Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Learn from Reading 'Leadership 2.0': Emotional Intelligence

Emotion and Reason

     Consciously or unconsciously, we often give priority to emotion. The reason is this. Everything we experience from our five senses is first translated to electrical signal which travels through our body to our brain.
     The signal always traverses the feeling part of our brain, before reaching the reasoning part of our brain. So we always feel before think.

IQ and EQ

     IQ is cognitive intelligence. It is fixed from birth. You don't get smarter over time, no matter how much you read. EQ, emotion intelligence, on the other hand, is how you deal with your own emotion. It can be improved over time.

Social Competence and Personal Competence

Personal competence is about yourself. It an ability to be aware of your emotion and take right actions. Social competence is an ability to understand people and to manage relationship to those around you. In the followings we shall discuss four emotional intelligence skills which can be classified into personal competence and social competence.

Personal Competence 1: Self Awareness

Self-awareness is an ability to know your emotion at any given moment. It is about understanding yourself and what motivates you. This is very difficult as you go deeper into yourself. You probably spend your entire life trying, and still don't fully understand yourself in the end. However, the harder you try, the better you are at self-awareness. Here are what you can do to improve your self-awareness.

  1. Lean towards discomfort. People tend to avoid discomfort. So we have very little contact with anything unpleasant. If you spend more time with discomfort, you will understand it more, e.g., why this is uncomfortable for you.
  2. Listen to your emotion. If you don't, it will take over you when you least expect it. This is in fact similar to Buddha's teaching. That is, when you have a bad feeling, don't try to get rid of it. Listen to it. Find its source. You'll be surprise that as you get closer to its source, the power of such the emotion diminishes as much.
  3. Find the source and reason for the emotion.
  4. Celebrate small victory. Learning about yourself is hard, very hard. So, be patience, and when you learn only a tiny bit more about yourself, be proud. Give yourself an emotional reward.
  5. Uncover your primal leadership. Your leadership, especially emotional part, will emanate to your people and they will act the same way you do.
  6. Make some mistake. Don't be scared of mistake. You can learn from it. You might even learn by thinking about it and thinking of what to do about it.
  7. Get feedback. If you want to collect the information from your people, be honest with then. Tell them that you are working one improving yourself. Alternatively, do 360 degree assessment anonymously from your people.
  8. Listen to yourself. When someone do something you don't like, think about it. Why don't you like it? Is it good or bad?

Personal Competence 2: Self-Management

Self-awareness is about understand yourself. But understanding isn't enough. You do to control yourself based on the understanding as well. Self-management is about doing and not doing a certain thing, particularly for yourself. When you are a leader, you need to cast aside your own need, well, at least a part of it, and putting on the table. Here are strategies to master self-management:

  1. Set the tone. Your emotion influences your people. Positive tone would make your people think positively. Negative tone would make your people think negatively. So, set the right tone and try to stick to it.
  2. Look for the sign. Again, self-awareness is the prerequisite of self-management. You need to be self-aware. Then you will see the sign, both good and bad. Then, you can choose what to do. The first step is to control yourself. But, even better approach is to find the root cause that ticks you, and deal with it. If you can deal with the root cause, you won't have to control yourself.
  3. Manage you positive emotion. Some of us tend to think more positively that things actually are. So, again, you need to control yourself for positive things, and think objectively.
  4. Think about your feeling and how it affects your behavior. Do it ahead of time. Otherwise, it will take over you.
  5. Make your goal public. You would be more dedicated if people know about your goal.
  6. Explore your options.
  7. Change your feeling into a behavior you want. For example, you can change your anxiety of an upcoming deadline into focus.
  8. Control you inner voice (i.e., self talk). Our mind cannot be still. It always moves. We think of this and that all the time. This thinking is called self-talked or inner voice. Our inner voice can intensify our emotion. So, control it and you will be able to think objectively.

Social Competence 1: Social Awareness

Social awareness is an ability to sense people's emotion. To master social awareness, you need to observe others. Observe their facial expression, body language, and tone of voice. Use the following strategies in order to increase your social awareness skill:
"Instead of looking inward to learn about and understand yourself, social awareness is looking outward to learn about and appreciate others." 

  1. Stop and listen. Do not anticipate or think ahead of what the other side will do next or what you should do next. Focus and observer the other side.
  2. Do not let your feeling interfere when you listen.
  3. Pick up the mood of the room. Emotion spreads, since people talk and observe each other. You should be able to sense the emotion of the room.
  4. Test your assumption. After you sense, you would be able to make an assumption about someone. If you are not sure, just ask. If you see one of your friend doesn't look well, just ask 'how are you doing?' If you get 'I'm fine', you can continue with 'you don't seem fine. Did something happen?’
  5. Make a 15 minute tour everyday. This would help you learn what really happen in your company and would help you horn your social awareness skill.

Social Competence 2: Relationship Management

This skill builds on the former three skills. You need to be aware of your own emotion and others' emotion. You also need to control yourself. The final step is to make constructive relationship with others. You need to do it right at the beginning. You cannot stop doing it if you don't want your relationship to wither away.
"The truth is all relationships take work, even the great one that seems effortless.”
     The following strategies will help you master emotional intelligence:

  1. Use all the above emotional skills. 
  2. Use your tone and body language to tell a story. Do not tell them that they are doing a great job while your mind is preoccupied with something else.
  3. Control yourself under stress. Dedicate more energy and focus when you are under stress.
  4. Don't try to win a battle at the expense of losing a war. In other  words, don't try to win a point at an expense of degrading relationship.
  5. Define what it means by a 'good relationship'. Do it as an example for everyone.
  6. Tackle tough conversation. Here's how you do it:
    • Set an understanding for the conversation. Warn the other side that it will be a hard conversation, but you will be fair about it. 
    • Ask the other side the tell you his or her feeling so that he or she feels heard.
    • Resist defending yourself. Explaining can, for a lot of times, make things worse.  Suck it up, and admit the truth.
    • Help the other side to understand you.
    • Move forward after you both understand each other.
    • Keep track of progress. Keep in touch of each other. Make sure that the other side knows that you care.
Source: Leadership 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves 

Book or Audiobooks?

          Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post]. 
          There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.
    About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

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