Event Date: 01/28/2015 (2:00 pm EST - 3:00 pm EST)
Emotional Intelligence: How to Develop Skills for Success hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Diana Durek. Today’s webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions you can always type them into the chat box. We will answer questions as they come in live at the end of the presentation or as a follow-up by email. My name is Sarah Schaeffer and I will moderate today’s webinar.
Diana is a leadership-development specialist with an emphasis on emotional intelligence and personal change. She spent 11 years with a leading global psychological test publisher. There she worked with clients as INAUDIBLE at the U.S. Air Force, American Express, and Air Canada. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in corporate learning and development, a joint program between the graduate School of Education and the Warren School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Welcome, and thank you for joining us today, Diana.
Thank you, Sarah. And thank you to first and foremost, HRDQ for the invitation. I am absolutely delighted to be here. And also thank you to all of you. You are a wonderful group. Certainly I know some of you personally. I know some of you based on reputation, so I certainly know something about you. And then there are a lot of new people on this webinar some of whom have reached out to me, so, thank you for the warm welcome. Like I said, I’m just delighted to be here. So, with this I will get started.
There we go. A little technological moment as I figure out how to work the first slide. Here’s what I’m proposing that we work on together as a group today. Very simple agenda, but these are three rather meaty bullet points. So first I’m going to cover in some detail what the nature of emotional intelligence is, then the meatiest part of the presentation for sure will be presenting the business case for emotional intelligence and then at the end we will spend a little bit of time tackling how we start to develop some of these skills. Now one thing I’d like to point out is after the first two bullets have been covered in quite a bit of detail, I’m going to stop for questions at that point. And please don’t feel that you need to wait to send in your questions until even that moment. Please feel free to send in the questions as you think of them. I think that will really help us orient our time together and make sure that frankly, you are taking an hour out of your day, so let’s try to make this as applicable as it possibly can be for as many of you as possible. That would definitely be my wish for all of us today, that we really learn something important together today. With that being said, in terms of helping to orient me, especially to those of you who I don’t know personally, I would like to invite you to start with a poll. And I have two questions for you. The first one, I’d like to know, a simple yes or no, are you currently incorporating emotional intelligence development into the work you do right now in organizations, whether you’re an independent, or whether you’re working internally within an organization. Now, I’m just going to give you, the dead air is never good when we’re on a webinar. Oh, here we go. We have 75 percent of you have now voted, so that’s wonderful. Wow, so actually this is an interesting result. 46 of you are currently incorporating emotional intelligence. I’m just delighted to hear that. I’ll call that a state of the union if you will. That number, over the years, certainly as long as I’ve been involved in this work, that number is steadily increasing, so very, very exciting. What I’d like to do is now go to the next poll.
It’s if you are using a formal process to assess emotional intelligence? Yes or no.
I do see the results now, but I am going to ask you to move me to the next slide. What’s interesting is, I just want to touch on this before we move forward. Because most of you are not using a formal process, I’m really hoping that when we get into the business cases, that you’ll really be able to get a sense of just the value add, if you will, that can be gained from adding some assessments, certainly not required for the development work and of course a lot of my comments will not be around assessment, but since there are so many of you not using assessment, I’m really excited to be able to bring that to today’s session. I would like to invite all of you to think about a time when you were highly emotional. Now be honest with yourself. How intelligent did this make you feel? So when people think about emotions and thinking, they often think about emotions and thinking as separate, completely unrelated processes. So we may not realize that we use emotion to make just about all of our decisions. I was going to give an example about how emotions are so completely intertwined with decision making, so, I’m going to use the simplest of examples for you. Let’s say you and I have to set up a meeting, so, you check your calendar and you narrow down the options, and you see that one o’clock, two o’clock, and three o’clock are available tomorrow. But, here’s the thing, once you have narrowed down the options, if you don’t have access to your emotions, all of the times are going to appear equally desirable. You’re not going to have any basis upon which to make a decision. And research has confirmed that people who have suffered brain damage, to the emotional areas in their brain, they are not able to make decisions. So how this works biologically, in our brains, the neural circuits for the intellect, and emotion, they are separate, but they are able to communicate with one another. So emotional intelligence, has to do with the smooth operation between what I call the thinking brain, some people will refer to it as the rational brain, and the emotional brain. So while I said earlier, you know I asked you how intelligent you feel when you’re highly emotional, you know if we were together face to face you might have had a chuckle. It is important to remember, now I’m quoting directly from Antionio Demasio, a leading neuroscientist, Far from interfering with rationality, the absence of emotion and feeling can break down rationality and make wise decision-making almost impossible. Most effective decisions are assisted by emotion. So if I put that a different way, possibly not as well as a leading neuroscientist, emotional intelligence has to do with bringing emotion to intelligence or if you prefer saying it in reverse, bringing intelligence to emotion. Now as a way of illustrating the power and utility of emotional intelligence, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of considerations and challenges that ultimately led to the formulation of the concept of emotional intelligence. When psychologists first started thinking about intelligence, now of course this was many years ago, they were focused on more cognitively oriented things like memory and problem solving. It was quickly realized though, that cognitive intelligence is not the only factor for predicting one’s ability to succeed. And IQ by itself in terms of the research is not a strong predictor of performance. Frankly, I imagine that you have all witnessed this. So, research shows us that many individuals with high cognitive intelligence will perform really well in leadership roles for example.
