Imagine you were in your MBA class for the first time and you had the intelligence of Jeff Bezos and Marisa Meyer together. If you want to have the brightest future possible in business, you may still have a few things to learn. “During our years of study, there is a misconception that only the degree of your academic achievement matters in your life,” says Daniel Goleman, one of the country’s most famous writers and researchers in the field of leadership. When you enter a business, especially if you are an entrepreneur, you know it’s nonsense. Many people with direct A work for people who were a B student. I once spoke to a room full of CEOs. I asked, “How many of you excelled, did you have the highest grades in your class when you graduated?” Out of 200 or 300 people, it was about 1%. “There is an assumption that your success in school determines how successful you are in business”.
Through a convincing mix of anecdotes and scientific analysis, he argues that what distinguishes top businessmen is the “EI” (emotional intelligence), which he describes as the sum of self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social skills. .
“The higher proportion of competencies that distinguish stars among leaders is based on emotional intelligence rather than IQ-type abilities, to a large extent – like 80 or 90 percent of them,” said Goleman, speaking from his Berkshire office. . He came to this conclusion after studying data from nearly 200 organizations, large and small, that compared their best performance to that of conventional organizations.
“This does not mean that IQ is irrelevant,” Gelman said. “IQ is important in categorizing people based on the jobs they can do.” But when you enter the game, you compete with smart people like yourself, and you compete with how much you can manage yourself and lead others.”
Fortunately, he says, emotional and social abilities are not fixed at birth. With perseverance, you can “re-wire your brain” to bring your EI to genius levels.
To figure out which aspects of emotional intelligence need to be worked on, “imagine your ideal” for the next five to 10 years. What will your typical day be like? Who will be there? What kind of relationship will you have with them? Consider “your deepest values and your highest dreams.” How will these be part of your daily life?
Next: Learn how your ideal self compares to your current self. Goleman recommends questions such as:
- Are you usually aware of your feelings and why do you feel that way?
- Can you manage your distressing emotions well – for example, they recover quickly when you are upset or stressed?
- Can you usually feel the emotions of the people you interact with and understand how they see you?
- Are you good at persuading and using your influence effectively?
Just do not be introverted; you also need to find out how others feel and how they see your leadership style. Of course, this can be difficult, especially for staff. One possibility is to request anonymous written reviews. You may also form or join a support group where peers who know you well (perhaps outside of your company) give you explicit comments about your behavior.
Then there’s “360-degree feedback,” a process that Goleman helped develop. In 360, a certified instructor asks bosses, peers, direct reports, clients, and sometimes your family members to analyze your “social intelligence” – the EI section on empathy and social skills. Among other things, they consider your sensitivity to the needs of the people, your style of guidance, your interest in the opinions of others, and your willingness (or lack thereof) to display the best.
Once feedback is received, resist the temptation to stay only on your EI shortcomings. “Understanding one’s strengths is just as important, perhaps even more so,” writes Goleman. For example, he finds that most entrepreneurs are flexible and innovative. “Knowing where your true self overlaps with your ideal self gives you the positive energy you need to move on to the next step in the process of filling in the gaps.”
Praise, pay attention, practice
If you are like many entrepreneurs, an EI slot is in your ear. “Poor listening is a common cold in today’s leadership,” says Goleman. We often ask people to keep it short, which often means we cut them off and take over the conversation to get them out quickly. “But if you want to be a good listener, you have to really take the time to listen to them and make sure you understand them.”
Another common shortcoming: being a Dubai Downer. “This is a big problem for entrepreneurs,” says Gelman. “Entrepreneurs are usually people who are more advanced than others and have a very high internal standard for excellence. They do things very well, and this can become a model of perfectionism, in which you tend to look only wrong instead of right. The problem with leadership is when people who have reached the top become managers or leaders and use the same lens with their direct reports. “If they only give rejected scores, not acceptance scores, it will make people unmotivated.”
To overcome such weaknesses, Gelman proposes a practical plan. “Ideally, do it with the help of a 360 coach or another business coach who can monitor your progress.” Has a mentor “- so why should it be different. In business?) Choose a short list of changes you can make inside and outside the office that target each of your goals.
