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How to Build Quality Relationships

How to Build Quality Relationships

In the corporate world, it’s easy to see the importance of relationships, and the benefits they can bring to your business. Mike Fishbein, in his book, Stop Networking!: Building Relationships, Meeting New People and Connecting with Authenticity, highlights the importance of truly connecting with others on a deeper level versus the superficial niceties we are expected to do at networking events. “Both consciously and subconsciously, people are motivated to do business with people they know, like, and trust.” This means you can’t just try to develop a relationship with someone because you want/need something from them. There needs to be a benefit to both parties. Not to mention, people know when you are trying to befriend them for ulterior motives. This is where emotional intelligence comes in…we need to strengthen our interpersonal skills and develop mutually satisfying relationships in business.

Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, states, “If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people – things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.” This means we need to learn to be more supportive. Being socially responsible means caring about others and contributing to the community. That community may be the community in which they live, the organization in which they work, or the people in which they lead. In essence, it means giving back.

On a personal level, we all know how much high-quality relationships matter. Brandon Burchard, in his e-book, Transformation Truths, states, “Much of the quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships. Healthy relationships are those that support your well-being and growth.” Having strong connections with others satisfy a basic human need for us to be close to and supported by others. Many studies show, we are happier, healthier, and can even live longer when we have solid relationships in our lives. Helen Keller, an American author, political activist, and lecturer, who also happened to be the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree said it best, “walking alone in the dark with a friend is better than walking alone in the light.”

So, knowing all of this, why is taking time to strengthen our relationships put on hold so often? Many people have difficulties networking & building professional and/or personal relationships.  For some people, the ability to build strong connections comes naturally, for others it is a challenge.

Here are four simple tips to deepen your relationships:

1. Schedule It

Often we get so caught up in the daily activities that we don’t stop to take time to strengthen our relationships. It’s important to schedule time for friends, whether it is a week in advance, or a month.  Make sure you have a specific date picked out to spend time together. By actually scheduling a specific date instead of saying something like, “let’s hang out next week sometime” will dramatically increase the chances that it will happen.  Tony Robbins states,  “If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.”  When you actually schedule something in your life, you are making it a priority in your life.

2. Disconnect to Connect

With technology limiting our face-to-face interaction, building strong relationships is more valuable and more challenging than ever before.  When you are out with others, be it business or pleasure, unplug and listen!  Today, the majority of our communications are filtered through virtual media devices.  Multitasking is commonplace. When you put your phone down and listen, you will improve your listening skills and become a better friend or business partner. The quality of time you are spending will improve, and it will give your brain the much-needed break from the next item on your to-do list.

3. Don’t Be Judgemental

As we get older, we tend to settle into our daily routine and can start to judge others who may do things differently than us. It’s important to be open-minded and realize that different people do different things. Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors stated it best, “A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself.” Instead of judging your relationships, try instead to understand the person. Use your emotional intelligence and empathy skills, and try to put yourself in their shoes. This open-mindedness could create an opportunity to face a problem in your life with a different perspective, open up the potential of a business idea, or make you more effective at communicating with that challenging team member.

4. Stay Connected

Making time is important, but staying connected when you are not physically together is just as important.  Like most of us, our schedule fills up quickly, the to-do list is never-ending, and you forget to schedule time for yourself, let alone your friends. Your friends, peers, or subordinates will appreciate you checking in, even if you don’t have time to get that face-to-face time scheduled.

Follow these four simple tips and you will be one step closer to building stronger friendships!

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

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Appreciation in the Workplace

Appreciation in the Workplace

Consider this: you have two employees who share the same job. Let’s call them John and Jane. They have the same duties, same daily responsibilities, and work with the same teammates. Jane is highly motivated and continually achieves exactly what you request of her. You set daily operations meeting first thing every morning to set targets and goals for the day and this has proven to get the results you need out of Jane. You are committed to ensuring your team is working cohesively so ensure you make time to have lunch with the employees and even schedule monthly team-outings.

John, on the other hand, is more than capable of meeting these targets and even outperforming Jane, but doesn’t have the same consistent results. John receives all the same instructions as Jane, he always participates in the operations meetings and team activities, but you just can’t figure out why his performance is inconsistent.

Last month, you sat down with John and told him he was a star and you value him as an employee. Everything was great after that meeting; he quickly moved to the head of the pack in terms of performance, but now it has tapered off again.

Have you ever been in a situation at work where you just can’t figure out what motivates someone?

By all accounts, it sounds like you are committed to your team, you want to ensure the employees are engaged and supported and care about their success. So why is John not performing consistently?