But I’m sure that you’ve all seen there are cognitively very intelligent people who are going to struggle or even fail in leadership roles. Now when it comes to IQ testing, the world I came from previously, David Wexler, he’s a real pioneer in the field, and to this day, his intelligence tests are some of the most widely used literally worldwide. As early as 1943, his writing showed that he was aware that his intelligence tests didn’t actually explain all the variants in performance, and certainly in a workplace setting, we’re always trying to understand more and more the nature of performance. And literally for 30 years he continued throughout his writing to stress his belief that non-intellective factors, so by non-intellective he was referring to things like impulsivity, things like persistence. Right now, there’s a lot of talk out of the University of Pennsylvania around the concept of grit. Something that Dr. Angela Duffworth for instance has done a lot of work in. So all of these things may either facilitate or conversely they may inhibit intelligent behavior. Unfortunately there was a period of time that much of the work of these early experts, not just David Wexler, but others as well, it was pretty forgotten until Howard Gardner came along in and around 1983. And his proposal, almost a foreshadowing if you will of emotional intelligence, was that intrapersonal and interpersonal, difficult words to say on a webcast, this type of intelligence is as important as the type of intelligence that is typically measured by IQ tests. Now this next slide has a definition of emotional intelligence on it. This definition specifically comes from two psychologists Jack Mayer of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey who is now serving as president of Yale University, now they themselves do not credit themselves with creating the construct itself, but there is no doubt that their work, as early as 1990, their academic articles really formed the basis for much of the thinking in the field. Now I do want to point out the one definition is on the screen, but we saw that roughly half of you are working with emotional intelligence right now. So this may not be the exact definition that you’re using. So to get us all on the same page, I’d like offer up that regardless of what definition you use, the critical aspect here, the hallmark of emotional intelligence has to do with how one manages emotions in themselves, how one helps to manage emotion in other people, how one either facilitates or inhibits that, and then also how you focus attention on desired behaviors. So I really want to point out in a very holistic way this truly is not about advocating one definition or another. Similarly, I’ve moved to the next slide, the model of emotional intelligence that is on your screen right now, this model comes to us from HRDQ and specifically from an emotional training program that is part of the reproducible training library series. Now, that being said, you may be looking at this model saying well that’s not exactly the model that I use. So, like I said, as long as the models focus on how one manages emotion in one’s self and others, and focuses behaviors in the direction that we need them to go, these would all be considered within the purview if you will of emotional intelligence. The other thing is that you will see is models sometimes that are chunked differently, for example. Maybe the intra- and interpersonal are lumped together in a way. And all of that is absolutely OK in terms of the way that we work with these models. So let me briefly introduce these four areas. Intrapersonal skills have to do with your ability to know and manage yourself. So this particular area, different models will include a number of discreet skill sets, things like assertiveness. So assertiveness has to do with how well you are able to express your thoughts and feelings clearly and stand your ground but not do so in a way that potentially infringes on the rights of others. Another skill under this area is emotional self awareness and when we get to the third piece of our talk today, we’re actually going to discuss emotional self awareness in quite a bit of detail. Then we move to the interpersonal realm. And colloquially speaking, this is about your people skills, right. It’s about your ability to get along with other people. And, again, depending on the model, you will see it break down further skills like empathy, we’re going to discuss empathy also quite a bit later in this webcast. You’ll see that empathy has to do with taking a very active interest in understanding what others may be thinking, and why they may be thinking that way. So, it’s sort of like viewing the world through somebody else’s perspective or walking a little bit in somebody else’s shoes. This realm is also about putting energy into establishing mutually beneficial relationships and we will talk about that quite a bit when I get into one of the cases. By the way, a telltale sign for all of us that we may be low on the interpersonal dimension especially in the workplace, is if there exists a pattern of people not sharing things with you. So if you find that potentially you are the last person to find things out, somehow something has happened in the organization, you get the sense that everyone knew and you didn’t. This may be a telltale sign that the interpersonal domain is one that you are not focusing as much energy on. Next one adaptability, and I should also put out that some people really within a workplace context prefer to call this change management. This has to do with how much flexibility you can bring to changing environmental demands and