Working with Emotional Intelligence

Working with Emotional Intelligence

by Daniel Goleman

Drawing on research and the experiences of business leaders around the world, Dr. Daniel Goleman demonstrates that in the workplace, emotional intelligence matters twice as much as cognitive abilities such as IQ or technical expertise. Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness and motivation, which enable us to manage ourselves, and social strengths such as influence, conflict management, and team building. This book will teach you how to strengthen one’s emotional capabilities and why corporate training must change in order to be effective. It presents a blueprint for the 'emotionally intelligent organization" that will shape training for years to come.

Summary Notes

Developing Self-Awareness Increases Intuition

“Just as there is a stream of thought, there is a parallel stream of feeling. We have feelings about everything we do, think about, imagine, remember.”

Analyses by experts in hundreds of corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations worldwide have concluded that IQ is second to emotional intelligence in determining outstanding job performance - in virtually any job.

Emotional intelligence comprises five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships. Our emotional competence shows how much we have translated our emotional intelligence into on-the-job capabilities. For example, trustworthiness is a competence based on self-regulation or handling impulses and emotions well. If your organizational climate nurtures these competencies, your organization will be more effective and productive.

We may not realize it, but our thoughts and feelings are inextricably woven together. The mind stores the emotional memory from experiences (our reservoir of wisdom and judgment) and uses this instantaneous intuition to deliver answers to us in hunches and gut feelings. Attunement to this sense of rightness or wrongness in the body offers crucial information for navigating life. Self-awareness is the capacity to sense these messages and is the foundation for emotional awareness - recognizing one’s emotions and their effects on what you think, do, and say.

Actions to take

Factor Intuition Into Business Decisions

“When it comes to important decisions, our gut feelings—our deepest sense of what feels right and what is “off”—provide critical information.”

Life often presents us with murky decisions - nothing like the clear, neat “if this, then that” templates taught in risk analysis and decision-making classes. Think about it: Credit managers must sense when a deal might go bad even if the numbers look fine. Similarly, executives are expected to decide whether a new product is worth the time and money it takes to develop. You may be wondering, “how come they make these decisions?”

Highly successful entrepreneurs make business decisions using a combination of analytical thought and intuition. ‘Gut feelings’ or ‘hunches’ are used to confirm (or disconfirm) conscious and deliberate rational analysis. Intuition is an element of self-awareness that can grow stronger with the accumulating experiences life brings us. The classic term for this strengthening of our guiding sensibility is wisdom.

Actions to take

Best Practice for Developing Programs for Emotional Intelligence

“One basic question needs to be asked and answered before any training is undertaken: What does it take to do this job superbly?”

The skills necessary to perform a job well are not always readily apparent. When asked, planners and executives thought that the key skills for successful strategic planning were analytic and conceptual thinking. However, objective studies reveal that outstanding strategic planners are not necessarily superior in analytic skills.

Instead, the skills that raise them above the crowd are those of emotional competence: political awareness, the ability to make arguments with emotional impact, and high levels of interpersonal influence. Planners’ effectiveness depends on knowing how to involve key decision-makers in the planning process and ensuring these people buy into the plan.

No matter how brilliant a strategic plan is, an organization will not adopt it without supporters. So before offering job skills training, you need to conduct a thorough review to get a true picture of the emotional intelligence competencies that matter most for a role.

Actions to take

Assess and Give Feedback

“Multiple perspectives on yourself are extremely powerful ways to build self-awareness—and get you ready to do something about it.”

We are not the best judge of our strengths and weaknesses. When you ask people how accurate they are at reading other people’s feelings, there is no correlation between their answers and how well they perform on objective tests.

In contrast, when people who know them well rate someone on empathy, there is a very high level of accuracy. The ideal evaluation of an individual includes multiple sources of information and perspectives: self-reports as well as peer, boss, and subordinate feedback; and more objective indexes of work performance, such as assessment tests and work simulations.

Once the evaluation is finalized and well-delivered, confidential feedback is crucial. Too often, feedback is given ineptly, with predictably bad consequences. But if done well, feedback on competencies can be a priceless tool for self-examination and cultivating change and growth.

