Event Date: 04/01/2015 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
SARAH SHAFER: Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace and Beyond, hosted by HRDQU, 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 be answering questions as they come in live at the end of the presentation or as a follow-up by email. My name is Sarah Shafer and I will moderate today’s webinar.
Diana Durek 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 diverse as 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 a hugely warm welcome to everyone on this call today. You are a very diverse group. You are also, by the way, congratulations, a very large group, so welcome.
I’d like to start just by situating this particular webinar within the context of what’s been happening at HRDQU recently. Back in January some of you will remember I conducted a webinar that introduced the concept of emotional intelligence and the strong business case that exists for organization. Then a couple of weeks ago Dr. Steve Stein spent the bulk of his time with you discussing the emotional intelligence of specific people that we all know from business, politics. He also talked about some television character. By the way, if you missed any of these and you would like to hear them, you can also access those through HRDQU.
Today what I’m going to do is focus on adding to our understanding of emotional intelligence skills and how to develop them. I appreciate that this is not readily apparent from this slide, but this agenda and this is our agenda. We will follow it in this order. I’m going to touch on the forming areas of emotional intelligence and I will show you that shortly and then in the third part, I’m going to introduce a personal change model for emotional intelligence development. And while the title of this webinar is taken directly from HRDQ’s reproducible training library, you’re going to see that the operative word in emotional intelligence development is change rather than improve. And right off the bat I also see a number of questions coming in about whether the slides were sent out in advance for this particular webinar, and the answer to that question is no. And I do appreciate and I’m sorry around any inconvenience, but I actually broke with protocol specifically and asked HRDQU to not send out the slides in advance and that’s because a number of the exercises I’m going to do with you they simply aren’t going to work if you see the slides in advance, so, I do apologize if it creates an inconvenience and I absolutely hope that the insight garnered from some of these activities will be worth the trouble. You will of course receive the slides afterwards.
For those of you who are new to emotional intelligence, our understanding of neuroscience is really critical to understanding EI. Now if you look at how the brain is wired, we have this large cortical structure on the outside and this particular area is very much around executive decision making and memory storage. And then further down in the brain, there’s an area called the amygdala which is the seat of what is called the fight or flight response. And it’s our emotional reactor. It’s the part that calls on other aspects of our bodies, emotions and brains to be able to respond to immediate situations. The amygdala is an incredibly fast processor and we wouldn’t be here as animals on this planet without it because this processor is what allows us to react quickly to dangerous situations. The cortical area on the other hand is very much a slow processor. One thing that is very clear is that human beings feel before we think. Our reactions come before any kind of thought. Critical information is contained in emotion, and if we ignore it, it means we’re making decisions without all of the information at our disposal. There’s a related idea here, and that’s that everything that’s stored in our brain is also stored emotionally in addition to the information that’s attached to it. If I say the word delay, especially if we’re at an airport, you would have an automatic emotional association. It’s called valence and we have to understand this in order to understand how to improve decision-making processes.
The reason this is critical is because we sometimes try to believe that how we’re holding information, so whether that’s information we’ve collected ourselves or information coming from others, we tend to hold the belief that we’re completely rational in terms of our understanding of that. And the way that our brain is wired, that would truly have to be a myth. We are always processing information at an emotional and a cognitive level. And the past 25 years of neuroscience and the advent of functional MRIs have pretty much eradicated the myth of rationality as we colloquially understand it.
So, emotional intelligence is about bringing emotion to intelligence and conversely bringing intelligence to emotion. Our focus today is on the end of the definition that’s on your screen. So we’re going to spend all of our time talking about using our emotions to guide our thinking and actions. The approach that I’ll take is to discuss our thoughts and actions within the EI model that’s on your screen. If you’re using another model in your organization, the point to remember is that all EI models cover at least to some extent how individuals identify and manage emotions in themselves and others and focus energy on the required behaviors. This particular model is the one that HRDQ uses in their reproducible training materials, but please don’t worry if you use another model. This hour will be just as relevant.