conditions. And then resilience builds further on this and recognizes that setbacks can occur and they will occur, and since this is the case, resilience is about building skills that allow us to bounce back and move forward rather than suffer prolonging damage from negative reactions. I do want to point out two things here: One, I think that resilience is especially important in today’s rapidly changing workplace especially when it comes to dealing with changes that we may feel we don’t have any control over. So for example, there was a period of time when the north ” well not just the North American economy, but certainly I have a North American perspective, to the extent of the economy is doing poorly, people really need to rely on skills related to resilience. Now it doesn’t have to be as big as the economy, another thing that we may not be able to control perhaps there’s a lull in your specific industry that too would be an example of something is really going to require some resilience skills. Now starting on the next slide, I’m going to directly move into the business case for emotional intelligence but as a foreshadowing, if you would just do me a favor and look once again at the bottom two skill sets, so how much flexibility you bring to changing demands and pressures and then how susceptible you are to succumbing to negativity and stress. Now think for a minute about the true nature of business. What is business if not a series of environmental demands and pressures? So if you think about this model, it’s difficult for me to see what could possibly provide a more robust and intuitive framework for dealing with business challenges, then one that is, I mean by its very definition so completely focused on skills that allow you to cope with literally fast changing demands and pressures. So that was my rather long-winded way of saying I think that from my own perspective, and I think my perspective is coming through quite clearly for you I imagine, that the ubiquity of emotional intelligence has to do with just how intuitive it is for people that there are so many things that occur in the business place, and it’s these types of skill sets that allow us to understand some of these issues and develop some of these issues in such a strong way. It also gives us a language for talking about some things within organizations that prior to the advent of emotional intelligence we just didn’t know how to bring up. We just didn’t have frameworks for addressing them. I do think that really speaks to the power in utility of these concepts. So with that said, if I give away my point of view I will say for me that the business case is part of the most exciting piece with respect to emotional intelligence. So I’m starting with a piece of research that was conducted at the Center for Creative Leadership. Now for those of you who may not be familiar with the Center for Creative Leadership, they are truly a leader with respect to leadership development, but also research that fuels that development. So everything they do would definitely be considered evidence based. So at the time, I think there is a lot of research now, but at the time CCL was looking at this, there really had been no systematic effort to examine the relationship between leadership competencies and emotional intelligence. So this was truly groundbreaking in the early 2000s when they did this work. So to measure leadership, they used their proprietary 360 tool, it’s called Benchmarks, and again, many of you may be familiar with competency models even if you’re not familiar with theirs, it is comprised of a number of skills that they have found allow people to be more successful leaders. It also includes a number of skills that they have found potentially are derailers of successful leadership. So looking at their 360, they also administered an emotional intelligence tool and the scales that the emotional intelligence tool measure are across the X axis. So what you’re looking at on this screen, the top line represents the emotional intelligence scores and by the scales that you see there of the leaders whose leadership 360 scores were in the top 25 percent of the sample, so the top line, those are the best scores on the leadership assessment. And the bottom line represents the emotional intelligence scores of the different scales of the leaders who were in the bottom 25 percent. Now, the first thing I’m going to say obviously is that not every difference in the emotional intelligence scores between the high- and low-performing leaders was statistically significant, just the be clear. But if I paint this with a broad brush stroke, you can just see across the board that higher performing leaders also had higher skill in emotional intelligence. That’s the first thing so, as a broad brush stroke, we see that clearly emotional intelligence must have something to do with leadership. But the areas where it made the most difference, those would be the scales where you see that there’s the widest gap between the top performing leaders and the bottom performing leaders, that’s the piece that really informs us the most in terms of the relationship between emotional intelligence and the opportunity that emotional intelligence allows with respect to training leaders, training and developing leaders. So let me give you ” I certainly won’t go through all of the skills, but I’m just going to pick two or three of the ones that had the greatest differences in scores. So the first one is interpersonal relationships. And on this scale, interpersonal relationships is defined as developing relationships that within a context that’s appropriate, that are mutually satisfying, that