John and Jane are motivated differently, and you have fallen into the one-size-fits-all leadership approach. Each of these employees requires a different method of appreciation to motivate them.

“The highest driver of engagement in whether workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their well-being”. How can employees be appreciated if you are not recognizing them in their language? Gary Chapman and Paul White discuss this very topic in The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

Read on as share the five languages of appreciation in the workplace: quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, tangible gifts, and physical touch.

Quality time

Quality time refers to people who accept appreciation through quality time spent with their superiors and coworkers. Giving full, undivided attention to employees while both in a team or one-on-one setting is key to making them feel appreciated. Negative feelings can arise if not enough attention is given or if you seem distracted and not present.

Acts of service

Acts of service refer to people who accept and show appreciation by doing things. They believe that actions speak louder than words and want to see quality work being done. It may offend someone if a commitment to do work is made and doesn’t get done.

Words of affirmation

Words of affirmation mean that people will receive appreciation through words. Positive language and words of encouragement are needed to make some people feel wanted and appreciated in the workplace. Likewise, if too much negative language is used it can demotivate employees and make them feel isolated.

Tangible gifts

Tangible gifts are used for people who express appreciation in the workplace by giving and receiving gifts. This could be a dinner, tickets to a sporting event, or even a box of chocolates. When an employee does a good job it is best to give them a small gift instead of giving them praise.

Physical touch

Physical touch can be the main driver of appreciation for some people. Be careful, because this can be tricky to use in the workplace. A solid handshake or a pat on the back will let employees know that their work is appreciated, but doesn’t cross any workplace boundaries.

In our example, Jane definitely feels appreciated by quality time. She thrives on having daily operations meetings, enjoys team lunches and is encouraged by team outings. On the other side of the equation, John may enjoy these same things, but it is not what motivates him and makes him feel appreciated. He is driven by words of affirmation. He requires the individualized feedback he was given during his private meeting last month. Now that you understand each employee may require a different type of appreciation to stay motivated and feel engaged, think about how you show appreciation in the workplace to your team.

 

To learn more about the importance of appreciation in the workplace and how emotional intelligence benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

Check out our workshop on Communication in the Workplace to learn two powerful communication models grounded in emotional intelligence – how to give and receive feedback, and how to have a difficult conversation.

If you need help leading towards success, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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How To Be Emotionally Intelligent At Work

How To Be Emotionally Intelligent At Work

Working with different groups of people is unenviable. Whether it is in the workplace or the classroom, at some point you will have to work with a team to pursue a common outcome.

When you are in a group you are faced with differences in opinions, beliefs, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Introducing emotional intelligence (EI) into a group setting will allow the whole team to work together with minimal clashing.

When working in teams, the first thing you should do is observe the team and see if there are any visible signs of EI already taking place.

What to look for:

  • When a person is talking, are others paying attention?
  • Is each person’s opinions and ideas being heard?
  • If someone has a different opinion, does everyone acknowledge it and try to understand it?
  • Is there a sense of optimism?
  • Is the group focused on seeking solutions?
  • Does everyone respectfully speak their mind and feel comfortable doing so?

Benefits of an emotionally intelligent team:

  • It allows for the group to have open and honest conversations
  • You gain respect for others that may have different opinions
  • Individuals gain more confidence
  • Grows trust in one another
  • Productivity improves
  • Increases efficiency

Implementing emotional intelligence into a team:

When introducing a more EI forward group dynamic, it is important to start an open conversation. If there isn’t a clear leader in the group, that is ok, you can be the one to take on this role. A leader’s guide to solving challenges with emotional intelligence starts with building unity. In the first meeting start a conversation that allows everyone to speak on what their ideal result of the project is. Some questions to get the conversation flowing are as followed:

  • Why is the group working together?
  • What is the common outcome needed by us working together?
  • What are everyone’s ideas?
  • What role is everyone comfortable with having?
  • Are there certain things you don’t want to do?

Remember, when someone is speaking, active listening is key. If you are initiating the conversation, facilitate the discussion to ensure everyone is listening and accepting differing opinions.

The next thing you should be doing is having regular check-ins with the team.  A check-in is a great tool to use to make sure everyone is on the same page. If someone is unhappy with the direction the team is going, everyone needs to listen and understand why he or she feels that way, so the team can find a resolution together.

Now that the team is communicating and using active listening, you need to create opportunities for continued bonding. A great team is only as strong as the connection between all team members and comradery can happen both inside and outside of the workplace. When team members gather outside of work, it makes the team more cohesive. Keep in mind if you are not working, don’t talk about it!

