Behavior Based Strategies to Improve Leadership Emotional Intelligence

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Emotions are the primary source of human energy, aspiration, and drive activating our inner most feelings and purpose in life, and transforming them from things we think about, to values we live. The key factor is the way that we interpret our circumstances, based on our prior experiences and belief system, to either respond reactively like a stimulus-response machine with an emotion that is outside of our control and may be inappropriate and self-defeating, or to respond proactively with self-determined responsibility – and freedom of choice.

The Philosopher Aristotle (2009) perfectly summed up emotional intelligence when he said, “Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy” (p. 37).

“Emotional Intelligence is the ability to acquire and retain knowledge” Goleman (1998) reported that there were far more similarities than differences between women and men. On the average, men appeared more self-confident, optimistic, adapted easier, and handled stress better (p.7).

The five competences of emotional intelligence are as follows: “self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

The questionnaire consisted of thirty behavior questions, that were scored and then categorized into the five competences of emotional intelligence.

The results from the emotional intelligence questionnaire/survey that was created in Survey Monkey and put on Facebook and Twitter was completed by 50 respondents (24 men and 26 women) between the ages of 18-60

The outcome of the Emotional Intelligence questionnaire/survey that was given on Facebook and Twitter were very similar to prior research completed by Daniel Goleman.

Men and women scored essentially the same on emotional intelligence in the following five categories: Self- Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills.

A result that was not anticipated was that men and women between the ages of 25-35 who scored favorably on Self-Awareness, scored less favorably on Empathy.

The results seem to match the outcome of other Emotional Intelligence surveys given in the past by psychologist such as Goleman revealed the (All About Me) behavior within today’s millennial generation (born between 1981–1997).

Recognizing that today’s millennial generation may not be aware of their lack of empathy may help today’s leader better prepare and implement training programs that teach critical thinking and awareness of one’s environment.

The two main themes of emotional intelligence are: understanding yourself (goal, motivations, behavioral responses) and understanding others. The Emotional Intelligence survey showed that men scored higher in empathy and women scored higher in coaching others.

However, the competency empathy needed the most improvement when men and women were combined.

Being aware of other’s emotions is key when working with people. Emotions control one’s thinking, behavior, and actions. Thorough processing that includes identifying, analyzing, and questioning outcomes in a systematic manner may result in a better understanding of circumstances.

The only person who can change the way a person feels. . . is themselves. A new relationship, a new job, or a new house can only momentarily distract a person’s emotions, but no other person, no material possession, no activity can remove, release, or change how a person feels. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to reason and solve problems, based on the emotions that are experienced. In other words, an emotionally intelligent person is aware of emotions in themselves and others, and uses reason to identify, understand, and deal with the emotions effectively.

Emotions are human beings warning systems of what is happening around them. Emotions can be a person’s most reliable indicator of how things are going on in their lives. Emotions help keep a person on the right track by making sure that more than just intellectual thought, perception, reason, or memory leads them. When human effort fails to produce the desired change, then it is time to hand this over to the God of your belief. Listen to the gentle whispers of your soul (intuition).

What are the five competencies of emotional intelligence?

A key to successful development of Emotional Intelligence is building a strong set of foundational competencies. Goleman established five competencies of emotional intelligence: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills in his book, Emotional Intelligence.

Results from Goleman’s research concluded that the most important competency is Self- Awareness and the results from the emotional intelligence survey given on Facebook and twitter have concluded that the competency that needs the most improvement was empathy and the competency that displayed the greatest strength was self-awareness. Self-Awareness is not about “how” a person is feeling; it is about “what” the person is feeling. It is quite typical to go through the day and never pay any attention to the emotions that arise because of various situations.

So, the first step is to become more aware of personal surroundings (people, things, situations, etc.) that could trigger emotions (either positive or negative). As a person starts to identify triggers, it’s important to note that all people have built in primal “fight or flight” reactions when a situation seems to be uncomfortable. As uncomfortable situations occur, create a list, and keep adding to the list. Look over the list daily to determine those situations that caused the strongest negative and the strongest positive emotions.

How can a leader recognize behaviors such as: facial expressions, feelings, and body language to improve emotional intelligence?