give us the type of benefit that we’re looking for so we can work together. One of the strong findings and now this is from the leadership research is that whenever you have a power distance in an organization, people at the lower end tend not to provide disconfirming or negative information. John Burn called this the CEO Disease in a 1991 Business Week article. Now regardless of whether people do this out of fear or high distance cultures, certain Asian cultures, they actually do it out of respect. The person at the top, or people at the top of the organization, are routinely cut off from information. And very often when leaders are negative or when they are demeaning, these leaders also get cut off from information. Whereas when you have these more positively oriented interpersonal relationships, because trust becomes so much a factor, as is open communication, people tend not to get cut off. And the result is, that the person at the top, the person who’s developing strategy, who’s really making major decisions for the organization, that individual now has access to so much better information. I mean let’s state the obvious, the person at the top isn’t the one doing all the work, so clearly the way that we get things done in organizations is through other people and what this particular finding gave us, so notice I said that John Burn referred to this as CEO Disease way back in 1991, in terms of the leadership research some of these finding have been known a long time. But it was first CCL who then identified that in fact this interpersonal relationship aspect is the one that drives some of the leadership behaviors that we want to see. And, I’m focusing here on CCL, but I just have easily by the way, could have made reference to other leadership experts. Jim Kouzes comes to mind when he talks about how top leaders are, and this is the word that Jim Kouzes uses specifically, he talks about leaders being devoted to building interpersonal relationships. Just a couple more so to give you a sense of how important this work is being. I’m now going to move to the stress tolerance sub-scale and again you can see a pretty wide margin there. So let me give you some background here. Each of us, and I don’t just mean leaders, I mean all of us, the research shows that we have 8-12 stress episodes a day. Now I’m not talking about the terrier haraute? kind of stress, that’s called acute stress, I’m talking about that uncomfortable gnawing stress such as somebody cuts you off in traffic. Now these stress episodes set off your sympathetic nervous system. You can think of your sympathetic nervous system as the classic stress response, so, it doesn’t really need any more introduction, just think about what you feel like when you’re stressed. Biologically, once you set off your stress response, this gets your epinephrine, your norepinephrine pumping, and also sets off a set of corticosteroids. The important part of this is that your brain actually starts to systematically shut down its nonessential neural circuits. So you’re not as open to or not as in touch with many parts of your brain. You actually can’t access what you know. So think of this by the way with organizations. We hire people for what they know. We hire them for all kinds of technical expertise, but then they become stressed out and we actually know, based on what’s happening in our brain, the people then can’t access what they know. Secondly though, back to this classic stress response, you disengage your immune system when this is activated and you stop the creation of new neurons. So you actually can’t learn. So in other words, when you are in chronic stress, you are actually starting to shut down. Now, how does this relate to this graph? When leaders don’t manage their stress, and in turn they spend the bulk of their time talking about the threat that’s about to ensue, talking about the urgency in terms of all the crises that are going to happen, they create this toxic response, they help to create, I should say, this toxic response. And so guess what? We’re going to shut down. Now, a high-performing leader, again and getting back to the graph, a high-performing leader, who’s going to have a high stress tolerance, this individual is not going to activate the stress response in us as readily. So a different set of hormones and endocrines get secreted. Now this is part of a system that is the opposite of the stress response if you will, and it’s call the para-sympathetic nervous system. So this system will lower blood pressure. It will engage your immune system. It will actually help you to function cognitively at your best. The research is just so clear on what happens when this system is activated. You are more open to new ideas and noticing other people and their feelings. In this state, you are able to process information intellectually at your very best from a cognitive function perspective. So what I’m suggesting with all of this is that high performing leaders, when they manage their own stress, they in turn are able to get the very best out of other people. And what I just described, this interplay between the classic stress response and the para-sympathetic nervous system hopefully and there being a focus on activating the para-sympathetic nervous system this mechanism is one of the most critical mechanisms that leaders actually have with respect to getting the best out of people actually being able to maximize their human resource. So it isn’t just a matter of if the leader manages their own stress, they in turn, perform better, it’s that when they manage their own stress they also allow everybody within the organization to perform better.
