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Thinking Of An Emotional Intelligence Program For Your Office?

   By: Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach

You'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). More and more businesses are recognizing the need for an EQ culture. Businesses have used it to ease the strain of diversity, multicultural and global offices; to decrease negative friction in the information age where sharing is crucial; to maneuver the landmines of EEOC and ADEA rulings; to address the tremendous human and financial costs to employers of stressed employees in time off, illness, low productivity, and acts of irrational violence - verbal or physical; to hire better workers and retain them; and to increase profitability.

At the profit level, employers know their success depends upon having the best employee - knowing how to hire them and keep them - and getting the best out of them.

At the personal level, we'd all prefer a congenial working atmosphere, and wellness in ourselves and others.

If you've been considering bringing EQ to your office here are some things to consider:

1. Emotional Intelligence can be defined by its results. After such a program, your employees should have more self-awareness and awareness of others in the emotional range, be able to language problems and issues in a more constructive way, be able to generate options, feel less stress, and be more confident in the hardest area in the workplace - interpersonal relationships. Studies show that most firings are the cause of "personality conflicts" and this where EQ comes in. 2. Participants, however, have described it to me as "the missing piece," "what I needed that nobody could ever teach me," "an owner's guide to excellence," and "something that brought good changes immediately." 3. If you consider the results "intangible," consider this comment by a manager who was coached in EQ (the EQ Alive! Program): "It really heightened my awareness. I'm very sharp now about what's going on around me with people, more attuned with feelings, can spot from a distance when something is going on with someone." 4. Think it's only for the young, the new, and the lower ranks? The above participant has been a manager for 20 years. 5. The program must include theory (because it has to do with neuroscience - how the brain works, the emotions) and applications. The best program will leave participants with the ability to apply EQ to the wide range of unpredictable situations that occur in any workplace. Be sure the EQ is taught at the "meta" level. 6. Participants should be pre- and post-tested with an emotional intelligence assessment such as The EQ-Map http://tinyurl.com/z94t ). 7. The program should be comprehensive - assessment, a theoretical course, weekly ezine, group work, and individual coaching on competencies. 8. A 3 or 8-hour "workshop" can generate interest, but it is not sufficient to teach the theory, skills and applications. Don't be fooled that an 8-hour workshop can "teach" emotional intelligence. 9. EQ can address two of the most insidious emotions hampering productivity in your office - fear and anger. Both shut down the thinking processes, the thing you need the most in your workplace. "Old style" management training included tactics which directly elicit these two detrimental emotions. Here is a comment from someone who has been a chief psychiatric nurse for decades: "It really opened me up to things not well known in the nursing sector. It showed me how people tick. Has taken me up a notch. I'm getting over fears. I changed my leadership and this changes all those I lead." 10. Time frame? Most participants report immediate changes for the better in their lives, which is highly motivational. Sustained changes require breaking old habits and learning new ones, practicing the competencies over time. Three months is a fair estimate. 11. This is not book learning or "self help." EQ involves limbic (brain) learning. The skills must be put into practice with expert feedback. Coaching with a certified EQ coach is optimal because of the one-on-one. 12. The instructor must be able to operationalize complex concepts. Choose someone who can explain to you what emotional intelligence is in plain English. If you hear jargon, it means they've memorized something they don't really understand. 13. Intentionally accept a program for your business that doesn't use your own particular language. EQ is about behavioral changes (for the better) and language is a behavior. Certain phrases are an important part of the short-hand and camaraderie of an office, business, or field, but they cause barriers - barriers between people, and barriers to learning new things. Jargon is particularly limiting with some of the most important people in your office - new people, global offices or branches, diversity groups, and - this is very important - the most intelligent workers, the ones with the highest IQs. 14. If you're the leader, participate yourself. I was making a sales call on a company the other day and was told, "Our CEOs would never take this. There's a group of women managers in the marketing department, however, who..." This is Neanderthal. EQ is not "for women" and if you think it is, you need to get into the 21st century. Men are every bit as "emotional" as women, and suffer just as big a consequences from its mismanagement.

As a corollary to the last point, "emotions in the workplace" does not mean what to do about the woman who cries when under pressure and runs to the restroom. It's about what to do with the CEO or manager who can't control his anger and demeans and harasses employees, leaving you increasingly at risk legally. It's about the department head whose intimidation produces exactly the opposite effect he intends, and is "clueless" about this. It's about your biggest dilemma - the top salesperson or rainmaker whose EQ is so low no one wants to work with her, good new people leave, and you see the future of your organization going down the tubes. It's about a department demoralized by a previous low EQ manager that's running on something you can't define, so can't address, but it's draining your profits. It's about bullying and mobbing (already illegal in some countries), which, once started is nearly impossible to contain, and which is usually directed at the best and hardest workers. It is sometimes unrecognized by leaders, condoned by them, or even ordered by them. The manager who can't identify it immediately is at-risk, and it takes keen intuition (an EQ competency) to see beyond the "smoke screen" as to where the problem really lies.

EQ is particularly important for men because of the health problems around anger. The biggest selling point for EQ is, in fact, wellness. Our emotions directly effect our immune system, which is our health. (5 minutes of anger can suppress your immune system for hours.)

All these are compelling reasons why EQ is about profit. EQ addresses the spaces between the lines of the flow chart and spreadsheets, the policies manual, and the anti-discrimination poster, all of which are in place, and none of which is producing the results you want. It will bring clarity to the parts of your operation that are shadowy and difficult to define, such as the genius in the IT department who has all the credentials but isn't producing, why a certain department is always a thorn in your side, and what to do about that manager you keep sending to training seminars and nothing happens.

EQ can also decrease your vulnerability. A study showed that doctors make mistakes, but the ones that get sued are the ones considered arrogant or abrasive.

IQ, training and credentials are not enough or else that young man over there in the sales department with the IQ of 150 would be a leading producer, and instead, he's not only barely making quota, his arrogance and perfectionism are wreaking havoc with the rest of the department. What happened to your rising star? He's got it all, if only ... ?

EQ is often what separates the winners from the losers and what allows people to achieve their potential. Wouldn't it pay to learn more about it?

Article Source: http://www.friendsofvista.org/articles/article27703.html





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