Leadership

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I read an article this week that said millennials have higher emotional intelligence than others, that is, they have the ability to read others better than most (HRmagazine.co.uk). I was a little shocked by this article and was researching to support their findings and was unable to find any, or even how they were defining emotional intelligence. Some were skeptical of this and actually felt the opposite was true, that millennials do not have as much emotional intelligence as others. That they are not as open or empathetic as other generations. Yet, there is some truth to the fact that they have been brought up in more a team-oriented environment throughout their education and, as a result, they may know how to function in a team better. However, working in teams does not equate to improved emotional intelligence.

I spent some time searching for research on the topic through the local university and would have to say that there is not much in the research area to really support or disprove millennials having greater emotional intelligence. I did, however, have the privilege to talk with Dr. Jack Chisum and Glenn Brown at their motivation interviewing lab. It is an amazing lab that has the ability to not only read the emotions of the face, but also in the voice and the physiological responses by the people in their lab. (https://asunow.asu.edu/20160719-solutions-emotion-reading-software-better-health-care)

They are working on providing better health care by helping patients identify their emotional responses to what doctors say and also to identify their own thoughts about their health. They can follow a discussion between a patient and a doctor and pinpoint the moment a patient’s emotions jumped and which emotion was most strongly felt.   In this work, Dr. Chisum noted that an unanticipated finding in his research was that people under the age of 25 have a difficult time dealing with the emotional expressions made by people older than themselves. That is to say, when someone older than them expresses strong emotion, they didn’t know how to deal with it and it caused a strong counter emotional response in them.

While he said further research would be needed to explore the reasons for this, it was important to note that this emotional response does occur, and if people are working with the younger generation, they may want to be aware of how much emotion they are expressing good or bad. An emotional hijack will lead to a reduction in performance because the logic center becomes disengaged.

So what does this mean to you?   Be aware of your own state before talking to someone under the age of 25. Be aware of the state of others as well, but more importantly be aware of the affect your state has on others, especially those under 25. The more you can do to put the person at ease when you meet with them, be it feedback about work done, or an annual review, or a potential conflict that has been occurring, the more likely you will be to engage and reach a productive outcome. In the case of the doctors, Dr. Chisum said it is good to lead with a positive or neutral conversation, like ‘How was the weather on the way to work’, or ‘so great to see you today’, ‘I can tell you take pride in …’.

Dr. Chisum also suggested you lead with their ideal image of what they hope to have happen. Where would they like to be or what would they like to see if the conflict was resolved? What would that look like to them? This line of discussion can then lead to a response such as, ‘That is great, so what do you think the next steps are for you to make that happen’? ‘If you made progress, what would short-term success look like that you would feel good about’?

So what do you do if you don’t have the great technology in the lab? There are other ways to get to know millennials such as using a DISC-based assessment to understand potential emotional triggers which are amplified by their age. This will help you understand how to adjust your communication and reduce emotional triggers before they happen.

Ever go to a social event and meet a person who just would not stop talking about themselves? You ask a friend about their vacation and before they get two sentences out this other person interrupts with their story of visiting that same place. Every time your friend tries to continue, the other guy interrupts with a bigger, better adventure. Or after asking you what you do for a living he goes on and on about his accomplishments with no prompting inquiry from you. Dominating the conversation, you’re stuck standing there nodding your head and mumbling “uh-huh” over and over. Bored to tears, you’re trying to figure out how to escape.

Does that person resemble you? In networking environments there is always the pressure to get your message out, but is that effective?  Only if by chance you randomly hit exactly on a pain point of the person you are conversing with. Otherwise you’ve been saddled with the description of a boor and have incentivized them to get away from you quickly. I’ve experienced that and been guilty of it.

As a very talkative person with strong convictions I must be very aware when I am dominating the conversation in not necessarily a good way. What I do now is ask questions; find out about them, their family, how long in the area, who do they work for, what is their position/department, use questions to show their potential as a prospect or influencer.  I’m looking for the potential of them being interested in what I have to offer.

