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Category Archives: Emotional Intelligence

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The search for Artificial Intelligence is abuzz on the Internet. Just Google “Google” and read about their major purchase of technology that will help to expand the use of ordinary items and reimagined integration with computers in the future.

Myriad articles online, and in magazines, discuss the impact that Artificial Intelligence — computers and drones — will have on employment and task-oriented jobs over the next ten to twenty years. However, one thing is clear; while computers can be trained by engineers, and complex logarithms, they are only representational of rational thought. Black and white mathematics, accounting formulas, and document sifting by computers can save thousands of labor hours. Legal firms are already using programs to help them sift through documents, needed in court trials, with the help of complex computations and search methods.

In truth, we are already surrounded by “artificial intelligence” in our daily lives.

Motivation by fear is an act of artificial intelligence. It is not a long term motivator; this has been proven by millions of dollars of psychological and neuro-scientific research. Yet it happens in homes and offices every day in desperation of grabbing hold of some sense of control. “Just wait until your father comes home……..” used to put a little fear into children. But children grow up and, as adults, know better. Threats don’t inspire or encourage growth. In fact, the part of the brain that registers fear actually blocks memory. So, essentially, while you are trying to scare someone into learning a skill, you are blocking his ability to do so. See, what I mean? Artificial Intelligence and false communications.

Intelligent people can lack people skills. Smart people can lack common sense. People, who do things with ulterior motives, can break down trust, create suspicion, and destroy loyalty. There are those who are incapable of thinking beyond WIIFM (What is in it for me). The decisions that they make and the behaviors that they show only serve the self.

Complex cognitive brain functions and processes include kindness, compassion, empathy, generosity, understanding, respect, and charity. Such characteristics are counter-intuitive to the basic primal need for self-preservation and a hierarchy of needs. Truly compassionate and altruistic people reach out to others’ needs before their own.

Empathy is feeling what someone else feels, stepping into their shoes, and how to help them in the most useful manner for his or her needs and situation. Creating empathy is not just strong for neural function but it defies calculation. There is no algorithm for laughter, a hug, true love, the delight of a new mother……those emotions cannot be replicated. If you are fake in your concern, or attempt to make conversation without emotion, human connectedness does not occur. Genuine kindness lights up neurons in the brain, and causes brain chemistry, to produce healing and strengthening chemicals to aid the wellness of a person.

If emotions are merely imitated for show, they lack the essence of spirit and heart. When someone asks you a question without caring about the answer, it rings hollow. No artificial emotion or string of words could replace the truth and gratitude in accepting sincere kindness. Asking “How are you?” and walking away before the answer is given…..The reply could be “Fine” as easily as it could be “I shot an elephant in my pajamas last night.” You don’t know because you did not stop long enough to listen.

Who knows how much good could be created in another’s life simply by listening for two minutes longer?

In my humble opinion, these are the truest acts of intelligence we need, into the future, for the survival, growth, and development of the human race.

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empathy babies

“The act of compassion begins with full attention, just as rapport does. You have to really see the person. If you see the person, then naturally, empathy arises. If you tune into the other person, you feel with them. If empathy arises, and if that person is in dire need, then empathic concern can come. You want to help them, and then that begins a compassionate act. So I’d say that compassion begins with attention.”

– Daniel Goleman

I recommend reading Daniel Goleman’s other studies of Emotional Intelligence. With a little surfing online, you will find what he has to say quite interesting.

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A good post reaches for your heart and remains on your mind.

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I love when other people discuss the use of empathy and emotional intelligence in the workplace or among any group of committed individuals. Numerous times in the past, I have run up against the wall of assumed behaviors for a corporate environment and what constitutes professional vs. personal interest.