Emotional intelligence and team effectiveness go hand-in-hand. Working in a team setting can be challenging at times, but with the help of emotional intelligence, individuals are able to feel a sense of group identity and achieve results more efficiently.

If you are interested in a free emotional intelligence team activity to help build trust and develop intimate and authentic connections quickly click here.

To learn more about leading with emotional intelligence and how it impacts your team, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help building an emotionally intelligent team, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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The Choice is Yours: Choose Change

The Choice is Yours: Choose Change

At one point or another, all of us have had something happen in our life that made us spiral down into a world of despair.  In that dark place, it felt like we didn’t have the strength to dig ourselves out of our black hole. We felt pathetic, worthless, and perhaps even out of control.  We were stuck.

Well, when something bad happens to us, we all have a choice…although in tough times, it might not feel like we do. But something we must remember when going through tough times: all things are difficult before they are easy.

The choice is whether you can accept or resist the situation that has happened to you.

If you accept it, it means you take the position – what is, is.  You may not like the situation…tough times reveal that you have the power to change your set of circumstances and then take action to change it.

Alternatively, you can choose to resist the situation.  If you resist, you can feel angry that this situation has happened to you.  Feelings of revenge, guilt, depression, jealousy, or sadness may also appear.  You feel like a victim.

Being a victim comes with a price, but it also comes with a payoff. If being a victim didn’t have a payoff, we would not do it.  So, what’s the payoff?  What’s the price?

Payoff of Victim?

  • Sympathy – people feel bad for us.
  • Attention – it brings attention to us, as people are focusing on our misfortunes.
  • The excuse of playing small – we are able to continue to play small and don’t have tried anything different/scary.

Price of Victim?

  • Stuck – we feel stuck and helpless.
  • Waste of time and energy – nothing happens, and it wastes our time and energy.  Being stuck does not serve us.
  • Unhappiness – we are unhappy with our life

Critical thinker Werner Erhard’s pioneering ideas are stimulating academic conversations in leadership and integrity.  Erhard believes that everyone has to be given the opportunity to be responsible for your own circumstances.

Being responsible is not about blaming others or feeling guilty. But rather, taking personal responsibility is about taking a stand that you are equal to your condition in life.

If you are equal to the condition, if you can be responsible for your own life, you can do something about it. If you are the victim of your life, you really can’t do anything about it.

Therefore, by taking responsibility, you are taking a stand that you have the power to bring about the life you want.

If you do not feel that you are bigger than your problem/situation, then the problem/situation takes over your life.

However, if you take the stance that you have the power to do something about your life, and as difficult as it may be, you do have the capabilities to change your circumstances.

So, what choice are you going to make today?

Are you going to choose to accept your situation and take the stand that you have the power to change it?  Or are you going to resist it, feel like a victim and play small?  The choice is yours.

To learn more about thriving through change using emotional intelligence, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help leading and pushing through change, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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The Art and Science of Leadership

The Art and Science of Leadership

Leadership is a science and an art. To be a great leader, one needs to incorporate both dimensions.

George Ambler said “The science of leadership concerns the observations, study and classification of leadership practices, resulting in a reliable explanation of what makes leaders effective”. Styles, traits, behaviours, and contingencies are topics in the scientific model of leadership, where each explanatory approach is carefully designed and tested. The scientific approach then attempts to define leadership and report on its effectiveness.

The art of leading is not an issue of evidence, it is an issue of awareness and choice.

Artful leaders first need to explore and become aware of what their personal and organizational values are. Then, they need to make the choice of whether they want to connect and live by their values, and if so, lead accordingly.

Exploring leadership as an art, leaders are asked to look inwards, perhaps at an unconscious level, and on occasion, make decisions based on their intuition or “gut feelings.” Times have changed, and leaders are moving at a much faster pace, and are confronted with issues more complex and diverse than ever. Artful leaders need to blend their rational thinking with their intuitive skills to make important decisions.

The art of leadership is about learning and gaining different perspectives.  Leaders need to be aware of how to trigger their own insights, in addition to triggering those of their team. Profound personal and team learning can occur when leaders choose to incorporate different techniques such as questioning, storytelling, humour, and reflection.

Julian Barling, author of The Science of Leadership discusses how often organizations make mistakes in regards to leadership as they are always looking at the big picture, and missing the fact that what really inspires employees is the small behaviours their leaders display. Leaders who are able to lead their teams to success are the ones who have awareness of how their leadership style impacts those around them.

Understanding how the concepts of values, intuition, and insight are used in leadership as an art and sciencethrough awareness and making more artful choices, a leader can improve their effectiveness.

To learn more about leading with emotional intelligence and how it impacts your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help upskilling your leadership skills, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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