What I’m going to do first is go to the bottom left-hand corner and start with adaptability. Adaptability has to do with coping with ever-changing demands and pressures. And the reason I’m starting here is because I mean really, what is business if not a series of constantly changing demands and pressures. Let’s explore adaptability. I’m going to ask you to open up your question function and tell me what you see on your screen please. And I did mention by the way that you are a large group. I’m going to scroll very quickly and try to pick out answers that are different. So the first thing I see, a sad man. The word love. Face, I have to actually go back and see that. Face, profile, person, a woman, a man, and then we have a series of responses, a number of you also see the word liar. For those of you who didn’t see the work liar, it’s written diagonally from the top left to the bottom right. Seeing this requires some flexibility. And you can think of flexibility as the opposite of our need for certainty.
So let’s try another one. How many numbers do you see here? I’m scrolling down, I’m still getting questions to the previous one, or answers I should say. OK, I have one, one, two, zero, four, three, five. Now those of you who said four or five and actually as I scroll down even further, someone else was ingenious and said four letters, I also see someone said six. So for those of you who gave the answers of four, five and six, can you also tell me exactly what constituted that answer? What numbers did you see? Alright so most of you, as I scroll down, all of you saw the written word for starters. Then we have the Roman numerals, a number of you caught this. The Roman numeral for one, four and also five. So we’re already up to four. And this one is likely for the math majors. I will absolutely acknowledge that I had to look this up. I didn’t know it in advance, but clearly some of you have a background in math and were able to catch this, for math majors, you might also know that E is an important mathematical concept. It’s something like pi, it’s approximately 2.718 and some change. Like I said, obviously I’m not a math major, but my point here is why do most of us, not all of us, most of us only see the face and the word five.
According to Ellen Langer, and she is just Harvard social psychology professor extraordinaire, she is also know to many as the mother of mindfulness, and according to her, this is the way the world starts out for us. So at first we don’t even know that it’s a face or that five is an Arabic number, but once somebody labels it as such for us, we’re no longer able to see it any other way. One of her arguments is almost all of what we think we know is wrong, in at least some context. For example, take the statement that heroin is dangerous. Now think about how the statement changes in the context of a dying patient experiencing intolerable pain. So when Langer refers to mindfulness, and I highly encourage you to read her material by the way, she’s not referring to something that includes meditation. When she refers to mindfulness it’s to a process of actively noticing new things. Now she acknowledges and I certainly acknowledge this may sound simple, but it’s a very useful concept, very powerful concept, to keep in mind as we attempt to cope with ever changing demands and pressure.
The next activity comes to us care of David Copperfield. For those of you who don’t know, he is an illusionist. I believe that right now he is in Las Vegas. What I’d like you to do is choose one of the cards on the screen and then I’m going to try to make the card that you chose disappear. So please remember the card that you choose. So as part of this, I’ve seen David Copperfield do this, says you need to look deeply into his eyes in order for this to work, but I’m going to take my chances here that this will work, and if I need any help I am going to call on Sarah our assistant, of course known to you as our expert webinar producer, for some help. So here we go. Again, using the question function, what happened? First off, did your card disappear? OK. So we have, well this is a fairly astute group, perhaps many of you know David Copperfield. So let me first address some of you simply answered no, your card didn’t go away and then I’m going to say roughly about half of you said yes your card went away. But so many of you also noticed that the way that it works, that in fact all of the cards were swapped out. But here’s the thing. I’m going to assume that I’m not so completely different from at least some of you on this call. I actually had to try this three times, if I’m being very honest. I just didn’t see it. Because it’s not until you move beyond the perspective that only your card vanished, it’s not until you move beyond that that you can actually figure this out. So for many people we don’t see what’s right in front of us or in this case what’s immediately to the left and to the right. In organizations this is also referred to as tunnel vision. I’m going to pause there for a second and I will also say while scrolling through the questions someone asked for the name of this researcher and it’s Ellen Langer and she is out of Harvard.
