Your EQ is Key to Career Success!

Research has powerfully proven that if you are a professional, particularly one in a leadership role (or want to be promoted into one), your emotional intelligence (EQ) capacities can make or break you. What matters is how others (staff, colleagues, key stakeholders/clients and other senior leaders) perceive your EQ abilities like self-awareness, emotional reactivity, adaptability and interpersonal communication in difficult or stressful situations.

In my many years of executive coaching experience I have met few leaders who really know how others truly perceive them. Staff is often reluctant to give leaders with hire/fire authority tough feedback. Additionally, few leaders have been given a confidential 360-feedback review. Sadly, leaders with the greatest EQ challenges are frequently those who have the greatest blind spots. Some find out after it’s too late.

Your EQ is essentially hard wired into the brain in early childhood. Its what helps or hinders you in being interpersonally effective in challenging, stressful or conflict workplace scenarios. If you are a leader you simply can’t afford not to pay attention to growing your skills in this arena. If others don’t trust you or you fail to persuade with your communication style you won’t last long in a leadership role.

EQ Career tip #1. Take my EQ assessment and find out your EQ strengths and challenges. I thoroughly researched the most popular EQ tools/tests available and have great faith in the profile that I have used successfully with hundreds of clients. I am offering 10% off through Feb 29th on this popular, practical and reliable tool.

EQ Career tip #2. Ask those around you to share impact/feedback with you. Don’t make assumptions about how others perceive you.

The good news is that EQ can be improved!! EQ is my coaching sweet spot. I know the formula to help you improve what matters most to your career success. It starts with a phone call—invest in yourself and call or email me today!

Call me to discuss: 425 736 5691(cell) or 360 682 5807 (office)
or email: pinelakemo@comcast.net

Referrals are greatly appreciated!! Please pass my practical tips on to any others you think would benefit.

Anxiety in Workplace

In small doses, anxiety can be a useful emotion. It helps alert us to danger and can spark us into taking needed action. But when anxiety is chronic and hinders us (driving negative behavior or paralyzing us), it’s time to address it.

Wise leaders understand that emotions are contagious. Anxiety left unchecked can spread like wildfire in today’s environment. Companies and senior managers need to take a proactive approach to managing anxiety or risk it paralyzing their work force.

Here are a few coach’s tips to address and reduce workplace anxiety:

  • Discuss relevant matters openly and appropriately. Bring your team together to talk about their stress and emotions. Tell them what is going on; give as much information as possible. The worst thing senior leaders can do during these turbulent difficult times is to go silent. Communicate often. Discuss how the organization plans to get through the tough times ahead, letting individuals know how they can contribute.
  • Foster an environment that promotes fairness, compassion and transparency. People are in turmoil — to ignore this is ill advised. This is a time to be available if you are a leader; listen well and acknowledge the concerns of staff. Caring about the emotional health of employees is important. Leaders can’t afford to be oblivious to what is going on with their people emotionally — it results in collective distress, which leads to poor performance. Recognize when workers are “flooded” (overwhelmed by their emotions in a fight-or-flight reptilian brain response) and allow them time and space to recover.
  • Keep your people connected (and I don’t mean electronically). It’s not healthy for people to hide out in cubicles struggling to concentrate day after day. We need human-to-human contact. It helps soothe anxiety and fear. Research shows that positive human contact reduces stress hormones. People in pain are helped when others reach out to them (allowing them to function more effectively again). Allowing time for employees to share human emotions and feelings is not only good for business — it’s being a good human being.
  • Leaders’ emotions are particularly contagious, so managing anxiety is important. People look to their leaders for cues about how they should respond. How leaders “show up” emotionally can have a huge impact (positively or negatively) on an entire team or organization. Leaders can’t help their people manage their emotions unless they first manage their own behaviors.
  • Develop self-soothing methods. There are numerous techniques that can help — tightening and then relaxing muscles, awareness of breath (slowing it down), deep cleansing breaths, meditation, listening to classical music or talking a walk around the block. All can help you feel more centered and calm.
  • Dig yourself out. Reduce physical and electronic clutter — it adds to anxiety and drains energy. Find a workable system to track e-mails and filing. Clear time in your day to organize, prioritize and plan.
  • Learn to notice and track your anxiety. One in 10 people are prone to anxiety disorders (get professional help if this is you!). It can be helpful to track and record in a journal or matrix what triggers anxiety for you. See if by keeping track over time you notice any patterns. Identifying the negative internal tapes that accompany anxiety can be helpful in getting rid of them. Practice noticing the thought pattern and letting it go or “shooting” your automatic internal critic.