Usually, once they have slowed down, they get around to asking me about me. Hopefully I’ve discovered enough to customize my delivery in a way that relates to something I’ve learned during my questioning phase. My goal is to use a related story about something we have done that relates to them. Once the conversation gets around to me, I usually dominate it. I’ll quite often get “Wow, I’ve experienced that same thing,” that opens additional conversation about potential solutions and away we go.

How do you handle networking conversations?  What techniques have you found helpful?

As businesses continue to rebuild from the recession, it is important to understand how to engage and retain employees. Treating employees fairly is at the core of meeting this goal. It sounds simple but it’s often not well executed. Businesses see the bottom line and forget the path to the bottom line is the people within the organization.

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek understands how to treat employees fairly. He pays them a wage that sustains and retains them as employees. The industry average is $12.67 per hour compared to Costco’s $20.89 per hour wage. 80% of Costco employees have health insurance compared to 50% of the employees at their biggest competitor, Wal­Mart. As a result of having a living wage and affordable healthcare, they are less stressed, and happier. Jelinek believes that treating employees fairly is the key to creating a healthy economy. He might be on to something with the Costco stock rising as much as 30% since he became CEO. (Source)

There’s no secret formula for treating employees fairly. It’s all about who you hire and promote to leadership positions and how they execute the following:

  • Effective communication of the company mission, vision and values. Leaders need to have a grasp of what the company values in order to hire and manage employees who fit the company culture.
  • Set clear roles and expectations. Employees want to know what they need to do and how what they do fits into the larger company goals.
  • Establish a path to recognition and rewards at all levels of the organization. An effective recognition program will help engage and retain employees.
  • Mentor and coach employees to their individual styles. Not everyone learns the same way. Pairing complementary learning styles during the on boarding stage for example dramatically enhances the process as well as increasing the engagement of the individual. At all levels of training understanding how a person learns is crucial to training effectiveness and productivity.
  • Understand the personality types of employees at all levels of the organization to ensure they fit within the organization.

It’s on this last point where the team at Viatech Global can be most effective for your organization. We believe in helping businesses hire the best, empathetic leaders who treat employees fairly and with respect. We accomplish this by measuring their inherent talent to be leaders. To learn how we can help your organization engage and retain employees, please contact us.

Just like when we get ready to elect another leader; we need to remember the characteristics of a great leader. Whether in the White House or whether in the workplace, leaders can make or break an organization. A combination of these characteristics is what makes a leader a great one.

  • Visionary: Great leaders have a picture of the future they can describe in great detail. The process of getting from the leader’s vision to actionable and executable steps is done by the management team. A leader’s role is to communicate the vision and to be sure the team understands it.
  • Passion: A leader without passion- well, it just doesn’t exist. Leaders grab on to an idea and are determined to make the idea or dream a reality. They can motivate others to believe and execute their vision into reality.
  • Character: Being a leader means having a set of standards by which you make decisions. This set of standards is your character.
  • Focus: Understanding that multi-tasking leads to less productivity-not more. Leaders are focused on one task at a time.
  • Decision Maker: Because leaders have vision and passion they can make decisions relatively easily. Often, they are made using the Q-CAT system; Quick (not hasty), Committed (not rigid), Analytical (but not suffer analysis paralysis), and Thoughtful (concerned)
  • Engaging in Discussions: Leaders ask and answer questions of their own team. They aren’t afraid to revisit their vision, making changes as needed and depending on circumstances.
  • Driven: As the vision grows to reality a leader understands a plan could change. They are determined to see a project- or a version of a project-to its completion. Great leaders are unstoppable in a way that builds, not destroys, teams and organizations.
  • Listener: A leader who doesn’t listen makes others think they don’t matter. That’s exactly how not to motivate others to follow you. They won’t think you care if you aren’t listening to them.
  • Identify and Develop Other Leaders: There comes a time when the project or organization becomes too big for one leader. Great leaders are constantly mentoring others to lead future organizations.
  • Accountability: Taking responsibility for the good and the bad results are the role of a leader. Great leaders hold themselves and their teams to standards and are accountable to these standards.
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