Let me give you another example that Ellen Langer uses, meaning her concept, but my example. The other day a close friend of mine, a lawyer, she finishes a call at home, but she’s doing this call on her landline. And the minute she finishes the call, she puts the handset in her purse. Big purse, obviously. Langer makes the point that mindlessness is not stupidity though. I can tell you it was pretty funny when my friend later opened her purse to take out this gargantuan phone. But the point that Langer makes is that my friend’s automatic behavior would have made sense if she had been using a cell phone in the first place. And this is how it goes with automatic behavior. It makes sense at some point. So we take it without questioning it, and then we use it over and over, but things are slowly changing. And that’s why we’re oblivious to the change so that at some point the behavior that made sense, no longer does. So they key point is that we’re unaware of when we’re mindless. But the good news, and a number of you demonstrated this, truly expertly with the last exercise, the good news is that we can do things to encourage mindfulness. So for example when you saw Roman numerals within the written word five, you were combining the category of Roman numerals with the category of Arabic numerals. And making new categories, and Dr. Langer would define this as an example of mindfulness. So now with mindlessness, or mindfulness as a backdrop, I’d like to get more specific about how emotions affect our brain by taking a look at our inherent biases.
If you think about biases, they lead us to recognize that there are things that get in the way of us as individuals when we try to make effective decisions. Now the most pervasive bias we possess is confirmation bias. We’re much more oriented to proving what we already know than going out to find disproving or invalidating information. Another way to put this is we actively seek information in order to demonstrate that we’re right. Another personal bias we possess is selective perception. This is where we focus on a single attribute, so something that we’re familiar with and then we ignore others. Stereotypes are very much oriented to selective perception. Stereotypes are rigid perceptions that we hold; they’re also overgeneralizations we use based on very small bits of information. The next one on your slide is the halo effect. This is a bias in which we take a single attribute and overgeneralize that attribute to describe a person. And where I’ve seen this a great deal is in hiring interviews where, for example, an interviewee may have attended the same school as the interviewer so the interviewer assumes certain positive things about the candidate and potentially ignores other potentially damaging or negative traits. And the last one, projection bias is where we take our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and traits, and attribute them to others. We look at a piece of data and we think that when others look at a piece of data, they think the same way we do.
With biases, one of the best tools we have for dealing with them is scanning, going out and consciously looking for information. Scanning also involves effectively leveraging our social environment. I simply mean the people around us who are in essence extensions of us. Obviously we can’t be everywhere and we can’t know everything. What do I mean by this? Let’s take a sales manager reviewing sales forecasts from their team. The manager needs to get to know the inherent biases of each team member. Some are typically going to overinflate the forecast, and the likelihood of business coming in. Some are going to be pretty much dead on. And others are going to be too pessimistic. If the sales manager can come to understand this about every team member, they become much better at using information from the team as an extension of their own individual scanning. It’s critical in every organization, and obviously not just in sales. I’ll take a more general example. The stronger a leader’s capacity to gather and understand information and recognize the inherent biases of those who are closer to the customer who gave them the information in the first place, the better able they are to integrate those data for better decisions. And we could continue on here with examples from literally every position in a company. Since I’m sure you get the idea, I’m now going to move on to discuss resilience.
If you remember from that aspect from the emotional intelligence slide, resilience is just another aspect of our four quadrants EI model and if I’m going to define resilience for you it has to do with effectively bouncing back from setbacks. And so to start, I’m going to ask you a question. When you graduated from college, this may be at the time or even if you look back on it now, when you graduated from college or you had any kind of success academically, what kinds of things did you attribute your success to? All right, and I thank you by the way. I just cannot believe how long it took me to scroll down and see just how many answers there were to the previous question, so thank you so much. I’m going to go through and give you a sense of what I see. For starters, one of the most common responses: Hard work. I also see proper planning. Studying, hard work and diligence, luck, innate intelligence, strong work ethics, persistence. Oh here’s a very interesting one: Studying and observing others. Very nice. Never giving up spirit. The education I received; help from others and sticking it out. Easy classes, scholarship foundation, family support, having a degree, my professors, good mentors, self motivation, commitment, passion, burning desire, Jesus, family genes, security, teamwork. If I look at your responses, very roughly, and because there’s so many of them I actually can’t see all of them at once, and even if I could it’s difficult for me to exactly concentrate on what I’m saying and do a quick analysis of your responses, but here’s what I can do even off the top of my head. I can clearly put some of your responses into the optimistic perspective and some into the pessimistic perspective. And very loosely put, a number of you really focused on things related to your own abilities and then there’s a large group of responses that have to do with recognizing external circumstances that were very helpful to you.
