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22 Feb

Why is she Funny?–EI and Social Awareness

I was heavy, taller then everyone by 6th grade, misguided by a huge perm, not athletic, or of high aptitude. I figured out that I would get attention and rewards if I made people smile and laugh. When nobody picked me for their kickball team or math quiz bowl, I shrugged it off and practiced humor. When there wasn’t a date to Prom, I wrote a funny column for the school newspaper. And when I entered the 4-H fashion review contest and the written comment said “should try to find a style more flattering to her figure,” I thanked the judge and made her laugh.

I have worked with several people who tell me that they struggle the most with Social Awareness (one of the four EI skills). Social Awareness per Daniel Goleman includes empathy and organizational awareness; the ability to understand other’s feelings and the ability to understand how the organization works politically.

For the individuals who seek me out to talk about Social Awareness, I want to know more about where they got their rewards K-12. We tend to behave as we have been rewarded. Think about your own unique situation. What were you rewarded for in school? Did you get the most attention for your looks, academic ability, or athletic success? Or were your primary rewards the result of more team work and behind the scenes support roles? Everyone’s situation is unique, but we can all learn a lot about our levels of empathy and how we understand an organization’s dynamics by what we had to practice the most growing up.

Clearly all my humor development was a mask for sadness, but my situation forced me to pay attention to others and listen very young. Practice makes Permanent. If you or your employees/team members struggle to excel in Social Awareness, it’s not too late. Learn everything you can and start practicing now. Social Awareness is a measurable piece of your organization’s success!

13 Feb

6 Steps and You’re There!!

There are days when I consume too many LinkedIn articles and Entrepreneur Podcasts. I absorb more motivational quotes, do it today action steps, and rags to millionaire in a year interviews than my mind can even remember when I hit pause or toggle back to my work at hand.

I have noticed that all this input can keep me in a state of evaluating too much. When I’m waiting to speak, or start a training session, I can start ruminating about “8 Stupid Things Speakers Need to Stop Now, 10 Steps Successful Trainers Follow Every Time, How Business People Blow it 9 Times Out of 10,” and the list goes on.

It can slow me down when I’m listening to a client as I may second guess myself and focus on “9 Signs your Consultant isn’t Listening or the 10 Clues your Consultant is Lying.” Do I need to lean in more, repeat their name 15 times in the conversation, pull out one more piece of data, and offer them a book that will change their life? Did they read the same article and wonder why I’m blowing it?

I believe all this easy access self-improvement information can have a negative impact on our everyday relationships, too. How many times have you greeted a colleague in the morning and wondered how to covertly send them the link to “20 Dress Steps to Keep your Job?” Have you smirked at your boss when he or she had no idea that there are “7 Ways to Greet your Employees in the Morning?”

I have learned a lot from the experts and leaders who provide much of this information that I can scroll through, click through, and listen to. I can’t use it, though, to slow me down or judge others and it’s most important that I remember there are “100 ways to Look Up, Disconnect and Live.”