The very last one that I will touch on very briefly is optimism. Now as per this emotional intelligence tool, optimism is defined it’s a future-oriented behavior that has to do with focusing on positive things that are going to happen. Again I go back to Jim Kouzes because certainly when I think of leadership experts he’s at the top of that list. But to give you a sense of him not being the only one saying this you look at the work of Jim Collins for example and his book, Good to Great. Everyone so consistently talks about the importance of creating a vision. As I go a step further, it’s not just creating a vision, but creating a vision that is hopeful. And it’s exactly the skill of optimism, this forward focusing, this hopeful, we are all in this together, we can all do this together sort of attitude, this is exactly the skill set that underpins one’s ability to create a vision within organizations. As an aside, Jim Kouzes talks about the importance of vision, but he has also talked about the fact that at times, leaders have difficulty with this particular skill set. So once again we see that those able to create vision, they’re able to do that because they have this broad base of optimism if you will. So I know that that was a lot, now I’m going to get into the American Express work and at this point, rather than giving you a lot of analysis, I’m just going to give you the bottom line impact. So with that said, what we are looking at here is one of the ways that American Express was able to measure the impact of an EI development program. Just by way of context, their development program it spans four operating centers, and in total involved 2,000 leaders, but if you also see in the graph, they also started working on this in 2000 and then finished in 2004 so I don’t mean to imply that all 2,000 people were worked with in that first year, anything like that, so one of the things they were especially proud of with respect to their program it involved both individual emotional intelligence development but also group development, team development. And one of the ways they were able to demonstrate the efficacy of this program was by looking at the overall leadership of their center. And the way that they measured it, as it says on the slide, is by looking at their annual employee survey. And you can clearly see on the graph that their scores moved from roughly 80 percent and then moved up to level off around 90 percent for the remaining years of the program, so they were particularly proud of this result. But American Express is certainly an organization that is very interested, very technically savvy, sophisticated, and very interested in measuring impact in all sorts of ways. And so to measure return on training and investment, they use the Kirkpatrick evaluation method. And for those of you who are not familiar with it, it has a series of levels, so they’re looking for an impact at different levels all the way from did you learn anything in the training level 4 which is did you actually find this training helped you with respect to your business performance. So, with respect to Level 4, they actually were able to get very strong results all the way to level 4, IE showing an improvement in business performance. So specifically, they surveyed people and out of a 5-point scale, the question was how strongly do you agree with the following statement, I have seen an improvement in a business metric due to my work in emotional intelligence development. And the score that they received on that particular question was 4.14 out of the 5, so they were absolutely delighted with that result. One final thing I can tell you about this at the very end of it in 2004 they surveyed just the leaders who had completed the program and subsequently were promoted. One hundred percent of them stated that knowing their emotional intelligence strengths and opportunities helped them in the transition to a higher level role. Lest you think this is all about leadership, I’d now like to give you a very different example. This particular case was presented before a congressional subcommittee but it has also, more of you I believe have probably if you have seen this have seen it written up in the Harvard Business Review. So, the U.S. Air Force used emotional intelligence to explore the skill sets that allowed recruiters, so those are people who bring people into the Air Force, they were trying to understand what skills are necessary to be most successful in that role. The costs associated when people are not successful are, to be honest with you, really quite staggering. First the monetary. It costs about $30,000 each time that a recruiter doesn’t work out. But beyond the monetary costs, the way that the system works is that when you become a recruiter, there’s a strong likelihood that you are going to be moved to a far-flung base to do your work. And not only are you going to be moved, but of course if you have a family, you and your family are going to move. So each time that someone doesn’t work out in that position, there’s a real human cost associated here.