Let me now try to bring some analytic perspective to this. For those of you who are not familiar with Seligman, Martin Seligman, he’s out of the University of Pennsylvania, he is truly at the forefront of the study of optimism. His book is called Learned Optimism. The book truly spreads knowledge of optimism and its importance, not just in the workplace, but also in life in the same way that Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, spread the knowledge of emotional intelligence. According to Seligman, the difference between optimism and pessimism can be explained by a person’s explanatory style. Explanatory style has three dimensions: permanent, pervasiveness and personalization. Let me define these for you first and then I’ll give some examples of how it actually works.
Permanence- Optimistic people view setbacks or failure always as temporary, while pessimistic people are going to see setbacks as being more permanent. In addition, optimists are going to connect negative events to temporary causes, while pessimistic people have a tendency to believe the cause is permanent. If we flip this, optimists associate positive events with permanent causes and pessimists associate them with temporary causes.
Now I’m going to move to pervasiveness. Optimistic people have this tendency where they’re able to keep setbacks separate from the rest of their life. A setback in one part of their job or life doesn’t mean that their entire life or job is a failure, but pessimists are exactly the opposite. One bad event means that their whole life or their whole job is a failure.
And then the last one, personalization, optimistic people attribute positive events to their own abilities-– a number of you did that in response to the last question- and negative events to external circumstances. Now again, pessimistic people are just the opposite. They attribute negative events to themselves and positive events to external circumstances. So again this research would suggest that for those who focus disproportionately on explaining your academic success through external circumstances, Martin Seligman’s work would suggest that you fall more into the optimistic bucket.
Let me give you a specific example. Let’s take what’s for many a very unfortunate situation. Let’s say that you get laid off. According to this theory, how do you explain it to yourself? The optimist is going to look at this negative event and basically believe it’s just a temporary setback, so that’s the permanence part. They also believe it’s just one part of their life, this part admittedly it’s not as great as it could be; that’s the pervasiveness part. And then they reason that it’s partly due to a poor economy, so there’s really no need to take this layoff personally.
The pessimist has a very different view. The pessimist, although convinced that the positive stuff isn’t going to last, they think that the negative will last forever. And although the positive event wasn’t pervasive, this negative event is. And although you wouldn’t take any credit for the positive event, the negative event is totally your fault. And now because the theory has different interactions when something positive happens versus when something negative happens.
Now what I’d like you to do is imagine that something good happens at work. So, whatever qualifies for you as positive in your business world. If you’re a pessimist, you think that the good fortune is not going to last. Again, that’s permanence. You also think that it doesn’t apply to the rest of your life, that’s the pervasiveness part. It’s because you got lucky. That’s personalization. If you’re an optimist, you’re going to have a tendency to see it the other way around. So the good fortune is probably going to last. It’s just another example of how everything is just awesome in your life and it’s probably the result of all the hard work that you’ve put in for quite a while. Optimism is associated with old manner of better life and business results. And we’re going to explore one aspect of optimism specific tied of performance in the very next section.
So with this segue and for the remaining time that we have, I’m going to focus on the steps that people need to go through in order to make successful changes in their lives. You might wonder what does this have to do with emotional intelligence. EI development is about attitude and behavior change and research suggests that there are very specific steps that need to occur in order for this type of change to be successful. The success of this process is directly tied to emotion. That too has a relevance to EI of course. And you’ll see it has direct implications for performance. And keep in mind, I’m talking about your own performance here, but of course this is an approach you could take to develop others if that’s a part of your workplace role or perhaps even the other roles that you play in your life.
