me. For the leaders I coach 1:1, it becomes part of our common language: “How will this help someone become greater than you?”

As this week ends, I would like you to think about what you can do so one of your star performers—someone you don’t want to and can’t afford to lose—becomes greater than you.  And post your thoughts and comments below.

Exercise to Increase Productivity and Job Satisfaction

Row of people working out on treadmillsI will do just about anything to avoid regular exercise besides walking and swimming. I don’t enjoy exercising, and similar to so many others, I find it really difficult to block off the time to do it consistently.

I understand the physical benefits. No confusion to me about how exercise will help my body.

Now, though, more research is turning up that indicates how physical exercise can help my brain, too.

Exercise will make me sharper and more creative? It will help increase my memory and my ability to learn? Sign me up!

Read about this research in an HBR blog post. 

The kicker to this information is that exercise during the workday can dramatically influence productivity and satisfaction. It can even lead to “smoother interactions” among colleagues.

For years I have been advocating to executive coaching clients how important the daily “walk around the block is.” It is good to know that exercise—perhaps starting with simply walk to clear your head, can have tangible benefits.

Perhaps I need to add another type of exercise to workshops and offsite: the physical kind.

What type of workout motivates you throughout the day?  I would love to hear your thoughts in he comments below.

Tough Conversation of the Month: Speaking to an Unhappy Employee

Worried Businessman With Cardboard HeadIn keeping with the theme of top performers, this month’s tough conversation speaks to the discussion you may need to have with a stellar employee who is unhappy.

One option is to call out the behavior and its effects, the end results.

When you have many examples and see a pattern, you need to speak to the employee and explain what you’ve noticed and how the behavior is negatively affecting team productivity, customer retention, or revenue generation.

It’s crucial you speak to the consequence of the employee’s conduct.

You can start the conversation like this, “Elizabeth, I’ve noticed in the last few months that your enthusiasm for your work, your drive to exceed goals isn’t as evident as it has been in the past.”

To learn more, watch my video on this subject.

And I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  When was a time you had to have a tough conversation with an unhappy employee and how did it go?

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