Emotional Intelligence Strategies

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Dr. Relly Nadler: This week Cathy and I talk about some of the emotional intelligence strategies. They take the opportunity to zero-in on some of the tools and strategies that are facilitated by taking the Emotion Quotient Inventory. It’s a tool that has been around for a while which Cathy and I are both certified in.

A little bit of the background is this idea of competencies. Searching for the competencies really started with David McClellan at the Harvard Institute, and Harvard University, probably 35 or more years ago. Looking at what the difference is between someone who is highly effective and someone who is just effective. He studied folks who were highly effective to find what the competencies are and what they are doing different, which started this whole train of research.

One of his students, Richard Boyatzis, did the first competency study with the Navy in 1975. What is the difference of performers versus high performers? Reuven BarOn, who did the EQi, coined the term EQ in his Ph.D. dissertation, and was developing this instrument in 1985, and we now have the EQi 2.0.

The term emotional intelligence, different than emotional quotient, first came up with psychologists Salovey and Meyer in an article. Daniel Goleman in 1995, after seeing the term emotional intelligence, wrote the book Emotional Intelligence and he proliferated this process even more so. You have folks like Cathy and myself, coaches and consultants, who are bringing this on a day-by-day level into organizations.

So as we look at some of the competencies, there are five broad areas that I’ll mention and then we are going to zero in on one of them. The broad areas are:

  1. Self-perception which has self-regard, self-actualization and emotional self-awareness.
  2. Self-expression which has emotional expression, assertiveness and independence.
  3. Interpersonal relationships which has empathy, and social responsibility.
  4. Stress management which includes flexibility, stress tolerance and optimism.

The one that we are going to zero in on and we figured we would start with this is:

  1. Decision making which has problem solving, reality testing and impulse control.

The reason we want to start with it is that Cathy and I are always dealing with executives and I think this a good entry standpoint that they are making decisions every single day; critical, strategic, important decisions. There are some of these emotional intelligence competencies that really make up decision making.

So the definition of decision making in one of these five areas is: the way in which one uses emotional information. How well do you understand the impact of emotions and how they are affecting your decision making. It includes the ability to resist or delay impulses and remain objective to avoid rash behaviors and ineffective problem solving.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: You know Relly, one of the case studies that is in our ROI report, is the report from the Center for Creative Leadership. Many of the people who are listening to our show have had experience with, either through marketing or through data that has been published by the Center For Creative Leadership, CCL, so they should not be a stranger to CCL. What I found interesting is that CCL has used this tool and the reason why they used it is to evaluate the emotional intelligence characteristics that help them define high performing leaders.

Interestingly enough it’s one of the highest areas of influence for successful leaders was their ability to manage their impulse control. This is a huge factor for many, many people and will come to bear on a lot of what the emotional intelligence story has to say about leadership.

Dr. Relly Nadler: This kind of defines where we want to zero in so that on this show you really have an idea of one of these key areas. We are looking at decision making made up of impulse control, reality testing and problem solving.

Let’s first look at impulse control; what is it? It’s under the decision making category and it’s the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and it also involves avoiding rash behaviors in decision making. Cathy we have where you are high and low, maybe you can describe that, and then I can give some different examples.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Sure. One of the things that I work on personally, if I can just divulge a little bit here, is working on my impulse control. Now, you can imagine if you are going shopping and you see a lot of beautiful things; you could get yourself into some pretty nice credit card debt; just shopping for small things that add up. One of the things that you look for when you are trying to manage your impulse control is remaining composed. One of those things that helps you control your impulse and your decision making is also the control of aggression. How aggressive do you want to be with a particular area of interest? While it is great to start out every year and look what I would call your wardrobe and start over and look for things that might help dress you for success; many of us want to be dressed for success. You also have to manage the aggression with which you go after something. It’s not only the behavior that you show; being composed or being aggressive, but how it plays out in your behavioral attributes but then become an action such as buying or shopping.

One of the things that you have to learn is the ability to delay or resist an impulse. Then once you can do that, you can also master your own tolerance for frustration, which leads you to being more patient. This is an area where I practice often, practice wisely and I practice this across an array of areas, not only in leadership or shopping, but also in how I am treating others. How you become more highly productive in life is by being very careful about how you want to be perceived by others. This area of decision making is a great one to start with. It’s been very helpful to me.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Well, thanks Cathy. Let me give another example of someone that I was coaching. One of the things that we say is that the manager’s default is to find fault. So that takes some impulse control because there is always fault around to be found. But the manager’s default is to find fault.

This executive would have these daily meeting every day. I interviewed a lot of people on his team and they wanted to avoid those meeting. They called the daily meetings the daily beatings. Every day they would go, ok, here we go for the daily beating. There was this impulse control or lack of impulse control that really led to that. We have talked about this idea that Goleman has coined, the Amygdala hijack which is the lack of impulse control is in the Amygdala that is the flight, fight or freeze response. When you have that response, especially if you are stressed out and there are a lot of things going wrong, that overtakes the prefrontal cortex where your IQ points lie.

We like to say that you if don’t have impulse control, you are very likely in certain situations to lose 10 or 15 IQ points. It’s always, “I can’t believe I said that; I can’t believe I said that. How could I think that?” Well the reality is you were thinking but in a limited capacity. Your IQ points went down.

We have plenty of examples and the one that really stands out and is interesting is how this can define your career is the person who said to Obama in one of Obama’s speeches, “you lie!” and got known for that. Joe Wilson, he will be defined by that impulse outburst. Here is the President of the United States speaking; and what is interesting is that it was through the speech where everyone is standing up an applauding and that he probably had to manage his impulses for a while, and then finally there was some disagreement about amendments around immigration and Joe Wilson shouted out, “you lie.” Defined his career overshadows probably, all the great stuff that he did do.

One of the things that we like to talk about, which is important, is this idea of controlling yourself through impulse control; it’s a limited capacity. Meaning that, the more that you limit your impulse control, which we all have to do, or you limit your impulses, it’s like the brakes on your car. Every time you put the brakes on you may have a little less brake shoes. Then the second time; less brake shoes, then the third time. So when you have had it for most of the folks listening, it’s at the end of the day. You don’t have any more brakes, you don’t have any more impulse control unless you have done some specific things to recharge.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I’ll tell you one of the big ones for most people is that they eat at their desk. They think they are saving themselves time by bringing their lunch and sitting at their desk and getting more work done. Well, yes and no. You may be getting more work done from a quantifiable standpoint, but are you really getting the quality of the work done that you need to. Are you treating yourself fairly and respecting yourself? If you really need to take a break, why don’t you take your food to a more pleasant part of the building; maybe sit outside if the weather is nice, get some fresh air, or change your point of view or perspective even if it’s not to share your lunch with other folks. That is a great way to keep your, what I would call happiness factors, in check while you are also serving the company.

Find out more about EI strategies and how using them can help you have peak performance. Listen to the complete interview above, without commercials.


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