I’m excited to share my best tips for bringing out the best in your people. Register for this FREE webinar today.
EQ is emotional intelligence, or how smart we are with the human connection – in other words, how effectively we manage ourselves and our relationships. In fact, in the workplace, EQ is more than twice as predictive of performance than IQ. And 80-90% of the professional competencies that differentiate top performance are related to emotional intelligence.
Study after study has proven the benefits of EQ. For companies that have implemented training on emotional intelligence, they have seen phenomenal returns on their investment. Thousands to millions of dollars saved, through increased productivity, increased sales, improved customer service, and better decision making.
Some of the return on investment has ranged as high as 1000%.
The power of emotional intelligence makes sense. After all, any organization is the coordinated efforts of a group of people, trying to meet the needs of another group of people, the customers.
Every organization achieves its goals through a series of daily conversations, interactions, and decisions. Each of these involves the humans and the more emotionally intelligent they are, the more effective they will be on every level.
In addition to developing your own EQ and those on your team, you can help your organization develop its emotional intelligence too. But how do you do this when an organization is a thing, not a person?
It’s all about the people. An organization’s EQ is always a function of the emotional intelligence of the people holding key leadership positions.
If your top leadership is not emotionally intelligent, you’ll need to begin with raising their consciousness about the value of EQ. This is a process of education and persuasion. Luckily, there’s lots of good data out there on the benefits of emotional intelligence and several companies have publicly shared the ROI they have seen.
But first, find your tribe. I recommend that you work with other emotionally intelligent people to carry this message forward together. Strategize about how and when you can raise awareness, and create a plan that you intentionally execute together.
It may take some time, but you’ll be able to make a strong business case for the benefits of developing more emotional intelligence in your organization, especially if you leverage key metrics that matter to your top executives.
If you’re lucky, your top executives already have high EQs and are committed to leading with emotional intelligence, driving it throughout the organization. If you have buy in at the top, then your focus will be assessing where the organization needs to improve.
No matter how receptive your leaders are, the following strategies can help you make a sound case for focusing on emotional intelligence.
First, identify areas that need attention. Perhaps your organization struggles with conflict, or could enhance its appreciation of diversity. Maybe a few key leaders need to develop their confidence or leadership skills, or worse, you are losing some of your top talent. The goal is to have a frank and honest look at what’s not working for the purpose of finding ways to improve.
Next, propose a plan for raising your organization’s EQ. Focus on the areas you identified and design some action steps for addressing the issues. Research has shown that emotional intelligence can be learned so consider how you can leverage training and coaching to help people improve.
In my years of consulting, I have helped organizations implement EQ training and it always proves to be the most powerful in terms of changing the culture. When managers are more emotionally intelligent, they create better engagement among the employees. When teams have higher EQ, they increase their collaboration and innovation as well as make better decisions. All good stuff.
Your proposal will be strongest if you can find clear data that supports your analysis and can calculate concrete ROI on implementing your ideas. And you’ll want to partner with other EQ leaders to create momentum for the proposal. Some well placed advocates can do wonders for creating needed change.
Third, take a snapshot before you implement the plan. This will serve as your measuring stick against which you can show progress. Gather some meaningful data about the current status of the issue you’re tackling. That way, you can demonstrate the effects of your efforts.
Fourth, focus on one thing at a time. You might be tempted to implement several sweeping changes at once. While this can certainly bring about change, it will be harder later to know which change created the best results. Certainly be strategic about the order you roll things out, but do them one at a time. You’ll gain more credibility if you can confidently demonstrate positive results, and this will create more momentum for the next stage of your plan.
Finally, demonstrate your successes with statistics and stories. Collect both anecdotal evidence and quantitative data to show the results of your plan. I have found that it’s most effective to use them together. Show some statistical data and then demonstrate it with a quote or story from a real person. People naturally connect to the human experience–using stories will help you bring your success to life and also role model emotional intelligence.
When you raise the EQ of an organization (whether it’s a business, school, non-profit or government agency), the culture is changed for the better. People are more enlivened and willing to work hard to help the organization succeed. It’s impossible to put a price tag on that.
A lot of us have uneasy relationships with the concept of “power”, often because we have seen the destruction that can be wrought in the name of power. And some of us have even been directly harmed by someone’s abuse of power.