Face reading is an art. If a person is good at reading facial expressions, even a slight change that lasts for a fraction of second will not go unnoticed. When trying to read a facial expression, it is important to understand how to recognize the different types of facial expressions. Paul Ekman identified seven universal facial expressions. The seven universal facial expressions are: Anger, Sadness, Happiness, Contempt, Sadness, Fear, and Surprise.

The easiest way to recognize a person’s facial expression is to look at the different reactions in a person’s eyes. Only then can a person differentiate between slightly similar expressions like surprise and shock. If a leader pays attention to the facial expressions of those around them, they will have a better understanding of how to communicate in the workplace.

How do motives and emotions affect behavior, and how are they affected by the external environment?

Emotional Intelligence affects output or behavior. Understanding the emotions of ourselves helps one to better understand how to respond to others. The good news is that the level of emotional intelligence can continue to grow, develop, and change as it is largely a learned area of expertise. Goleman calls this growth, “maturity.”

What role do emotions play in the formation of behavior patterns?

Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions revealed that our emotions cluster into 8 main groups characterized by the following 8 emotions. Joy, Love, Peace, Fear, Sadness, Hate, Anger, and Curiosity. These 8 groups form 4 pairs of opposites. Love and Hate, Joy and Sadness, Anger and Peace, and Exploration and Fear.

Each of these emotions were rated in terms of their positive-ness and desirability. The emotion-circle furnishes us with a map as to where the positive emotions lie in relation to the other darker emotions. The emotion circle can be used to understand the underlying causes of emotions, thus explaining the formation of behavior patterns.

For example, if we would consider happiness as being in a positive emotional state, then this simple map may serve as a guide to and definition of happiness. Happiness resides in love, peace, joy, and exploration. The intriguing result is that the spectrum of our emotions seems to correspond to the spectrum of light. This sounds extra-ordinary, yet it is a picture that begins to emerge. Obviously, emotions are mental/spiritual whereas light is physical. Could the emotions be a kind of spiritual spectrum – defining spiritual light? Emotions certainly act as an inner light in guiding us as to whether our decisions are good or bad.

There are 2 main axes or dimensions representing positive and negative emotions.

X-axis –         representing approach-avoidance, inclusion-exclusion, warmth-cold

Y-axis –     representing empowerment-helplessness

As I was pondering on the circle of emotions it occurred to me that certain emotions match with certain colors – Love (warmth, bright yellow, orange), Anger (blood, hot red), Sadness (cold, empty, dark blue), and Calm (Peace, restful, warm green, yellow). I was very surprised to discover that the colors on the wheel follow the same color order as the RAINBOW– that is, in the order of the spectrum of LIGHT. Furthermore, just as anger and calm are opposites on the emotion circle, it turns out that their colors – red and green – are exact opposites on the color circle used by artists. Similarly, just as joy and sadness are opposites, so it happens that their colors – orange and blue – are also exact opposites.

In addition to understanding the opposites of an emotion, it is equally important to understand the intensity level of emotions. There are various degrees of intensity in emotions, some are mild, some are moderate, and some are intense. For example, the emotion anger can be felt in a mild form as disgust or dismay. At a moderate level the emotion anger can be felt as offended or exasperated, and the emotion anger can be felt at an intense level as hate or rage. One of the most consistent emotion that always underpins anger is fear. In conclusion . . .

Emotions control a person’s beliefs, behaviors, and actions. The intensity of an emotion is the direct result of a person’s perception or interpretation of what was seen, heard, or felt.

How can a leader connect the appropriate behaviors with the five competencies of emotional intelligence to create a triangulation model that can be used as an effective resource that may enhance and develop employees within a small business?

Understanding emotions may require emotional knowledge. This knowledge helps to understand people better. If a leader stays aware of their emotions, they can control their emotions. Self-Regulation and the awareness of others emotions can be used to solve problems and contribute to a positive work environment. The conclusion of integrating the work of Daniel Goleman and his five competencies of emotional intelligence: “self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills” in conjunction with Paul Ekman and his extensive research on body language, tone, and facial expressions, as well as Robert Plutchik’s underlying causes of eight essential emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation have resulted in the creation of a new triangulation model call: Plutchik, Ekman, and Goleman’s, (P.E.G.) model of emotions.

