Category Archives: Career

05 Sep

12 Must Have Social and Emotional Intelligence Skills for the Workplace

 

etain services Karen Atkinson

Over the past few decades, thanks to Dr. Daniel Goleman, the term “Emotional Intelligence” has become an every day word in the American workplace. Most people have a vague notion that it’s something using emotions and smarts to make good decisions. When I read his first book “Emotional Intelligence, Why it can matter more than IQ” (1995), I was thrilled someone was acknowledging the emotional world we live. Today, when I talk to people about emotional intelligence, I would say, most people still don’t fully understand what it means.

Over the past 2 decades, Caruso, Salovey, Mayer, Ciarrochi, Goleman and Belsten have identified social and emotional intelligence attributes. These are qualities that a person utilizes which enable them to develop and maintain healthy communication, behavior and relationships. Several of these theorists have created their own assessment tools to help others determine where they fall within this skill set. The Institute for Social and Emotional Intelligence, founded by Dr. Laura Belsten, offers the SEIP, Social and Emotional Intelligence Profile, which offers 26 competencies!

There’s much more to this than we realized.

Quick review: What is Emotional Intelligence?

The term “Emotional Intelligence” is now being expanded into “Social and Emotional Intelligence”.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own emotions, in the moment, and to use that information to manage our behavior appropriately.

Social Intelligence is the ability to be aware of the emotions of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage our relationships.  

– Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence (ISEI)®

What they have found is that there are more than just a few things that make up Social and Emotional Intelligence. These are skills, meaning that they can be taught. And they are behaviors, that when utilized, are better indicators of workplace performance, productivity, and long-term success, for individuals and for businesses. They are not mutually exclusive, nor are they exhaustive. But they are definite contributors.

Here are 12 of the skills:

  1. The ability to be Self-Aware. It sounds self-indulgent but really it’s not. This is a skill needed as a foundation to develop healthy relationships with oneself and with others. The feelings (and thoughts) that someone has, in that moment, are what will dictate their responses and behaviors towards others. This is also the foundation for changes in behavior.
  1. Create an emotional vocabulary. Having language about emotions themselves allows for the healthy expression of feelings. This, by the way, is a normal process for people. When someone is self-aware and able to use an emotional vocabulary, they are also more able to develop healthy communication habits.

Note: Some people think that talking about or expressing emotions means they are weak, but that’s an outdated notion. Research actually shows the opposite – people generally function better in relationship when they are able to have a healthy expression of emotions.

  1. Practice Empathy. This is the ability to feel the experience of others. This means stepping out of our own heads and trying to really get the experience of another. This is another tool that builds the foundation for social relationships. Different from sympathy, research shows genuine empathy is the key to building trust and deeper relationships.
  1. Be aware of your own body. Good self-care reflects in a person’s presentation of himself or herself, body image and impacts self-confidence. It’s also part of what Social Psychologists call the Self-World construct, which is our understanding of how we see the world and how the world sees us.
  1. Learn to manage emotions. This is the opposite of emotional hijacking. Actively choosing to manage emotions like anger, for example, directly reflects a person’s theory about emotions. And it’s directly linked to a person’s value system and moral choices. Managing emotions is also a sign of emotional maturity and gives a person a better sense of himself or herself. For leaders, it allows more control over situations and engenders support while providing a feeling of safety to others, which can be critical in high stress situations.
  1. Develop coping strategies. This is critical for emotional resiliency and to develop emotional maturity. This can include stress reduction exercises, journaling, breathing exercises, and meditation or prayer, to mention a few. Many learn to develop these strategies in therapy or through coaching. Using habits like these, in a regular basis, increases emotional resiliency – the ability to emotionally tolerate and handle difficult situations.
  1. Practice assertive communication skills. The goal here is to develop an approach towards building healthy relationships through developing healthy communication skills. “I feel” statements are one example.
  1. Utilize limit setting. When someone actively chooses to put boundaries in place around a relationship or activity, they often can feel empowered or more in control. A feeling of managing things is also importance when managing the regulation of emotions.
  1. Learn how to understand other’s emotions. This is not the same as empathy. This is about learning to recognize cues in other’s behaviors. Tuning into others behaviors, facial expressions, and communication increases effectiveness in the communication. One way to build empathy is through the ability to recognize cues in a person’s expression, tone or body language.
  1. Manage negative emotions: like anger. Unbridled rage or passive-aggressive behavior can do more damage and actually hinder relationship building.
  1. Practice listening. Really listening. People generally need to not only be heard but also understood. One way to practice this skill is to listen to someone else and then reflect back what he or she said.
  1. Develop strategies for difficult situations. These are tools to think about in advance for when stressful situations come up. Some call if a “plan b”.

Executive, Performance and Life coaches have taught these skills for years. The great thing is that each of these traits can easily become skills that help a person function better in relationship and in life. For companies, they can be qualities that become embedded into the company culture through the employees and managers, to increase team building, improve performance and increase sales.