Our workplaces are ripe with all kinds of power. People can have workplace power based on the roles they hold such as their position or job title (e.g., CEO), and/or their ability to give rewards (like raises) or punishments (like speeding tickets 0r demotions).
People can also have power because of personal qualities such as expertise they hold (think lawyers and IT professionals) or their personality. This type of power, called referent power, stems from the fact that people genuinely like the person and want to please him or her.
You can have more than one type of workplace power and it’s important to know which type of power you hold as well as that held by the people around you. But workplace power is very different from your personal power—your authentic power.
Your authentic power transcends position, job, and even situation. Your ability to speak up for yourself or others comes from authentic power as does the courage to be vulnerable and take risks. It is also the source of your strength, confidence, self reliance, ability to set boundaries, and resilience.
Authentic power comes from being grounded in a deep knowing that you are enough. That you are part of something bigger than yourself. Some call this wisdom.
The truth is that we all have authentic power, simply because we exist. But not all of us tap into it or use it consciously.
But we can learn! Mindfulness practices, like meditation and yoga teach practical skills for tapping in to the universal energy that flows through all things. And while some consider this “woowoo”, study after study has shown the real and powerful benefits that mindfulness practices bring. The brain changes, increasing creativity and innovation. The central nervous system becomes calm, and both our emotional intelligence and our intuition increase.
Needless to say, this leads to all kinds of positive outcomes that drive success at work and in life. In fact, more and more successful leaders are confessing to being long-time meditators and hailing the power of mindfulness.
Many of them are shifting the culture of their workplaces by bringing mindfulness practices in house. Places like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Eileen Fisher, and Starbucks, all of whom are speaking at the upcoming Wisdom 2.0 conference.
Our workplaces are often built on positional power—the hierarchy of who has authority over others. And sadly, some people misuse position power. This can take all kinds of forms from using blame and shame to make others feel small, to being verbally and physically abusive, to bullying or harassing others.
In my years of consulting and coaching, I have found that the people who misuse position power are actually lacking in authentic, personal power. Because they are not connected to something bigger than themselves, they fill that void by attempting to overpower others.
This is why introducing mindfulness practices to work environments can shift the culture. As people become more grounded in their authentic power, they don’t need to engage in power-mongering behaviors that are so harmful to the health of any organization.
If you want to bring out the potential of your people and your organization, you have to help people develop their authentic power and wisdom. While we cannot mandate that, we can certainly provide them with the tools to get there.
Consider offering on-site yoga and meditation classes or offer to pay for them. Make sure your health benefits cover therapy and coaching, so that people can do their personal healing work.
And every one of us can make a difference by role modeling authentic power. As you do so, you will not only feel stronger and more resilient, you will give others permission to do the same.
If you are new to mindfulness, start small. I personally love the 21-day meditation series offered by The Chopra Center. Each one includes a teaching point and then 10-minutes of guided meditation (20 mins total). I download mine to my smartphone so I can listen anywhere.
And even one yoga class per week can shift your abilities to tolerate ambiguity, manage stress, and live from authentic power. And that’s separate from the health benefits of strength and flexibility.
So let’s bring authentic power to work. As we do so, we will change the world, one workplace at a time.
I am proud to share my latest course, The Neuroscience of Learning with you. Both organizations and people thrive when they embrace the growth mindset.
Tap into your hidden potential, with discoveries from the neuroscience of learning. Dr. Britt Andreatta, director of training and development at lynda.com, uses the latest research from Harvard, Stanford, and other leading research institutions to explain how the brain processes and stores new information. She introduces the three-phase model of learning and the secrets to developing neural pathways so that learning sticks. Intended for both those who teach or train and those who learn, this course is a fun and enlightening journey through the learning process. View full course here.
Viewed by 4,943 people in 108 countries (as of 1.10.2015)
Feedback from a viewer:
“This course by FAR was one of the most powerful learning programs I have ever seen. I teach and have studied neuroscience since 2006—however, while I knew the technical information, in one hour Dr. Britt Andreatta took my understanding of this subject to an entirely higher level. Not only did she share information on learning—but she delivered it with the concepts of learning she was sharing. I would love to watch many more courses from Dr. Andreatta. Thank you for increasing my learning and understanding.”