One more question for you: This one I will ask you for some synthesizing activity in the question section in a minute. First I’d like you if you could grab a scrap piece of paper or quickly open up a window on your computer. Here’s what I’d like you to do: Think of a person or people who have helped you the most in your life and career. So, think of your whole life and answer the question, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now today without (blank). I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for (blank). Who are the people that you think of? I’ll just give you a minute to list their names on your piece of paper or computer. Now I appreciate that was a very short moment, given that I am asking you to think back, but perhaps as I give the next instruction some other people will continue to bubble up for you. Now what I’d like you to do is think of a moment that you had with each of the people on your list. I understand that you probably had many moments with these people, but there are certain key moments that will pop into your head, moments that are very salient. So try to think of one that seems to be important to you and jot down a couple of words that will help you remember what the person said or did in that moment. And again, I’ll give you a very quick moment for that. All right, and here’s where it is certainly not mandatory, but for those of you who feel so inclined I will invite you to write your answer into the question function. So, what I’d like you to do for the third part is write down a note or two on what you learned or took away from the experience. You might not have learned it right in the moment, you might have actually learned this later on when you reflected back on the experience and this individual. But what is it you took away from your experiences? And like I said, if you feel like sharing what you leaned, by all means please do so.
All right, I just need to scroll down. Here are some of the responses I’m seeing: Go for it; give things time; support; reliability; emotional support; strength; independence. I leaned that I needed to prepare myself to support myself and be responsible. Never quit. May the job be big or small, do it right or not at all. Learned that it was important. Every mistake is a learning experience. Live by design, not by default. By the way, this isn’t related to this question, but my eyeball just caught from the earlier question when you were talking about attributing your academic success I see that somebody wrote down my wife/queen. I just thought that was such an awesome answer that I needed to acknowledge it. Anyhow, going back to your answers here, this is just a wonderful list. Thank you so much. It’s obviously so much richer if we can learn from the wonderful wisdom within this group. Think about things from multiple perspectives. Don’t be too rash. I’m a good person. You always have a choice. Keep at it. Don’t quit. Integrity through transparency always pays off. A desire to learn more and improve my skills and knowledge. Opens my thinking. Mother taught me that practice doesn’t make you perfect; it makes you better. To respect other’s point of view and opinion. So proud of you. Unconditional love. Pay it forward. Stay positive. Keep moving forward. I am worthwhile. Kill them with kindness. Include others. You are like Dorothy, you always had the answers inside you. Made me figure out and trust myself. Last one: My parents, dad, my hero, and mom, shero.
Just such a really incredible list. And I’d like to make an observation. When most people do this exercise, and it may even be that because we’re in a webinar format, in fact, even though I know what outcome I was looking for, it might have just happened to me more than for the rest of you because I’m actually seeing the answers on the screen. When most people do this exercise, they talk about being filled with a sense of gratitude. Some people will report that they feel increased clarity and many people will say they have this paradoxical combination of on the one hand being serene, but they’re also really excited and inspired.
If you had any of this range of feelings you were starting to enter what is called the parasympathetic nervous system arousal. And this system involves things like lowering your blood pressure. These are real physiological changes. And this is the major process your body has to help itself renew. And we’re going to talk about this a little more shortly, but just by talking about the people who have helped you, and in my case reading about these individuals, the effect on us is that we’re cognitively at our very best.
When we look at the research on how people make successful personal and professional changes in their lives, we see that they don’t do so in smooth continuous ways. Instead there are always these episodic fits and starts if you will. In complexity theory it’s referred to as moments of emergence, and when you look at how people have these moments of emergence, or discoveries as they tend to be called in the leadership community, and on this slide some people prefer to call them epiphanies. One of the things that becomes clear is that when people sustainably change their behaviors or ways of looking at the world, they progress through the five sequential stages that you have on your screen.