To improve your listening skills, you may want to schedule a meeting with one of your co-workers or employees, away from the office distractions. You may also volunteer at a crisis center, where understanding the needs of others is crucial. “At home, to begin with, try not to control the conversations and” be calm in listening, make sure you understand before answering, “says Gelman.
To be less critical, constantly remind yourself to pay attention to what others are doing well in your life. Praise them. Just don’t attack them, “he says,” and make it real – our radar is great for being formal. “Here, too, it’s useful to talk to employees away from the office. – About what he wants from life, job and this job – Gives you good grounds to give him feedback on where he wants to go: “When you did X, Gelman advises that he did not help you.” “A personal angle builds a lot of loyalty and makes you feel that you care about people.”
Most importantly, no matter what aspect of the EI you want to build, you need to work on it daily and consciously. “Habit neuroscience tells us that you have to pay attention to the old way, change what you want, deliberately replace it with a new habit, and do it at every opportunity that happens naturally,” says Gelman. May be with your children. May be with your spouse. May be with your direct reports.
“These are all learning opportunities, and you’re trying to create new circuits in the brain – the basis for a better way. You will do it at the right time, without thinking about it, it happens on its own, meaning that your brain takes it from the front of the forehead, where it has to work, to the base ganglion, where all our habits live. Do, has passed.
Open Your Eyes and Close Them
“As you continue your daily workouts, you can accelerate your progress by overshadowing leaders known for their empathy and social skills: See how they stay calm and adapt to stress,” says Goleman. See how they balance effective listening and communication. How – in a group – they help everyone move towards a common goal, endorse the participation of others, and encourage everyone’s strengths.
Because of the chemistry of the brain, you may start imitating these patterns before you know it. You may have heard of mirror neurons – these neurons catch fire not only when we do something, but also when we see others doing the same thing. Many scientists think that mirror neurons help us understand each other and learn skills. “Mirror neurons are especially important in organizations because leaders’ feelings and actions force followers to reflect those feelings and actions,” says Gelman.
Similarly, even emotions and imaginative actions can increase your EI. When you picture a happy scenario in detail – for example, listen carefully to an employee and work with him to solve a problem – he can “get the same brain cells that actually do that,” writes Goleman. “Involve, shoot.” “The new circuit of the brain seems to be accelerating and strengthening communication, even when we are just repeating this sequence in our minds.”
As for repetition, Goleman believes that another key to EI is daily meditation: for example, focus on your breath and turn your mind to it, for example, when your body is wandering, your body to stress points. Scan, then calm them down.
“The essence of this training is attention skills,” he says. I try to meditate for at least 10 minutes a day. One of Gelman’s favorite things about mindfulness is that you take it everywhere. Say that one of the shortcomings of your EI is anxiety or irritability. “When you start to get angry or overwhelmed, focusing can help you realize what is happening to you. “You can shorten the episode.”
Meditation is also vital in the long run, says Gelman. “Every successful entrepreneur needs this ability.” So it is not surprising that companies like Google and the Huffington Post are increasingly offering meditation sessions to employees. “Not only do you, the leader, need mindfulness, but you also need all the people you depend on to achieve your goal.”
Savor Face Time
Now more than ever, our EI is under attack. Technology destroys our attention to each other with every text message beep and social media alert. A company may have employees in several offices or even time zones that make it harder for you to feel empathy or use your social skills. Gelman insists that you should never give up.
If your business involves telecommuting or remote offices, have informal meetings once or twice a year – or at least, frequent Skype and things like that. The brain is made for face-to-face interaction. “It’s always the best,” says Gelman.
Being alone in a room with someone else may not be enough, as couples in restaurants have proven that they seem to take turns with their iPhone. “Be careful when something takes you away from someone,” says Goleman, meaning phone or other device. Then ask yourself, can I pay this fee? Is this the best thing to do right now? You might say, yes, this text is important. I can look at it. “Or you might say, ‘I care more about the person in front of me.’ By chance, attention to those in front of you will generally prevail.
“Chemistry happens when we pay full attention to each other, never when we are distracted. This is true in romantic relationships and in business relationships.”
So if possible, let that call go to voicemail. Close that chat window and start expanding your emotional intelligence, a rich, face-to-face moment.