I also recommend:
- Gallup’s report The State of the American Workplace
- Gallup’s report State of the Global Workplace
- BlessingWhite’s video on Employee Engagement
- Dan Pink’s video on What Motivates Us
Hi, I’m Dr. Britt Andreatta. I want to talk to you today about employee engagement.
Engagement is the new darling of the business world, because all the studies are showing it drives all the things that matter in business. Customer satisfaction, productivity of your people, retention of your top talent. All kinds of good things happen when you’ve got an engaged work force.
I want to talk to you about how to do that. Also, think about how engaged you are. First let’s have a definition. Engagement is how much people are passionate about the work they do, and how committed they are with the organization they work for.
It’s really a passion piece. It’s that ability to go above and beyond the expectations of the job because you’ve really invested in it. A couple of questions I would asks you are; When was the last time you were engaged? What was the best job you ever had, and what did you love about it? Or, who was the best boss you’ve ever had? What was that relationship like? What did that bring out in you? Did it help you get more engaged?
Another thing to think about is how humans are motivated. There is a lot of research that’s been done on what motivates us people. What they have found is it’s three key things. The first is autonomy. That’s we’re motivated by the opportunity to be self-directed, that we have some control over our work environment.
The second thing is mastery. We have the opportunity to grow and get better at something. There is innate drive that all humans have to want to improve.
The third thing is purpose, that we want to contribute to something meaningful. It’s either personally meaningful for us, or we believe it’s meaningful in society, and that it makes a difference in the world.
Mastery, autonomy, and purpose are things to think about. Do you feel like you have those in your job, and can you give those to other people?
How do we measure engagement? There are a few companies out there that have surveys you can take. The kinds of questions they’ll ask are things like, “Are you proud to work for this company on a scale of one to five? Have you ever thought about leaving this company? Are you motivated here doing this job than you might be at another company in a similar role? Would you recommend this company as a great place to work?”
Gallop is a national organization who is doing all kinds of big studies. They actually have a few reports out there that are worth looking at. The most recent report is The State of the American Workplace.
They talked about three levels of engagement.
You’ve got the engaged worker. This represents about 30 percent of the workforce. They feel a profound connection to their company. They work with passion. They really drive innovation and move the organization forward.
Then, you’ve got the not engaged. These folks are sleep walking through their day. They punch the clock. They get their job done, but they’re certainly not bringing energy or innovation to what they do.
Then you’ve got the actively disengaged. The actively disengaged is about 20 percent of the population. They are not only disengaged. They’re seriously unhappy, and they’re bringing that cynicism and negativity to work in a way that harms the other employees and brings the rest of the team down.
What Gallop has estimated is that 50 percent of the workforce is in that not engaged category. They’re not turned on, they’re not negative, but they’re waiting to have the fire lit under them. That’s what we want to do. It’s increase the percentage of people that are engaged in your office.
Studies show engagement is tied to several great things. Absentees go down, health incidents go down, your turn-over goes down, shrinkage or people stealing the office products goes down.
Safety problems go down. All kinds of things go down. The bad things go down when people are engaged. The good stuff goes up. You have higher customer satisfaction, higher productivity, higher profitability in your company.
Another book is talking a little bit more about this, “The Firms of Endearment.” It’s a great book. It highlights companies that are engaging all of these practices and doing it in a way that shows the ROI. If you want to learn how companies are doing it, you can have the book, “The Firms of Endearment,” and also, “We First” is another one I recommend.
Let me talk to you if you’re in a leadership position. If you’re a manager of people, you own an organization, you’re a parent, a teacher, health care worker, you have the opportunity to help other people rise to their potential and increase their engagement.
Let’s talk about how you do that. First, you have to help yourself. How engaged are you? How passionate are you about what you do? Do you feel that commitment to the organization that you work with or for?
First, focus on yourself and get your engagement up. If you’re not engaged, it’s really hard to leave other people there. Some things you can do is work with a coach and start to get clear about what’s not working and what needs to work so you are lit up yourself.
Once you are, you can start to figure out how to light up your people. That first starts with some conversations. Do you know what matters to them? Do you know what their passionate about? Do you know what they love about their job?
I’ve consultant with some organizations when we interviewed people on a team. We found out that bob was really passionate about X, and Sally was really passionate about Y, but the things they were passionate about was in the other person’s job.