So, not unlike the CCL study, what they did is they divided people into two different performance groups. So they had a top-performing group which they defined as those who are able to achieve 100 percent of their quota. And then they had a low-performing group and these were individuals who achieved 70 percent of their quota or less. So once they were able to identify which emotional intelligence factors conferred a competitive advantage, they did two things. First they created a success profile against which they interviewed people to try to ensure that they were hiring people for the emotional intelligence skills that created the competitive advantage. But they didn’t stop there. They also trained those individuals against those same skills. And over the next 250 people that they hired, not only was that immediate gain $3 million, but their retention rate possibly the more important number because of the human costs that I talked about earlier, their retention rate increased 92 percent. And last but not least, just to give you a snapshot for a variety of industries, so this particular example comes to us from debt collections. So very similar format to what we just saw with the U.S. Air Force. So they were looking at, they had top performers who were able to meet quota required. But the low performers in this case were really quite struggling so they were individuals who were collecting on average 47 percent of their quota. Then what they did, in essence, I’m not suggesting that one study informed another, but they really were using a model similar to what the Air Force was using, so new recruits were both hired against the emotional intelligence areas that again were found to be predictive of success, but they too were also trained in those areas. And the reason I chose this particular study is that in this case, the initial study showed top performers were collecting 100 percent. But when they then hired people with a more competitive skill set, but then also trained those individuals, that two-pronged selection and training, emotional intelligence focused suddenly resulted in a new bar if you will, and now we had top performers achieving 163 percent of quota. So, I hope you share my excitement for this. I just think it goes to show certainly a layered effect if you will, can just have some really magnificent results. And with that, I leave you, I think I share my excitement, but please don’t take it from me, a quote from Jack Welch, of course legendary CEO of general electric. No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.
And with that, I’m going to turn it back to Sarah and ask if any questions have come in at this point?
Hi, Diana.Yes, actually one did. And this question is coming from Jeff, and he wants to know with innovation being such a valuable asset, isn’t resilience increasing in demand as individuals have to be able to try a new thing, fail, and get up and try again?
Jeff, that is just such a wonderful question, and I can tell you, I’ll first state the obvious, I am not an innovation expert by any stretch, but I have been to a number of sessions. There are a lot of emotional intelligence experts who only focus on this specific area. And I think there are two things: One, I think that the workplace is becoming so much more complex. So it only stands to reason your instincts are exactly bang on, that it only stands to reason that these skills are going to become more and more important. Also, just the other day I was reading about a former Olympian who now works in Silicon Valley. I want to say it’s Google, but unfortunately I’m having a momentary brain freeze. I think it was Google though. And the athlete is Emily Hughes. She’s a former figure skater. And Google was saying that they really liked to work with former Olympians or former athletes in general and that the reason for that because, I will go back to figure skating since Emily Hughes was a figure skater, part of her daily life is to fall down and then get back up. There’s nothing abnormal in that world about falling down all the time. That’s the only way that you get better and that for those that can bring that attitude into the workplace, it’s absolutely critical and right now being recognized as a real advantage for employees. So, I love the question. I don’t know that I answered it fully. I hope I at least emphasized just how important I think the question is.
OK, great. Thank you. And we actually don’t have any questions coming in right now. But, attendees, please keep sending your questions and we will answer them at the end then. So, Diana, back to you.
OK, thank you. So, for this last bit, this is going to be, for a lack of a better way to phrase this, this is going to be little bit of a throw some spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. Now in the interest of time, because I spent so much time on the cases, I’m not going to cover everything on the slides. I just want you to have some sense of how the development occurs. Now, like I said, 50 percent of you are already doing it. Hopefully I’ll be able to introduce you to some ideas. I’m going to start with why it’s so important to be able to recognize emotions in the moment. And remember at the beginning of this webinar I said that people who have damage to the emotional centers in the brain also have problems making decisions. Now this is because there’s so much critical information in emotions. And, by the way, if we don’t pay attention to it, then this is to our detriment. Now we’ve all been in situations I’m sure in which we’ve reacted to something where it would have been better, had we not done so. But the converse is actually also true, that I’m sure that we’ve all been in situations in which we failed to act and in hindsight wished that we had done so. So here’s the first step. Emotions express themselves through our thoughts and impulses. But they also express themselves through physical sensations. And each emotion will have its own way of showing up in our bodies and different people will react to the same emotion with very, very different physical sensations. So, I’m going to take stress for example. Some of you will feel it in the form of a headache. Others of you will notice a tension in your neck or shoulders or perhaps experience it as an upset stomach. And by the way, I come across people all the time