As a CEO, are you investing in the development of Emotional Intelligence in your organization? If not, your competitors probably are.
Recently, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of Emotional Intelligence as evidenced in magazines articles – including Time, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review and many more. In addition, the number of times the term Emotional Intelligence is being searched on Google has increased steadily over the past 3 years.
A World Economic Forum report recently ranked Emotional Intelligence as the 6th most important skill needed in 2020 in order to manage the coming 4th industrial revolution. EI wasn’t even on the list for 2015. For those who know the brain science of emotions, you will know that EI also underpins the other nine skills, including creativity, people management and even complex problem solving.
The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI/EQ) is nothing new. Dan Goleman wrote the book Emotional Intelligence in 1996 and at The Institute for Health and Human Potential, we’ve been delivering our Science of Emotional training programs to organizations for more than 20 years.
So why the sudden resurgence of interest in Emotional Intelligence? We work with hundreds of companies and thousands of leaders in almost every industry and six the factors we see causing this increase are:
1) The amount of disruption and change people are facing. In large part this is driven by new technologies, but we also see an increase in the number of corporate restructurings, new product launches, government regulations, increase competition, etc. that are increasing how much change people are facing. As we wrote in our All Change is Personal white paper, effectively managing this amount of change and disruption requires high levels of EQ.
2) Technology and the new demands of the workplace. People are feeling the need to be on 24/7 and are often feeling overwhelmed by the amount of e-mail, texts, social media, etc. they are dealing with. In addition, many people are feeling that work/life balance is a nice idea but not a reality. People are feeling more pressure and stress than they ever have before.
3) The need for innovation and creativity. With the rapid pace of technology and the ease with which new competitors can enter a marketplace (did you know Amazon is now one of the largest providers of cloud computing services and competes with Microsoft and IBM that space?), organizations need people to be innovative, which requires collaboration, agile teams and a culture that allows for risk-taking and failure, which are EQ-based skills.
4) Service based economy. As we move to an economy based on services and not just making products, people skills are more important than ever. How many times have you been on a call with a customer service person who you can tell isn’t engaged and doesn’t really care about your issue?
5) Globalization. This has been happening for many years and it continues to be critical for organization to be able to understand (i.e. have empathy for) the unique needs of each culture in which they sell or have employees.
6) The Millennial generation. The millennial generation have been raised with core values that include things like having a purpose, serving others and constantly improving oneself. In fact, one recent study showed that 80 percent of Millennials strongly believe that developing and cultivating emotional intelligence is a key aspect of their career development.
The World Economic Forum calls this new reality the 4th industrial revolution. For your organization to compete in this new world, Emotional Intelligence is a critical competency that needs to be hired for and developed/trained in employees and leaders. The good news in all of this is that Emotional Intelligence is a skill that can be taught: there is brain science that people can learn and training people can participate in where they learn strategies to manage their and other’s emotions more effectively. Without it, there will be many more Blockbusters to tell your grandchildren about.
The 2 Patterns of Difficult Conversations Gone Wrong
David was frustrated. Again. He was attending his team’s weekly priority meeting and, while there was lots of animated discussion, there wasn’t much prioritizing going on. Their meetings lacked structure. Whatever was first on the agenda would take up 50% or more of the meeting. Whatever was at the end of the list might not get discussed at all. David liked his team and the work well enough but, he had real issues with the lack of discipline in these meetings. This wasn’t the first time he felt this way. Worse, he felt a growing animosity toward his manager who did not appreciate how hard everyone was working or how overwhelmed they were becoming by the amount on their plates. And yet, they had to endure these brutally inefficient meetings. What to do?
It was nearing nine months since David had promised himself he would have a conversation with his manager about how he felt things were going and provide her with feedback. He had fully prepared himself: had taken a course on what to say, and had a script at the ready so he would know what to say. The only problem was that he was not having the meeting. He was procrastinating. Avoiding. Why? he wondered.
After talking with a coach, it occurred to him why he was not having the conversation. Numerous times previously when having similar conversations with others, things didn’t go so well. In fact, they had gone horribly wrong. Two things happened: either he became so triggered in the middle of these difficult conversations that he would say something that upset the other person (which ruined any chance for a good conversation) or, two, he would leave the meeting not really saying everything he wanted to say. Each week that he avoided this conversation with his manager, and had to endure another unproductive meeting, left him more ashamed of himself, eating away at his confidence.
I tell you this story because it highlights two patterns we see happen over and again to people who really want to have the difficult conversation they know they need to have, but leave without it going the way they would like.
The first pattern is characterized by strong emotions sabotaging the conversation. In the middle of the conversation, the other person says something that triggers you and, before you know it, you have said something that you regret. The other person gets hot, shuts down, and the opportunity is lost.
The second pattern is characterized by avoidance. You walk into a difficult conversation and you do pretty well delivering the first 85, 90, 92% of what you want to say. But, as you get to the more difficult part of the conversation – what we call the Last 8% – the other person starts to get upset because they see where things are going, feel threatened, which infects you with their strong emotions, and, instead of continuing and having the last 8% of the conversation, you avoid it. The problem is that they can’t read your mind. They don’t know that you didn’t have the whole conversation. They actually think things are on track. On your end, you honestly feel like you had most of the conversation you wanted to have, not realizing you avoided the most difficult part, and so nothing really changes. Six weeks later you are wondering why this person hasn’t changed. And, when you act less open with them or even passive aggressively, they look at you wondering what has happened, ‘aren’t we good?’, not knowing what wasn’t communicated.
It doesn’t have to be this way. At IHHP, one of the real differentiators of our The Three Conversations of Leadership course is helping people have the Last 8% of the conversation by tuning in and managing strong emotions – yours and the other persons. Without the ability to manage strong emotions – a learnable skill – things either blow up (pattern 1) or we avoid the more difficult part of the conversation (pattern 2). People find that once they understand how to skillfully manage emotions and are aware of the importance of having the Last 8%, everything changes.
This March 6-7th you have the opportunity to experience a day of learning The Science of Emotional Intelligence followed by a day of The Three Conversations of Leadership. This one-two punch will equip you to walk into your next difficult conversation with more confidence so that you can both keep it together by managing the strong emotions in the conversation and deliver what you really want and need to deliver. When you are able to do this, you benefit. The other person benefits. And, your organization benefits. And, maybe, even your meetings benefit.
Focusing on the brain science of EI, this program will enable individuals to learn to manage their emotional brain in their most difficult moments, allowing them to contribute, collaborate, innovate and drive results.
Based on the New York Times and Amazon bestselling book Performing Under Pressure, participants will learn how to think clearly and strategically, make decisions, perform complex tasks and lead others in the face of change and pressure.
Focusing on having effective conversations in the workplace, this program will help people conduct daily, difficult and courageous conversations that cultivate teamwork, help build trust, connected relationships and accountability.