We just moved the pieces around and we swapped them and all of a sudden both of them are lit up. They’re getting to work on what they’re passionate about. Those conversations make a difference.
The other thing you can do is find out if you’re offering enough opportunities for autonomy, giving people opportunity to be self directed. Do they have opportunities for mastery? The ability to grow and develop.
Do you have an opportunity for them to have something meaningful? Meaningful is a really personal discussion. What’s meaningful to me, might be really different then what’s meaningful to you. Again, you’ve got to have those conversations and find out what meaningful is to them.
Make sure they see a direct connection between what they do and the thing that’s meaningful to them. Those are some tips you can try, but the most important thing is to try to get engagement up, because it’s going to drive all kinds of good stuff, and it’s definitely going to leed to helping people to rise to their potential.
Every year at this time, I engage in an intentional process of reflection. It really helps me take stock of the lessons I learned and guides the intentions and goals I set for the next year. I’ll share with you my process in case you find it helpful in crafting your own. This process can be for both professional and personal development.
My annual tradition is to start a new notebook or journal on January 1st and I write my intentions and goals for the year. As the year comes to an end, I am able to not only see my progress but I can reflect on the challenges I faced, lessons I learned, and moments where I really shined.
So the first part of my process is to get my outgoing journal and skim through it, noting themes that I see over time. Next, I use a set of questions that guide my year-end reflection (to be done on the last pages of the outgoing journal).
Questions to Reflect on 2014
- What has been the underlying, unifying theme of your year? 2014 has been the year of…
- Were there any experiences or symbols that seem to represent the whole?
- What are your 8 greatest successes of 2014? (it’s OK to have more than 8…)
- What was a key challenge of this year and what did you discover about yourself in meeting this challenge? What gifts were received?
- What three people had the greatest impact in your life this year? How has their presence affected you?
- What are three key lessons you’ve learned through your experiences in 2014?
- What are some of the most joyful moments of 2014? What made them so positive and can you bring more of that into 2015?
- What “risks” (taking action though fear is present) did you take this year and what greater freedom did you discover in the process? What did you learn about yourself?
- Is there anyone whom you need to forgive? Forgive means to release the judgment and blame that causes you stress or upset. Who is it? What quality do you need to forgive them for? Can you find that same quality within yourself to any degree (your mirror) and love yourself anyway?
- In what key ways have you been of greater service to your human family this year?
What are you most grateful for from 2014? They could people, experiences, gifts, conditions, awarenesses, etcetera.
Looking Ahead to 2015
- As you stand upon the firm foundation of all the learnings, shifts, and insights of 2014, what wise counsel would you give yourself as you move into 2015?
- Now, articulate your intentions and goals for 2015. Consider having at least one for different parts of your life (work/career, family, health, creativity, etc.). You may wish to write these in your journal, and post them in various places (home, car, desk, wallet, etc.). where they will remind you of your focus.
- If you wish, you can also create a vision board for 2015. I find vision boards to be really helpful in keeping me focused. You can learn more here.
I do this reflection activity alone but then share my lessons and goals with my closest friends, and they share theirs. We then support each other throughout the year in staying focused, moving through challenges, and celebrating our successes.
I am pleased to announce that I am speaking at this great event in LA on January 11th. Please attend and invite the women you care about.
On January 11th, 2015, the Outstanding Mothers Gathering (OMG) will be hosting the 2nd Annual Professional Working Mothers Leaning In? A Dialogue event.
- Leadership expert Dr. Britt Andreatta
- Lisa Gates from She Negotiates.com
- Stacey Gordon, MBA, from The Gordon Group
- Erica Moore-Burton, Esq. from Round Hill Search
Breakfast included! Register now at www.outstandingmothersgathering.com
We have all heard about the virtues of the transparent organization and many of us know that we thrive when we have a sense of what is happening and why.
But I think that most modern leaders (from CEOs to middle managers) don’t have a real appreciation for why transparency is so imperative. That it stems from our biology as a species, which cannot be overridden.
In my consulting work, I see this all the time. Most of the challenges that crop up in the modern workplace are a result of attempting to have people to work against their biology—something that is inherently impossible to do.
When it comes to transparency and communication, this is what leaders and managers must remember: in the absence of information, the human mind will always fill in the worse case scenario. Always.