who still think that these are random stray events and that is definitely not the case. So the whole point is that it stands to reason that if you can be more aware of what you’re feeling sooner, you can better control which impulses you would like to express behaviorally and which ones you would choose not to. Now if this is something that you feel you could use some development on, one way of doing this is to keep a journal of your body reactions and as you record these, honestly ask yourself what message your body is trying to send you. I say this very sincerely that your body often knows your emotions, before your mind does. Another option by the way if you don’t want to be journaling all day, another option is to record your strong emotions and also record the thoughts and the bodily reactions and impulses that accompany them and then try to look for any patterns that might be happening. Now this may not sound like the most fun, if you will, or sound the jazziest, but for a lot of people, systematic exploration is really the only way to get at some of these concepts. I want to make sure I get to the meat of the point, so, I had said earlier that in our brains the neural circuits for the intellect and emotion are separate, but they are able to communicate with one another. So, we have that. But the neural circuitry in the emotional brain is faster than the circuitry in the thinking brain. You may have heard of a structure in the brain called the amygdala, it’s the part of the brain that scans our environment looking for emergencies. And so when it perceives a threat, it instantaneously takes over the brain. In brain research people prefer to use the word, it hijacks the brain. Now this gets you to act quickly before you even have time to think. And in the literature this is called the fight or flight response. So, here’s the challenge: We’re tasked with dealing with such complex social realities but with the brain that is actually trying to react quickly to the first sign of a threat. So for example, somebody gives you well intentioned feedback, you know how this goes, and in response, your brain is screaming that you’re not going to let them speak to you that; why and who do they think they are in the first place; and how dare they; and you’re not going to stand for this. So, the hallmark of an emotional hijack is when you hear people say, honestly I don’t know what I was thinking or they say, I wasn’t thinking, and to be clear, based on the way that our brain is wired, they’re not really kidding, because in a very real way people are not able or think in these sorts of moments. So we just talked about the importance of increasing your awareness of what’s happening in your body as a first step in choosing a more optimal response. Remember that when a stress response happens, our brain is going to release adrenaline and other stress hormones, but, these dissipate literally within 90 seconds. So in other words, in 90 seconds, the automatic response is actually over. So if we can practice things like visualization and deep breathing, and by deep breathing,
by the way, I don’t just mean breathing from your chest, but really breathing from your diaphragm, breathing from your chest actually could make you more anxious. When we do these things we start to give our brain the time to actually inhibit the actions of the amygdala. That’s in essence what we’re trying to do. Then we can consciously make a choice in that space between the time that we feel an emotion and the time that we’re going to express it behaviorally. Now here’s an example of a technique that I personally have been using literally for years. But I recently saw a reference to a similar process in a Harvard Business Review article. That article was specifically talking about anger and they call this process interrupting the do move. Now regardless of whether it’s for anger or any other situation, the point it you start by asking yourself what am I feeling? And the minute you do that, you’re going to release some of the intensity of the emotion. A good metaphor for this is a beach ball. The more that you try to hold it under the water, the more force with which the ball is going to go back and shoot out of the water. So emotions act in exactly the same way. You want to release some of the intensity by first acknowledging it. Once you acknowledge the feeling, you then go and ask yourself what do I want to feel? And finally you ask yourself what do I need to do to move my life forward? What do I need to do to get myself to feel that way? Now, I am not suggesting that this is easy. But I am suggesting that with practice, I have seen this be extremely effective both in a business context and also in personal life. And another way that I would put this is that here’s a technique that I don’t think looks really great on paper but I guarantee you that once mastered this is absolutely, it may look simple but it is absolutely not simplistic. I can assure that it is very powerful. Now I did say earlier that I was going to spend a lot less time talking about the different strategies. I did have a couple of other strategies that I was going to introduce to you and my understanding is that you all have a copy of the slides so you will be able to look into those. I am going to stop here because I am looking at the time and thinking that I would like to address any questions in the little bit of time that we have left. So I will turn it back to Sarah.
Ok, great. Thank you so much. And yes, we do have some time for some questions, so attendees why don’t you go ahead and type those in now and while we wait, let me share a little bit about the program that is the foundation of today’s session. Emotional Intelligence, a Scientifically Proven Method for Developing the Skills of Success introduces the four essential aspects to honing this soft skill. Helping you to confront issues, tackle problems, and manage change and stress with composure and clarity. And you can always review that set for 30 days risk free and don’t forget to use that coupon code you received in your email at HRDQstore.com. OK, why don’t we go ahead and jump into some questions because we do have a number of them coming in.
And it looks like our first one is from Tara and she wants to know which of the four emotional intelligence skill sets are people most lacking?