The first stage is the ideal self. This is the sense of what you once had of life. The kind of person you want to be, the virtues you used to demonstrate. The ideal self doesn’t always mean change by the way. It could include the parts of yourself that you honor now and want to ensure that you maintain. Remember that this approach is for all behavior change and in the case of EI development one way to do this is to envision what your life would look like if you were more emotionally intelligent, so what would be different for you if you were more emotionally intelligent? If you have a vision, a sense of your desired self, you become eligible for the next stage. Let me be clear, without a vision, the research suggests that you will not be successful in moving ahead and making lasting changes. So whatever change might occur in the absence of a vision is actually random. If you have a vision, you are eligible for the second stage, which is really how am I coming across to others? It’s a simultaneous comparison where you’re generating a sense of your strengths and also your weaknesses. And some people refer to this one as a personal balance sheet. If you have a sense of your personal balance sheet, then you can move on to the third stage which is the development of the learning agenda. It sounds simple but it can be actually a little bit tricky because of our history with some of these concepts. So let me define this specifically for you. A learning agenda is a set of a few things that you really look forward to doing and trying. It’s self directed and so it’s not the same as a performance improvement plan. And that’s the place where sometimes it can get a little bit tricky for people. The fourth stage is the actual metamorphosis, the trying out of new things, new behaviors, new feelings, new thoughts, and then repeatedly practicing the ones that actually work for you. And then the fifth stage is the establishment of close warm relationships that are going to support you throughout your development. And I did say that these are sequential and it is true the first four are completely sequential, but I likely should have had an arrow pointing back to all of the earlier steps from number 5 because of course this development of these trusting, supportive relationships this is necessary to support your development throughout the entire process. I’m talking about self development as self as being directed by you but that certainly does not mean that you’re not using the support of other individuals throughout your process.
Now the next slide is going to bring some analytic sense to this for us. So once again I’m going to borrow a concept from Complexity Theory. There are two attractors inside each of us that pull us toward them: the positive emotional attractor and the negative emotional attractor. The positive emotional attractor occurs when the parasympathetic nervous system is aroused and emphasis is placed on future possibility, hope and strength in order to move forward. Now conversely, the negative emotional attractor is evoked when the sympathetic nervous system, and you can think of the sympathetic nervous system as the classic stress response. The negative emotional attractor is evoked when we’re under stress and the focus then is anchored in problems and fear. So the PEA involves thinking in different parts of the brain than the NEA. Think of PEA as thinking as your ideal self and your vision rather than your actual self. So it’s the difference between thinking about your strengths versus your weaknesses, focusing on the future rather than the past, a feeling of hope rather than fear, possibilities versus problems, optimism versus pessimism. In the PEA people are focused on a learning agenda while in the NEA they’re focused on performance improvement plans. Why do I keep bringing up performance improvement plans? More often than not, in a performance improvement plan, people feel imposed upon. It’s like somebody told them to do something and now they have to prove themselves. And what happens is that oftentimes the stress response gets stimulated. And that’s why in a high percentage of cases, performance improvement plans actually lead to performance going down because we inadvertently stimulate the stress response. The difference between the PEA and NEA becomes really important because what the longitudinal studies on adults who have made successful changes tell us and what we saw on the previous slide is that sustainable change doesn’t start in the negative. It starts in the positive and more to the point, it has to start, it always starts in the positive. You do have to spend a little bit of time in the negative, and I’ll explain that in a minute. But you start by cognitively opening up your neural circuits. And only afterwards do you need to enter the NEA in order to stress yourself and this helps you to adapt. If you only go into to PEA, that’s not helpful either because then you feel perfect and you feel like there’s no reason to change. But if you start in the negative it becomes very tough. You feel really stressed out and your neural circuits are closing down and your mind is closing off possibilities and you will have a tendency to give up. The research really says that you need to go through both emotional attractors. If you only stay with your strengths, you’re committing yourself to recycling. But here’s the thing, while we need both, the proportion has to be much more heavily weighted to the PEA for neurological and hormonal reasons which I’m going to discuss next. Also for emotional reasons which you’ll also see on the next slide.
The challenge is that, left to our own devices, stress is going to be the default and remember when I say stress, I’m saying we’ve activated the sympathetic nervous system. Here’s sort of a backdrop to this. Each of us has about 8-12 stress episodes a day. I’m not talking about the tear-your-hair-out kind of stress. That’s acute stress. I’m talking about the uncomfortable gnawing stress such as when somebody cuts you off in traffic. These stress episodes set off your sympathetic nervous system. So the most important part of the consequence is that first your brain starts to systematically shut down its nonessential neural circuits, so you’re not as open to or in touch with as many parts of your brain. You actually can’t access what you know. Second you’ve disengaged your immune system and stopped creation of new neurons so you actually can’t learn. In other words, when you are in chronic stress, you are actually starting to close down. The alternative to engaging the sympathetic nervous system is engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. Here we have a different neural circuitry being activated and a different set of hormones and endocrines get secreted. This lowers your blood pressure and engages your immune system and generally speaking it helps you to function cognitively at your best. Now the research is abundantly clear that what happens when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated is that you are more open to new ideas and noticing other people and their feelings and in this state you’re able to process information intellectually because your cognitive functioning is at its best.
