I am writing about Emotional Intelligence in the times of Artificial Intelligence. Reason is simple – Emotional Intelligence is something that a human being needs to cultivate consciously. Emotional Intelligence creates a congenial work environment in an organization.
There are many emotional skills of human beings that govern emotional intelligence:
- Influence and Persuasion
- Authentic Leadership
- Leadership Presence
- Conflict and Dealing with Difficult People
- Meaning and Purpose
- Mindful Listening
- Power and Impact
I would like to touch upon these skills very briefly with excerpts from or summary of the concepts detailed in the articles of the book set given in the Reference section.
Mindfulness is the ability to notice new things, events, and opportunities. It develops focus, generates enthusiasm or energy, and develops better performance. The practice of mindfulness in organization makes the team live the present moment in a non-judgmental way to solve the problems at hand now.
Mindfulness is very effective in increasing –
Tips to practice Mindfulness –
- Sit comfortably in a quiet place in an undistracted mind
- Focus our attention as we breathe
- If any judgmental distraction sets us off the focus, just reset the cycle
- Self-reflection leading to self-awareness
- Self-compassion letting begets kindness and mindfulness
- Practice empathy
- Practice gratitude
- Practice generosity
What is Resilience, specifically?
“Resilient people, they posit, possess three characteristics: a staunch acceptance of reality; a deep belief, often buttressed by strongly held values, that life is meaningful; and an uncanny ability to improvise.”
A common belief about resilience is that it stems from an optimistic nature. That’s true but only if such optimism doesn’t distort our sense of reality.
The way resilient people build bridges from present-day hardships to a fuller, better constructed future. Those bridges make the present manageable, removing the sense that the present is overwhelming. This concept was beautifully articulated by Viktor E. Frankl in his book “.
Skill bricolage in the modern sense can be defined as a kind of inventiveness, an ability to improvise a solution to a problem without proper or obvious tools or materials.
Building up the positivity currency is grounded in actual positive interactions, events, and memories—factors that are known to boost resilience.
Influence and Persuasion
Factors impacting the influence of one person on others –
- Positional Power
- Non-verbal signals
Six principles for Persuasion
The principle of liking – People like those who like them
– Similarity and Praise. Uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise
The principle of reciprocity – People repay in kind
– Give what we want to receive
The principle of social proof: People follow the lead of similar others
– Use peer power whenever it is available
The principle of consistency: People align with their clear commitments.
– Make their commitments active, public and voluntary
The principle of authority: People defer to experts.
– Expose our expertise, don’t assume it is self-evident
The principle of scarcity: People want more of what they can have less of.
– Highlight unique benefits and exclusive information
A few other points –
Empathy and Charisma are two important factors for personality that develop influence on others. Moreover, speaking in terms of Storytelling is more effective than dry facts towards influence and persuasion.
It is difficult to define Happiness, but it primarily depends on the following aspects of life –
Positive emotion: Peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, and love fall into this category.
Engagement: Losing ourselves in a task or project provides us with a sense of “disappeared time” because we are so highly engaged.
Relationships: People who have meaningful, positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not.
Meaning: Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether it’s a religion or a cause that helps humanity in some way, we all need meaning in our lives.
Accomplishment/achievement: To feel significant life satisfaction, we must strive to better ourselves.
To be fully engaged and happy, we may need three things:
- A meaningful vision of the future.
- A sense of purpose.
- Great relationships.
Authenticity of personality depends to a great extent on the life experiences one has been facing. The following questions are very relevant in this respect –
- Which people and experiences in our early life had the greatest impact on us?
- What tools do we use to become self-aware?
What is our authentic self? What are the moments when we say to ourselves, “This is the real me”?
- What are our most deeply held values? Where did they come from? Have our values changed significantly since our childhood? How do our values inform our actions?
- What motivates us extrinsically? What are our intrinsic motivations? How do we balance extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in our life?
- What kind of support team do we have? How can our support team make us a more authentic leader? How should we diversify our team to broaden our perspective?
- Is our life integrated? Are we able to be the same person in all aspects of our life— personal, work, family, and community? If not, what is holding us back?
- What does being authentic mean in our life? Are we more effective as a leader when we behave authentically? Have we ever paid a price for our authenticity as a leader? Was it worth it?
- What steps can we take today, tomorrow, and over the next year to develop our authentic leadership?
Learning from our own life story
The journey to authentic leadership begins with understanding the story of one’s own life. The life story provides the context for the experiences, and through it, one can find the inspiration to make an impact in the world.
Knowing our own authentic self
Courage and honesty to open up and examine one’s experiences
Willingness to listen to feedback—especially the kind one doesn’t want to hear.
Practicing the values and principles
The values that form the basis for authentic leadership are derived from the beliefs and convictions, but one will not know what the true values are until they are tested under pressure.
Although executive presence is highly intuitive and difficult to pin down, it ultimately boils down to our ability to project mature self-confidence, a sense that we can take control of difficult, unpredictable situations; make tough decisions in a timely way and hold our own with other talented and strong-willed members of the executive team.
The age-old question is whether executive presence can be developed? The answer is yes, if we have a baseline of self-confidence and a willingness to deal with the unpredictable situations that go with the territory at the executive level.
Keep in mind that employing empathy will help us understand how people are responding to us.
The popular concept of Empathy Triad is as follows:
Cognitive empathy: the ability to understand another person’s perspective
Emotional empathy: the ability to feel what someone else feels
Empathic concern: the ability to sense what another person needs from us
A primary task of leadership is to direct attention. To do so, leaders must learn to focus their own attention. Categorizing these modes of attention into three broad buckets—
- focusing on ourselves,
- focusing on others, and
- focusing on the wider world
These categories shed new light on the practice of many essential leadership skills.