I created a new triangulation model by incorporating the work of Plutchik, Ekman, and Goleman. The name of the new Triangulation models is P. E. G. for Plutchik, Ekman, and Goleman.

The P.E.G. coaching guide provides leaders (entrepreneurs) with a tool to enhance emotional intelligence and promotes positive behaviors that will enhance the performance of all employees.

Understanding the reactions to one’s emotions are not the responsibility of anyone but oneself. Accepting that responsibility and understanding of how to take charge of one’s own emotional life is an important step toward reaching a higher level of emotional maturity. It is also a major step toward a deeper understanding of the emotional lives of others. In knowing one’s self, a person will have a better understanding of others, and in coming to know others through self- awareness, a person is able to put themselves in another person’s shoes, thus resulting in the elevation of one’s self empathy.

Recognizing situations as hot buttons through a better understanding of facial expressions and emotional intelligence may give a leader another great tool that could stop a negative reaction and allow a leader more power over managing their own emotions. By developing emotional intelligence and reactions to other’s behaviors a leader will be more effective when handling highly – stressful situations.

To create a culture and environment that will act as the foundation for a learning organization, a leader must begin with “a shift of mind – from seeing ourselves as separate from the world to connected to the world” (Senge, 2006, pp.13-14); seeing ourselves as integral components in the workplace, rather than as separate and unimportant cogs in a wheel.

Finally, one of the biggest challenges that must be overcome in every organization is that every leader must identify and allow everyone within an organization a voice to reason defensively and promote the empowerment of everyone to share in the organization’s vision.

“Where there is no vision, people parish” (Solomon Proverbs 29:18).

Learning from others is important, and no matter how much experience a leader may have, there is always room to grow. When I reflect on the professionalism in leadership. I believe it can be defined as the demonstration of highly sophisticated skills and strategies in the following core competencies:

I call them . . . Travagline’s – ABC’s and 123’s of Professionalism:

Appearance                 1. Classic

Behavior                     2. Consistent

Communication 3. Clear

Leadership encompasses the ability to make sense of the ambiguities and challenges within an organization and turn two of the most basic tensions: differentiation and integration into a structural framework that takes into account several things such as: an organization’s size, how long it has been in existence, and then incorporate the appropriate choices and actions that are complimentary to the social architecture which includes the roles and relationships between everyone inside and outside of a particular demographic location central to the organization.

Choosing between the many components and frameworks that may compete for a leader’s attention is not an easy task. No organizational culture is static, but modifying a culture is always an adventure into the unknown. As the saying goes . . . “No Guts, No Glory.”

Leadership is knowing your own abilities while developing the abilities of others. The supreme step to becoming an effective leader starts with personal core values. The tone of every organization is created from top/down leadership, so leaders are charged with the responsibility of setting the direction of the culture. In fact, neither can be successful independent of the other. It is the leader’s responsibility to clarify and/or model either ethical or unethical behavior within the organization.

Ultimately, the leader’s actions and attitude relay the acceptable tone for the entire corporation. My five core values are: Courage, Creativity, Personal Development, Consistency, and Recognition.

Courage: “Have the courage to say yes or no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right” (Stone, 1930). Ethical behavior is doing the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do. Ethical behavior is not always legal behavior, and legal behavior is not always ethical.

Creativity: As a leader, it is important to encourage employees to use their creativity and share ideas. It is not always the higher incentives that motivates employees. Employees that are encouraged to share ideas and use their creativity are more likely to stay within the organization.

Personal Development: Get a mentor or a coach. A leader must always be aware and anticipate the expectations of their supporters/surroundings. Successful leadership must involve the bedrock consistency and visible participation of top leaders.

Consistency: It is through consistency that employees have a clear understanding of what is expected and acceptable in the organizational culture.

Recognition: Our society loves problem solvers. When one problem is solved, a leader will quickly move on to the next. Soon the leader will feel empty. Solving problem after problem, the process seems to be mundane, and soon the leader will feel like he/she are not making any difference at all.

Robert Alan Black PH.D. describes a very colorful image of a truly effective leader using the following analogy of a box of crayons. Black, (1995) says, “It is important to see people as crayons with multiple talents and potentials. Understanding the importance of each color (talent and potential) in the box, opens up the door to endless potential” (p.101).