In addition in this state you can experience neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is simply the growth of new neural tissue, which can happen in any one of us as adults at any time in our lives. And this is the key to deep learning because, at its simplest, learning is the creation of new neural pathways. So I think you can see that engaging the parasympathetic nervous system ends up becoming an absolutely vital part of the change process. When you apply a process that’s designed around getting people to access the positive emotional attractor, you get sustainable behavior change. Now why is that? It’s because of the physiological processes I just talked about. I do want to be clear. I am not saying this is easy. But if you negatively construct the goal, you don’t get anywhere. It’s a to-do list. It deals with the ought to’s or some of you might refer to it as the shoulds. But really, I ask you a question around this: When was the last time that you changed because somebody told you to? So what this research and your experiences tell us is that if we start in the PEA, so if we start by engaging our vision and dreams by engaging our strength, but thinking ahead to what we want out of life and the kind of person we want to be, then one of the things that starts to happen is the we bring ourselves into the PEA and we start to discover things that we really want to do. So herein lies the critical difference between this and performance improvement. Nobody can tell you what you need to do. Personal change and of course we’re talking specifically about EI development, this can only be self development. It’s guided by you. It’s guided by your vision and your goals. Keep in mind though that this chronic day-to-day stress of life, these 8-12 stress episodes a day, can wreak havoc on your body and your mind and your spirit. So to sustain yourself, you need to enter into renewal. You need to engage the parasympathetic nervous system every day. So among other things, like we just did, you can remember those people who inspired you as one way of getting yourself charged up. Now this short list that you have in front of you lists several ways known from the research to enter into parasympathetic nervous system arousal. I’m going to give you another example.
There’s a wonderful piece of research that talks about a CEO who regularly wrote thank you notes to employees. Obviously this paid dividends in and of itself, but this CEO did it not only to so something for employees, but as a way of invoking the parasympathetic nervous system for himself through using gratitude. Earlier I described it as this paradoxical feeling of simultaneously feeling serene yet also feeling energized and alert. And I’d love to hear from you what are some other things that you’re doing right now or perhaps you’d like to try that you feel would invoke the parasympathetic nervous system? And I also see by the way, thank you so much to one of you, you were saying in fact the person, the CEO that I am speaking of is from Campbell’s, and I actually did not know that. So, thank you so much. So any other ways that you have found … So we have volunteering, absolutely. One of you earlier in your notes mentioned that this work comes from Richard Boyatzis. Thank you for prompting me to mention the wonderful work of Richard Boyatzis and his colleagues Dan Goleman and Annie McKee. And I mention this because I’m, when you talk about volunteering, Richard Boyatzis talks about this in terms of compassion. He doesn’t talk about compassion in the western sense meaning feeling for those in pain, he talks about it in the Confucian sense, so, reaching out to others and so there’s this notion that people don’t just understand one another, they actually care about others. So volunteering, a wonderful example. Another one here, we have recalling personal achievements. Someone else wrote exercise and actually as I scroll down further I should know that so many of you have become very involved in these webinars and a number of you have mentioned exercise. I want to mention that exercise works to activate the parasympathetic nervous system when it is moderate exercise. When you do high intensity exercise, it can actually stress you out. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that high intensity exercise is not good for you. For any of you who are highly into fitness, I’m waiting for a whole slew of answers on the importance of intensity interval training. But my focus here is expressly to talk about ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system in an attempt to ward off the stress response.
So some of your other answers that are just so wonderful: share complements and smile, exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, again I see volunteering. Someone here wrote that your company uses pride cards. Spending time with children, play, what a wonderful thing. So much research is being done around the concept of play. Helping a friend, prayer, journaling three positive experiences each day, spiritual nourishment, attitude of gratitude. Someone asked, Richard who? Boyatzis. Gardening, caring for animals, tai chi, essential oils, music, acupuncture. Love a pet. Humor, watching a sunset, positive speaking, laughter, coloring or painting.