Actions to take

Readiness and Motivation to Change

“People have to be grabbed by their values, their goals, their dreams of what’s possible for them.”

Any self-development ultimately depends on interest, motivation, and readiness to change, which are prerequisites for attending and benefiting from training. If people aren’t ready to change, everything will be a waste of time. They will just keep on going through the motions of satisfying others, which in turn, can make them feel resentment instead of enthusiasm.

To get people to expend energy and try, you must raise their expectations of success. Motivation influences the entire learning process, from whether someone signs up to whether they apply what they’ve learned in their jobs. If you focus at the outset on people’s values and what they want to do with their life, they will start to see the training as an opportunity for their own development—not just the company’s. And the more motivated people are to learn, the greater the effectiveness of the training for them.

Actions to take

Make Change Self-Directed, Focussing on Clear, Manageable Goals

“The standard training program, where everyone goes through a cookie cutter experience, turns out to have the worst return on investment.”

When it comes to emotional skills, training that is tailored to each person's needs helps them learn more and gives you the best return on your investment. We change most effectively when we have a plan for learning that fits our lives, needs, interests, resources, goals, and aspirations. Plans also need to be fine-tuned to an individual’s level of development so that each person can grow from wherever their starting point is.

While having a grand goal may seem appealing, the practical focus needs to be on the immediate, manageable steps. To continuously improve, people start with steps that are only moderately difficult and then gradually raise the challenge as the process continues. Making a change in such manageable steps lets us feel we are making at least a bit of progress toward our goal and so keeps our spirits—and hope for success—high.

Actions to take

Preventing Relapse, Giving Feedback on Progress

“The key to using slips constructively is to realize that a step backward is not the same as a total relapse.”

Cultivating a new skill is gradual, with stops and starts. During training, people need to be warned that they are likely to experience days when they revert to their old habits. Showing them how to learn valuable lessons from these slips helps guard against despair or demoralization at such moments.

Once we recognize our trigger situations, we can prepare to act differently by rehearsing what to do. This will increase the likelihood that we will choose a better response, even under high stress. To develop this kind of early warning system, we need self-awareness and the ability to monitor or recall an incident early.

Seeing the consequences of the lapse—a missed business opportunity, or ruffled feelings in a colleague or customer—can also fuel our motivation to pursue change with more vigor. Feedback lies at the heart of change - knowing how we are doing keeps us on track.

Actions to take

Modeling Behaviors and Encouraging Practice

“Emotional competence cannot be improved overnight because the emotional brain changes its habits over weeks and months, not hours and days.”

Most training courses usually spend too much time merely talking about competence, with not enough time devoted to practicing it in the training environment.

Ideally, trainers should model and embody the competencies they are training. They should also provide practice sessions that will allow people to learn the necessary skills more effectively. When people have repeated chances to practice a skill over an extended period, they’re likely to learn faster. Usually, it would take around three to six months of consistent practice for them to make these emotional competencies a habit.

Actions to take

Arrange Support, Encourage, Reinforce, Evaluate

“An organization can help people upgrade their emotional competencies by creating an atmosphere that rewards and even celebrates such self-improvement.”

Coaches or mentors can provide support, but we can also learn in the natural course of relationships at work. Every relationship provides a chance to exercise personal competencies as people shift between the roles of mentor and student based on their strengths and limitations.

Such buddy systems increase the transfer of learned emotional intelligence skills to the job as people grow and improve together. People can tell each other about their experiences, rehash how they could have been handled, and so widen their own repertoire of how to deal with those same situations.

An organization’s work culture determines the extent to which staff can transfer what they learn to their job. To be embraced by employees, competence must be valued at work. This will be reflected in job criteria, promotions, and performance reviews.

The evaluation must include sound outcome measures for the competencies that were targeted in training. The best method for evaluation is an objective pre- and post-training look at the impact on job performance. And if a program falls short, that information should be used to improve the next round of training.

Actions to take

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