Effective leaders, understand this and always include time to acknowledge accomplishments and encourage new ideas. It only takes a minute to hand write a short note saying, “Thank you for your time and continuous support” Everyone appreciates being appreciated.

“Nevertheless, they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries” (2 Chronicles 12:8, The New King James Version).

Ethical leaders use facts and moral reasoning to determine if a decision is right or wrong for the entire organization. Johnson (2009), explains that making wise and ethical decisions involve many of the same steps as making other important decisions such as: “listen effectively, gather information, analyze, and formulate arguments” (p.47).

The great perception of our spiritual tradition is that we co-create the world, that we are all in this together, and that we live in and through an esoteric relationship of spirit and matter, a mysteries relationship of what is inside us and what is perceived to be out in society (outer world).

The reality is that we create our world, in part, by the shadow we reflect in or on it – for better or worse. Johnson (2009) explains that the behaviors that are displayed across several religions or belief systems are . . . demonstrating respect for other’s values, treating others fairly, expression of caring and concern, listening responsively, appreciating the contributions of others, and engaging in reflective practice (pp.121-122).

Emotions and motivations play an integral part on how we reflect ourselves to the world. Understanding how we make and follow through on our decisions is the first step in making better choices. After asking who, what, where, when, why, and how? The next step is to understand the underlying motivations or emotions that are involved in achieving the goal.

Emotions (both positive and negative) will have a corresponding effect on moral motivation. Happiness and joy are positive and pessimism and complacency are negative. The shadow that plaques leadership self-reflection leads credence towards extroversion, which means a tendency to ignore what is going on inside themselves. Competency and effectiveness have taken precedence over internal awareness. Other shadows of self-reflection include the understanding of who we are is not defined by what we do, the misconception that we must be liked by everyone else to fit in, and to understand that everything that must be done is not the responsibility of one person, but the responsibility of everyone.

Jesus said, “To love your neighbor as yourself, that is greater than any sacrifice” (Mark 12:33, The New King James Version).

Spirituality is not entirely about values and ethics, nor is it about reassurances to do it right or live the good life. Spiritual foundations are essentially about what is real. The spiritual traditions are an attempt to create the illusion of the external world and to name the underlying spiritual truth (belief) – – what it is, how it came to be, and how does it affect us?

Whether we realize it or not, all our words, actions, and attitudes determine our decisions throughout life. The intensity of our feelings can encourage us to act and react impulsively as if we had no choice. We may not have the power to do everything we want to do in life, but we still have the power to decide what to do with what we have. Good decisions are ethical and effective.

If we must lie to get what we want and we get it, the decision might well be called effective, but it is also unethical. A decision is effective if it accomplishes something we want to happen (goal). A choice that produces unintended and undesirable results is ineffective.

There are two critical aspects to making an ethically sound decision: knowing what to do and doing it. The first thing to consider when making a sound decision is discernment.It is not obvious to everyone, for example, that it is just as dishonest to deliberately deceive someone with half-truths and omissions as to tell an outright lie. It is also not always clear how to respond most effectively. Discernment requires knowledge and judgement. Good decisions also require discipline. This often takes will-power or moral courage. Good decisions require the willingness to do the right thing even when it is inconvenient, scary, difficult, or costly.

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3, The New King James Version).

Effective leadership is continuous learning and expanding of knowledge in a fostering environment that promotes the well-being and collective action of everyone in the company.

The emotional intelligence coaching guide is the result of extended research completed on Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., Paul Ekman, Ph.D., and Robert Plutchik, Ph.D., as well as case studies and an emotional intelligence questionnaire survey completed by 50 participants. The workable model and coaching guide created the what, (emotional intelligence), the why (eight primary emotions, including various secondary, mixed, and opposite emotions), and the how (understanding verbal and non-verbal body language including facial expressions) that a leader can use for coaching and developing an employee’s emotional intelligence competencies into behavior based actions.

The desired goal of the triangulation model is to provide an essential resource that can be used by leaders and entrepreneurs to create a positive workplace environment that encourages knowledge transfer through better communication, greater learning, less defensiveness, and a stronger productive overall relationship between leaders (entrepreneurs) and all their employees.

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Behavior Based Guide Link . . .


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