All right, I see that time is of the essence, but this is just an absolutely wonderful list and I encourage you to think about these things and incorporate these practices into your work daily. And like I said, my focus here is because it ultimately leads to all the positive outcomes with respect to workplace performance and well being. There are other webinars that expressly focus on well being, but here’s the thing. This isn’t only about well being, which I would submit would be enough in and of itself, but it’s that these things ultimately lead to better performance because of all the physiological processes that I talked about. So let me move to our very last slide to end our session.
Here’s our final question for today at least and you might think that I’ve switched topics, but I promise you that I have not. I would just invite you one final time to share what you can. The reason I’m asking this question, one, we’re a very large group today, but we also represent a very wide range of industries and an incredible amount of expertise. And I thought it would be great for you to see the valuable work that your colleagues are doing in emotional intelligence. You don’t have to give away any company secrets here, just to the extent that you can share what you can share.
So I’m seeing human resources and talent development, customer service, personal growth, leadership development, empathy, organizational development, coaching, training, conflict resolution, wellness, challenges, parenting, and about every third one is leadership development. Let me wrap up by saying just that list, and I, so thank you, the answers are coming in, supervision, crouching silos, apprentices and trainees, with the new generation you have to give a pat for them to see the instant success. I can see, you can hear the expertise and potential on this call is incredible. And more to the theoretical point I’m trying to make, it’s inspiring. And I sincerely hope that you find it as inspiring as I do. And I appreciate I haven’t left time for questions, but as you know, HRDQU is terrific at following up on every single question. I will make sure every question you submitted gets answered and you will receive those answers next week. And in the meantime, with this incredible list, it’s actually still coming in, I wish you the very best in this incredibly, I mean clearly from this list, this incredibly valuable work that you’re doing and with that I will turn it over to Sarah, who is now our webinar producer extraordinaire once again, rather than David Copperfield’s assistant.
SARAH: All right, thank you. That was great. And listed on that slide is Diana’s contact information (Diana.email@example.com) so you can always contact her after the session. And we do not have time for that live Q and A, but I’m going to leave the question box open so, attendees go ahead and type those in now. And while we wait for those questions to come in let me share a little bit about the program that is the foundation of today’s session. Available as a classroom training program and a self-study e-learning program, Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence is a full speed of unlimited use. Contents that are downloadable, customizable, and reproducible. It’s a one-time purchase and yours to reproduce as needed. And for a limited time both will be on sale for 50 percent off, and also for HRDQU we are excited to announce that we are hosting the first-ever five-day ROI bootcamp at the end of April and you can always go ahead and register for that on HRDQU.com. So, Diana would you just like to add any final thoughts before we go ahead and wrap up this session?
DIANA: One thing I have learned is how distracted I can get by your responses. I’m going to leave you with something that came from one of you that I hope whether you have children or not I hope is inspiring: Catch your child doing things right.
SARAH: Alright, great. Thank you. And that’s all the time we have for today. And if we did not have to time to get to your question, you will receive an emailed response, probably mid next week. So we appreciate your time and we hope you found today’s webinar informative.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to comprehend your emotions and to manage them effectively. It helps you say the right thing and accurately judge how the other person is reacting. It encompasses self-awareness (knowing what you are feeling when you are feeling it) as well as self-regulation (using your emotions to serve you, not get in the way). It also involves motivation (delaying gratification to pursue important goals), empathy (sensing what others are feeling) and social skills (interacting with others
comfortably, cooperating, negotiating, persuading, leading).
Sign up now for a webinar that will teach participants the impact of Emotional Intelligence and its impact on the workplace and beyond.
Participants Will Learn
- Develop your level of emotional intelligence
- Identify negative consequences of unmanaged emotions on your personal effectiveness
- Describe the importance of emotional intelligence to building good relationships
- Increase your empathy and social skills
- Practice techniques to achieve greater self-awareness, self-control, and self-motivation
- Understand how emotional intelligence can be applied at the workplace to enhance employee relationships and increase productivity
Who Should Attend
- Organization development professionals
- Human resources professionals
- Supervisors and managers
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 withclients 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.