· Offer skill development, coaching support and training for your people. Given the extreme stress levels in today’s workplace, this is a prime time to offer staff or management conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and/or communication training. There are learnable skills, techniques and tools that will help people work through differences more effectively in today’s turbulent, uncertain environment.

Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and emotional intelligence abilities.  I coach leaders all over the world via Skype.  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com

Leaders Set The Tone

Experience, drive and intellect are important skills for leading successfully in today’s business world, but they’re not enough.

Successful leaders need to be able to inspire, motivate and communicate that they care about their people. They need to deal effectively not only with their own emotions but with the emotions of those around them.

The workplace today is increasingly full of challenge and stress. We are all being asked to do more with less. One of the greatest challenges leaders face is dealing with stress.

How a leader responds to stress can be contagious. Leaders who openly display anger, fear, resentment and anxiety under stress can be toxic to their people and the business. Allowed to continue unchecked, this kind of behavior can have a devastating impact on an organization. Loose cannons sink ships and human talent can be driven away.

How we deal with stress, challenge and conflict has roots deep in human evolution. The problem: In times of great stress or crisis, our limbic brains literally take over the rest of the brain. In the emotional intelligence arena, this is referred to as an “amygdala hijack,” meaning the reptilian part of the brain (the amygdala) has taken over for the more advanced, cognitive part of the brain.

The amygdala is the part of the brain largely responsible for our freeze, fight or flight response; in other words, our caveman defense system. We have millions of years of evolution hard-wired into our brains to protect us from those nasty sabertooths and other predators. While sabertooths no longer exist, sometimes it can seem as if your boss or co-worker is out to get you. This is when the lizard part of your brain kicks in so effectively and totally with its highly protective response. But as Martha Beck (Oprah’s O Magazine life coach) says, Do you really want to be taking advice from a lizard?

She makes a great point. When we lose control of our emotions and allow ourselves to be swept away by anger, fear or anxiety, it’s usually the lizard in you that is running the show.

How to get the lizard in you under control:

  • Self-awareness: Develop your ability to see or feel yourself getting “hooked” or hijacked. Getting hooked means someone has pushed your emotional button (or grabbed your lizard). Most of us know our buttons. If you don’t, make it your mission to know so you can see them coming.

Many of our triggers stem from early childhood experiences. For example, if you grew up with a father with very high expectations, you may overreact to criticism from a co-worker or boss. Similarly, if you were the middle child (and didn’t get the attention you craved), you may “react” when members of your workplace team don’t listen to your ideas or pay enough attention to you.

The key is recognizing your triggers so you can make a choice to behave differently. You do have a choice about how you react. Practice tracking and identifying your emotional triggers. Pay attention to the child (and lizard) within you to develop insight about when an “amygdala hijack” may be imminent (Hint: the hair standing up on the back of your neck or breaking into a cold sweat are clues). There are tools and instruments available to help you identify your typical response to stress and challenge and learn new strategies.

  • Self-regulation: Develop self-soothing or coping strategies to rely on when you know you are hooked. For some a walk around the block or taking deep breaths will work. Others use daily exercise or meditation to help them remain calm. The key is finding what works for you, and remembering to use it when you find yourself headed for trouble.

Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and emotional intelligence abilities.  I coach leaders all over the world via Skype.  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com

Great Bosses Have High Emotional Intelligence

Today’s leaders require more than experience, business savvy, IQ and technical skills to be successful. Self- awareness, self-regulation, adaptability and the ability to relate well with others are all qualities that make up emotional intelligence, or EQ — an important skill set to master for anyone interested in leadership development.

Daniel Goleman, popular author on EQ, says that “as a leader moves up in an organization, up to 90 percent of their success lies in emotional intelligence.”

If you work for a high-EQ leader, you have a wonderful example to learn from (and likely you are a highly satisfied worker). Emotionally intelligent leaders get more out of their people (yes, this is bottom-line stuff!) They help us see and develop our “greatness” and potential. So what do emotionally intelligent leaders look like?

The profile:

  • Self-aware. They understand their emotional patterns and response tendencies when interacting with others. They know themselves well (their emotional hooks and triggers) and are capable of consciously observing themselves in the middle of high stress or challenge. This enables them to make positive behavioral choices versus typical knee-jerk reactions that may hinder relationship goals. They understand how their emotions and reactions translate to others (smiles, confidence and positive energy are contagious) and are able to adjust their reactions accordingly and appropriately.
  • Adaptive and “tuned in” to their people. The most effective leaders are resilient, with a wide tolerance for different personalities. They adapt their management style to the situation and people involved. They aren’t self-absorbed; on the contrary, they are empathetic. They pay attention to the non-verbal “cues” and “moods” of their people. For example, they recognize when their team has reached its capacity to effectively absorb any more and respond by setting a slower pace.
  • Know how to capture our hearts and emotions. They bring out the best in us by helping us identify our undiscovered strengths and talents. They inspire self-confidence and high performance in others. They pay attention and acknowledge what matters to their people (like work/life balance). Because they truly value their people, they communicate congruently and convey that they genuinely care.
  • Focus on the positive while staying in touch with reality. They help others see the opportunities in the muck. We want to give our best to leaders who display confidence, positive energy and faith in our abilities. A word of caution here: leaders with “rose-colored glasses” will not be trusted for long (Pollyanna was just too good to be true). While we want positive leaders, we also want them to be grounded in reality and to understand the pitfalls and challenges of the task at hand.
  • Inspire trust. They create harmonious workplaces by helping people connect with each other. They are approachable and listen well. They inspire collaboration and commitment (when feasible) with a participative management style — gaining input from their team before initiating change. They value input from others and are adaptive versus “it’s my way or the highway.”
  • Are emotionally available. They are in tune with their own emotions (informed but not ruled by their feelings). By the way, those who hide (or are unaware of) their emotions can be perceived as aloof, uncaring and out of touch. If people can’t read you, they typically create their own labels or stories about what is really going on with you. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate you are human (what you are feeling) or that you care about your people.
  • Keep their composure during a storm. They can maintain calm and self-control even during times of high stress. They self-regulate and can recover quickly from mistakes and relationship challenges. They are in charge of when and how they express their emotions and express them appropriately.

Research suggests most leaders tend to overestimate their emotional intelligence abilities. It’s lonely at the top. The more senior your position, the less likely that you are getting honest, critical feedback on your capacities in the EQ area.

One tool that can help identify how other people in the organization view your EQ is 360-degree feedback.

Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and emotional intelligence abilities.  I coach leaders all over the world via Skype.  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com

Don’t underestimate emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence, or “EQ,” is a core competency for leadership and success in the workplace. EQ was popularized by author Daniel Goleman, who says EQ is “one’s capacity to deal effectively with your own and others’ emotions.”

There is a strong business case for emotional intelligence. Many Fortune 500 companies take a focused approach to assessing and developing EQ in their employees. Numerous studies indicate that EQ is the most important factor in job performance and promotion, particularly leadership.

One Gallup study of more than 2 million employees found the majority of workers rated having a caring boss higher than money or benefits. Productivity and workplace satisfaction have been linked to the amount of time people feel positive emotions at work. Good moods are good for business.

Why should you care about your EQ? The most frequently cited reason behind career derailment is a lack of emotional intelligence. Professionals and leaders who frequently vent anger, are insincere, untrustworthy or let their emotions run out of control can be toxic to workplaces.

The good news: Unlike IQ, EQ can be developed and improved. The bad news: EQ is hard-wired in our neural pathways in the brain; therefore, rerouting those circuits isn’t easy. It requires (like most areas of leadership development) self-awareness, understanding how co-workers interact with you, new skills, practice and focus.

Self-regulation (how we manage ourselves under stress), trust of self and others, empathy, listening, interpersonal communication, optimism, being able to inspire and influence others, team building and self-awareness are the most frequently cited skills and competencies associated with EQ development.

So, how do you increase your EQ? You can get started by focusing on these areas:

Self-awareness: It’s the foundation for EQ. You can’t change what you are unaware of in yourself. Being able to observe yourself in the heat of the moment is the first step to making a different choice versus your typical programmed emotional reaction. Understanding how you react under stress and pressure is imperative. Ask others; become a feedback-seeking missile. EQ assessments help you gain an understanding of how you uniquely respond under stress. This awareness is critical to stopping a downward slide on the corporate ladder — or to moving up.

Develop empathy: Having empathy means being able to understand what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes, to let someone know you have heard, understood and acknowledged their experience. This requires a shift from a focus on you to them. By the way, empathy isn’t about agreeing with someone else’s perspective; it’s about understanding where they are coming from.

Be informed — not ruled — by your emotions: Notice your feelings. It is unfortunate that many people were taught as children not to experience or “own” their feelings. There is valuable information in emotions — if you can tune into that internal channel. Feelings can clue us in about the importance and meaning of an event, situation or interaction. Start tracking your feelings when stressed or challenged. Is there a pattern? Are your feelings mostly positive or negative? What “triggers” your emotions? What action did you take after experiencing the emotion? What do you want to do differently next time?

How we play with (and lead) others is key to successful leadership. One way to improve your EQ is to work with a certified coach who specializes in emotional intelligence like me!  I can help you identify areas of strength and challenge, teach you new EQ skills and provide the necessary feedback for improvement. Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and emotional intelligence abilities.  I coach leaders all over the world via Skype.  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com