About the author: Karen Atkinson is a certified Life Coach and Social and Emotional Intelligence Trainer. If you would like more information about this topic or if you are interested in workshops or trainings, you can contact her at Katkinson@EtainServices.com.


Resources:

Dr. Belsten, Laura, founder, Social and Emotional Intelligence Certification, Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence®, 2017

Ciarrochi, Forgas, and Mayer (editors), Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life, 2nd edition, Psychology Press, 2006

Goleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence, Why it can matter more than IQ, Bantom Books, 1995

Harvard Business Review, HBR’S Must Reads On Emotional Intelligence, 2015, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2015

ISEI-logo-2017

08 Jul

9 Tools for Healthy Communication

1. Communicate directly with the person.

First make sure the situation has something to do with you directly. Decide if the situation is really worth your time and energy. Then go directly to the source, and try not mentioning things to others or posting comments on social media. Be respectful by being direct. Example: “I understand that you are angry with me, can you tell me why?” Or, “I heard that you are the manager for the new department and I would like to talk with you about possible upcoming positions”.

2. Start with a genuine compliment or positive statement.

Research shows that starting a conversation with a compliment or positive comment increases receptiveness in others. “Thank you for taking time to speak with me”. Or, “I know you were very angry last night and I appreciate your willingness to talk with me today”. With a child, it might sound like: “I really like how you calmed yourself down, good job”.

3. State your needs in a clear honest way.

Clarify in your mind exactly what you are asking for and why. Communicate that in a non-defensive tone. Research shows that too many words can confuse the listener. Try to state it 2-3 sentences. For example: “I wanted to talk with you about the fight at the table last night with your brother”. Vs. “I wanted to talk to you about that terrible tantrum you had at the table last night in front of our family, when you were acting like a 3 year old and picking on your brother”. Another example might be: “I would like to talk to you about the promotion. I understand I was not a candidate and would like to know why?” Vs. “I heard so-and-so got the promotion and I was so bummed to hear that because I thought I was a better candidate”.

4. Use “I” statements.

“I feel”, “I need”, “I want”. “I” statements are about you and no one can question your feelings or needs. It also outlines the place you are coming from. Then state your need. “I felt disappointed about the fight at Christmas dinner. I really wanted everyone to get along”. Or “I would like to apply for the promotion and would like to know what I need to do”. Stay out of their backyard and away from blaming. It puts people off and makes it harder for them to hear what you want. Focus on what you would like to see happen. “I would like to advance my position and use more of my skills to help this company increase it’s sales”. Or, “I would like for us to have family meals without fighting and am wondering what you think we could do together to make that happen?”

5. Listen.

Yes, to their response. Often we have a script already running in our head about what they will say or what we need to say next. Turn that off. Make your statement, pause, take a breath and listen for their response. Be in the moment as much as possible. And let go of outcome. We can’t control others or the outcome, even if it’s with the best intentions.

6. Ask questions to clarify.

Coming into the conversation without a singular result in mind will allow for exploration and curiosity. Ask questions with an engaged curiosity. Seek to understand the other person’s perspective, their experience and their opinion.

7. Try phrasing it in a different way.

If the person does not understand what is being said, try phrasing, literally using different words. For example” “I feel like we haven’t spent any time together” (They don’t understand). Second try: I really like you and would like to spend more time together, what do you think about that?” If you are on the receiving end of communication and don’t understand what they are saying, ask for clarification. Ask for specifics. “ Can you give me an example of a time when I talked over you?”

8. Take a break if things start to get heated.

You can take a break anytime, especially if you know the next line of defense is going to be slinging hurtful insults you won’t be able to take back. Revisit it when you are both calm and level headed. Check-in with yourself to see if you missed something or maybe could try to say things in a different way. And if things can’t get resolved, try mediation or communicating through someone else, like a counselor.

9. Apologize and reconcile when possible.

They are healing acts that help move relationships forward. Some people think that apologizing is sign of weakness but it’s actually a sign of respect towards the self and others. We are after all human and fallible. Admitting that actually takes courage and emotional maturity. Some say that reconciliation and forgiveness are the most important parts of the communication process.


Resources and References

Books:

The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns

How to talk to anyone; 92 little tricks for big success in relationships by Leil Lowndes

When Anger Hurts, Quieting the Storm Within, by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Peter D. Rogers and Judith McKay

Articles & Blog Posts:

Counseling Advice: Healthy Communication & Relationships by Amy McNamara, LMFT, CounselingPsychology.org.

The 7 Cs of Communication: A Checklist for Clear Communication on MindTools.com.

Tips for Better Communication on LoveIsRespect.org.

5 Habits of Highly Effective Communicators by Susan Tardanico, Forbes.com.

14 Very Effective Communication Skills on AdvancedLifeSkills.com.

10 Effective Communication Habits of the Most Successful People, by Marcel Schwantes, Inc.com.

6 Surprising Ways to Communicate Better With Your Partner by F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W., PsychologyToday.com.

Simple, Powerful Tools for Becoming a Great Communicator on MastersinCommunication.org.

 

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