Conflict and Dealing with Difficult People
There are two primary categories of conflicts:
“Hot conflict is when one or more parties are highly emotional and doing one or more of the following: speaking loudly or shouting; being physically aggressive, wild, or threatening; using language that is incendiary; appearing out of control and potentially explosive.”
“Cold conflict is when one or more parties seem to be suppressing emotions or are appearing “unemotional” and are doing one or more of the following: muttering under their breath or pursing their lips; being physically withdrawn or controlled; turning away or otherwise deflecting contact; remaining silent or speaking in a tone that is passive aggressive; appearing shut down or somehow frozen.”
Conflict Resolution techniques
- Make time our ally. Don’t rush to act. Unless we’re in danger, take stock of our options. Otherwise we might say or do something we regret.
- Determine our goal, and focus on it. Don’t get distracted; stick to what matters.
- Avoid name-calling and finger-pointing. Focus on the problem, not the people.
- Beware of self-righteousness. Keep an open mind; we may find that we can learn something of value.
- Listen to everything, but respond selectively.
- We don’t have to address every point—just the ones that make a difference.
- Take stock before we take sides. Don’t speak— or take any other action—until we have really heard the other person out. Don’t leap to conclusions before we have a firm grasp of the situation at hand.
- Consider calling in a third party. Someone who is not involved in the conflict may be able to provide vital perspective for both parties.
- Allow our adversary to know us. Letting down our guard and letting the other person in may help them understand our point of view.
- Check the temperature gauge. If the conflict is still too hot, don’t try to resolve it right away.
- Agree to come back when things have cooled.
- Observe the golden rule. Do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Be polite. Be compassionate. It may inspire our adversary to do the same.
Meaning and Purpose
Whether or not we enjoy our work often boils down to how our job fits with our sense of purpose. Where we work, the role we hold, our broader sense of purpose—all three are subject to change.
A personal declaration of purpose is very important. It is a simple statement about how we shall decide to live each and every day. Having a sense of purpose in our life is critical to well-being.
Having a sense of purpose in our roles at work is equally important. And yet it’s not enough to find that sense of purpose once—we have to continually find it as circumstances (and we) change.
The mindset that we carry to the workplace matters a lot to inculcate a sense of purpose and meaning within us –
- Job mindset. When someone has a job mindset, they resort to a “paycheck mentality,” performing their duties in return for compensation and not much else.
- Career mindset. This mindset occurs when an individual is focused on increasing or advancing their salary, title, power, team size, or sphere of control.
- Purpose mindset. Feeling passionate, innovative, and committed are hallmarks of this mindset, as is having an outward-looking focus on serving the broader organization or key stakeholders. Here, our professional purpose feels aligned with our personal purpose.
A few important questions to ask to oneself to find the meaning and purpose of work and life –
- What are we good at doing?
- What do we enjoy?
- What feels most useful?
- What creates a sense of forward momentum?
- How do we relate to others? How does our work enhance our family and social connections?
“There is a well-known story about a janitor at NASA who, when asked by John F. Kennedy, what his job was, responded, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” This anecdote is often used to show how even the most mundane job can be seen as meaningful with the right mindset and under good leadership.”
“Confidence is an expectation of a positive outcome. It is not a personality trait; it is an assessment of a situation that sparks motivation. If we have confidence, we are motivated to put in the effort, to invest the time and resources, and to persist in reaching the goal. It’s not confidence itself that produces success; it’s the investment and the effort. Without enough confidence, it’s too easy to give up prematurely or not get started at all. Hopelessness and despair prevent positive action.”
We need to avoid the traps of confidence:
- Self-defeating assumptions
- Goals that are too big or too distant
- Blaming someone
- Neglecting to anticipate setbacks
Mindful listening skill will have following characteristics –
- It is much more than being silent while the other person talks.
- It includes interactions that build a person’s self-esteem.
- It is seen as a cooperative conversation.
- Mindful listeners tend to make suggestions.
Empathic listening, a particular form of Mindful Listening, is important in organizational settings. It has the following characteristics –
“The first behavior set involves recognizing all verbal and nonverbal cues, including tone, facial expressions, and other body language. In short, leaders receive information through all senses, not just hearing.”
“The second set of empathic listening behaviors is processing, which includes the behaviors we most commonly associate with listening. It involves understanding the meaning of the messages and keeping track of the points of the conversation.
“The third set of behaviors, responding, involves ensuring others that listening has occurred and encouraging communication to continue. Leaders who are effective responders give appropriate replies through verbal acknowledgments, deep and clarifying questioning, or paraphrasing.”
“Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest—with themselves and with others.”
There are two categories of Self-awareness:
The first, which is called internal self-awareness, “represents how clearly we see our own values, passions, aspirations, fit with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and impact on others.”
The second category, external self-awareness, “means understanding how other people view us, in terms of those same factors listed above.”
Great leaders often have shown the following qualities –
- Self-awareness: knowing one’s strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and impact on
- Self-regulation: controlling or redirecting disruptive impulses and moods
- Motivation: relishing achievement for its own sake
- Empathy: understanding other people’s emotional makeup
- Social skill: building rapport with others to move them in desired directions
Note – Self-awareness assessment at insight-quiz.com
Power and Impact
Too much power comes with negative personality traits for a leader.
Steps to avoid the Power Paradox-
The first step is to develop greater self-awareness through everyday mindfulness practices.
Also, focus on three essential practices—empathy, gratitude, and generosity—that have been shown to sustain benevolent leadership, even in the most cutthroat environments.
We can conclude this article stating that –
Considering the importance of Emotional Intelligence in modern-day organization, it is imperative for each of us to cultivate these skills to be a better employee and a better leader. Need to mention, Emotional Intelligence adds value to the quality of human life to a great extent.
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