It is my belief that the things that inspire us are empathy and emotionally based; we strive for loyalty, enthusiasm, commitment, understanding, teaching, awareness, a desire to learn, appreciation, values, ethics and vision. Ethics are meant to cross the boundaries of business and personal lives; one set for both not two sets for each.

plutchik wheel of emotion

Meghan Biro, a contributor to Forbes.com, shared her point of view earlier this month. http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2013/12/15/leadership-is-about-emotion/#!

Make a list of the 5 leaders you most admire. They can be from business, social media, politics, technology, the sciences, any field. Now ask yourself why you admire them. The chances are high that your admiration is based on more than their accomplishments, impressive as those may be. I’ll bet that everyone on your list reaches you on an emotional level.

This ability to reach people in a way that transcends the intellectual and rational is the mark of a great leader.
They all have it. They inspire us. It’s a simple as that. And when we’re inspired we tap into our best selves and deliver amazing work.

So, can this ability to touch and inspire people be learned? No and yes. The truth is that not everyone can lead, and there is no substitute for natural talent. Honestly, I’m more convinced of this now – I’m in reality about the world of work and employee engagement. But for those who fall somewhat short of being a natural born star (which is pretty much MANY of us), leadership skills can be acquired, honed and perfected.

Let’s Take A Look At Tools That Allow For Talent To Shine:

Emotional intelligence. Great leaders understand empathy, and have the ability to read people’s (sometimes unconscious, often unstated) needs and desires. This allows them to speak to these needs and, when at all possible, to fulfill them. When people feel they are understood and empathized something, they respond PERIOD and a bond is formed.

Continuous learning. Show me a know-it-all and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t have a clue about being human. Curiosity and an insatiable desire to always do better is the mark of a great leader. They are rarely satisfied with the status quo, and welcome new knowledge and fresh (even if challenging) input. It’s all about investing in yourself.

Contextualize. Great leaders respond to each challenge with a fresh eye. They know that what worked in one situation may be useless in another. Before you act, make sure you understand the specifics of the situation and tailor your actions accordingly.

Let Go. Too many people think leadership is about control. In fact, great leaders inspire and then get out of the way. They know that talented people don’t need or want hovering managers. Leadership is about influence, guidance, and support, not control. Look for ways to do your job and then get out of the way so that people can do theirs.

Honesty. Not a week goes by that we don’t hear about a so-called leader losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. Often this is because of pressure to try and “measure up” and it’s not coming from a place of being real – often this relates to fear of not being accepted for your true self. We live in age of extraordinary transparency, which is reason enough to always be true to your core – your mission will be revealed, your motivations will show by your behaviors. But it goes way beyond this. It’s an issue that sets an example and elevates an organization. If you have a reputation for honesty, it will be a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges. Are you inspiring people from your heart?

Kindness and respect. Nice leaders (people) don’t finish last. They finish first again and again. Ignorance and arrogance are leadership killers. They’re also a mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level respect is an absolute must trait of leadership. And kindness is the gift that keeps on giving back. Of course, there will be people who prove they don’t deserve respect and they must be dealt with. But that job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your organization, if you have a reputation for kindness, honesty and respect.

Collaboration. People’s jobs and careers are integral to their lives. The more your organization can make them a partner, the more they will deliver amazing results. This means, to the greatest extent possible, communicating your organization’s strategies, goals and challenges. This builds buy-in, and again is a mark of respect. People won’t be blindsided (which is a workplace culture killer) by setbacks if they’re in the loop.

Partner with your people. As I said above, people’s careers are a big part of their lives. That seems like a no-brainer, but leaders should have it front and center at all times. Find out what your employees’ career goals are and then do everything you can to help them reach them. Even if it means they will eventually leave your organization. You will gain happy, productive employees who will work with passion and commitment, and tout your company far and wide. This is an opportunity to brand your greatness.

Leadership is both an art and a science. These tools are guidelines, not rigid rules. Everyone has to develop his or her own individual leadership style. Make these tools a part of your arsenal and use them well as you strive to reach people on an emotional level.

Be Human. This Matters.

 

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