Oh, Tara, that’s a great question. I will be very honest with you. I have seen people either, I won’t use the word lacking. There could be all kinds of reasons that one needs to develop skills. So as one moves up within the organizational hierarchy a skill that becomes more and more important for example, is dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty. And so I don’t know if lacking is the word I want to use, but it’s possible that one was in a role where things were much more defined, there wasn’t a lot new happening on a day-to-day basis. And so that simply wasn’t a skill. That wasn’t a muscle that one had to flex. So it’s possible then that as you move up, there is an example of a skill that one might choose to develop. That being said, when we talk about the four areas, this is going to be so specific by person. So people are going to be working on all the areas it has to do with your role; it has to do with the skill set that you have right now, it has to do with whether you’re looking to be promoted or what type of role you’re looking to move into next. It’s going to have to do with the context of your business life. Where in the organizational life cycle your company is at will also determine the kinds of skills you need. So this is absolutely something that is tailored to each individual and I honestly couldn’t say that there’s one skill over another that deserves or requires more attention.
OK, perfect. Thank you. And our next question coming in is from Rudy, and he wants to know what strategies can a middle manager use to help positively influence people’s EI skills?
I’m going to take a holistic approach, and Rudy if I’m not answering your question specifically you’re more than welcome to send to HRDQ or send me an email directly. As a general comment, emotional intelligence skills are different from some of the other skills that we have to learn. So, there are certain things in life that, you know if I want to learn something about cooking, at the end of the day, I’m going to actually have to cook something, but, I could read a book to learn about some tools that I may need or some techniques and already my cooking is going to improve. Emotional intelligence is not like that. There are at least four and most people will give you more steps. But there are four critical steps for all of these skills that need to happen. And the first skill is your employees are going to need motivation. That’s the first thing. They’re also going to need the desired skills role played in some way, whether that’s, well not role played, but they are going to need a demonstration. Somebody is going to have to show your employees what is actually expected of them. The third thing, you’re going to need feedback. And that could be through one-on-one coaching; that could be through some of the assessments that we talked about earlier, and then you’re going to need practice over and over and over again. Think of it as flexing a new muscle, and you’re just going to continue to practice and continue to add complexity until the desired skills are to the level that you need them. So certainly from a holistic perspective, that is definitely how I would go about it.
OK well thank you so much for sharing with us today, Diana, and also thank you so much to our attendees for sticking with us for the technical issues that we had in the beginning of the presentation. And Diana, would you like to add anything else for a closing thought?
Only that I would like to say the few development strategies that I pulled were from the training materials that Sarah has been talking about like I said, I encourage you to look at some of the others. Many of them will be self explanatory, and I really encourage you, if you have questions about all of them, let’s use this as the beginning of a conversation, rather than just the end of the webinar. And I would also like to say thank you. Thank you so much, you are such a wonderful group, and it has definitely been my pleasure.
Alright well great, well thank you so much, again, and if we didn’t get to answer your question, you will receive an email response probably mid next week, so we appreciate your time and we hope you found today’s webinar informative.
Research shows people with a high level of awareness and self-control over their emotions are better able to confront difficult issues and manage change with composure. But did you know emotional intelligence can also lead to greater success in the workplace? The good news is it’s a skill that can be improved—that is, with the proper training and practice.
Join us for an hour-long webinar that will show you how to develop emotional intelligence in individuals. We’ll explore the four vital components, including intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, adaptability, and resilience. We’ll also discuss strategies for continuous improvement, conflict resolution techniques, and transitioning through change with ease. You’ll leave with a clear-cut plan for targeting emotional intelligence in your organization—and some helpful ideas for your personal development too!
Participants Will Learn
- What emotional intelligence is—and why it’s important to today’s organizations.
- The four vital aspects of emotional intelligence.
- How emotional intelligence can improve performance and success in the workplace.
- How to create an emotional intelligence development plan.
Who Should Attend
- Managers and team leaders
- Organization development professionals
- Human resources managers
- Management consultants
Diana Durek is a leadership development specialist with an emphasis on emotional intelligence and personal change. Prior to this, she spent 11 years with a leading, global psychological test publisher. There, she worked with clients as diverse as the U.S. Air Force, American Express, and Air Canada, building evidence-based models for predicting individual and organizational performance.
Diana holds an M.S. in Organization Development from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Corporate Learning and Development, a joint program between the Graduate School of Education and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
For more than 35 years, HRDQ has been a trusted developer of experiential learning resources that help to improve the performance of individuals, teams, and organizations. It offers a wide range of reliable, research-based corporate training materials for soft-skills and HR training and development.