This is because the human body has a complex survival system that is continually on alert for potential attack. Our bodies were built to help us survive as a species and we were wired thousands of years ago when we lived off the land in small tribes, surrounded by big dangers.
Our chances of survival are much greater if we assume that there is a predator out there—better to be overly sensitive than dead. But in today’s workplaces, this can wreak havoc by fueling the rumor mill and escalating conflict, both real and perceived.
Our brains are built to sort through lots of information and to make meaning out of it. We have a built in “story teller” that takes in information, connects various points, fills in some blanks, and can weave together a coherent story.
I’m sure you can remember a time when you’ve done this. I certainly have. You saw or heard something and pretty soon, you were sure you knew what was going on. As you thought it about it, it became more real, eliciting strong feelings—you might have even visualized future outcomes, with great detail, and got yourself quite worked up.
And if you shared your thoughts with a colleague or two or ten, the story was significantly amplified by shared perception and validation.
I often hear leaders complain that employees are “so negative” and ask me, “why do they always assume the worst?” To which I reply, “Because humans are wired to do so and it’s your job to provide the information they need to know what’s really happening.”
In the absence of a narrative, humans will supply their own, which is why leaders need to be committed to creating transparency.
Think about the typical workplace. You have lots of people having hundreds of interactions each day. And each person’s body is scanning for danger, and making meaning with a slant toward taking things personally. Is it a wonder that things sometimes don’t go well?
Here is how leaders can intentionally counterbalance human wiring and create transparent organizations.
1. Honor human biology.
Asking people to work against their biology is a futile quest. If you are not well versed in this topic, be sure you seek the advice of experts like coaches, talent management professionals, and other thought leaders like Daniel Goleman, Brené Brown, and Carol Dweck.
2. Provide an authentic narrative.
Proactively share what is happening and why. Don’t assume that people know or that they can’t handle challenging news. You are building trust by honoring that they deserve to know.
3. Be accountable for communication.
Unless you have a specific, agreed-upon comm strategy that you know your leaders/managers implement, then drive it yourself. Today’s digital tools make it easy to design a thoughtful plan and timeline for sending messages to your team, no matter where they are.
4. Seek input through two-way communication.
The success of your organization will be enhanced when you seek the opinions and ideas of the employees on the front lines. They often have very valuable information that improve productivity, customer service and employee engagement.
Creating transparent organizations should be a top priority for today’s leaders and managers. And once you establish a transparent culture, you will be able to harness the potential of all your employees who will thrive in a culture based on trust and respect. Because that is what transparency communicates.
Learn more about what scientists call “the fourth brain” — the millions of neurons that live in your stomach and play a key role in your success.
So I want you to think about how much you unnecessarily stress yourself out. Our body is wired have this fight or flight response and is a wonderful thing. When we are in a truly life-threatening situation, it can help save our lives. But often times we set itoff we don’t need to.
So for example if you watch a lot of dramatic television or movies and really scary things, if you start to pay attention you’ll notice your really tensed up during the scenes, your heart is racing your blood has flushed, your breath is quickened, it’s elicited the fight or flight response in you and that’s by design, Hollywood wants to have that experience only thing that’s really good for you or not if you do not a lot is every night watching really dramatic stuff and listening to the radio and hearing really upsetting things you could be putting undue stress on your body.
So pay attention to your media intake and just be thoughtful about it. The other thing I want you to think about is how we worry. This is what sets us apart from the animals who also have an amygdala that is part of the fight or flight response, but they don’t set it off by worrying.
The zebra is on the plane and the lion start chasing after him and his amygdala will go off how the fight or flight response will help him run and afterwards his his whole system comes down much faster than ours. There is actually a blood test on zebras to see this difference.
The zebras not going to go home that night and say “oh my god, that was the worst day ever” I hope he doesn’t come back tomorrow. But we do that. Something that happens at work and we ruminate on it, get pissed off again and frustrated again and then we worry about it the next day and it can happen again and again, and we keep stressing ourselves out.
And this is where mindfulness practices are really helpful. meditation, gratitude, just trying to be present and breathing and in the current moment, it helps us be more like the zebra. So that were not stressing ourselves out about something that happened or might happen. It’s a pretty stressful world and we’ve got it do what we can counterbalance that.