- Mindset training can help employees train their brains to have a better set of attitudes and emotions.
- Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is a set of skills that helps employees to recognize and understand their emotions and the emotions of others.
- Better thoughts lead to better actions which can lead to better outcomes for employees and team leaders.
If you’ve been here previously, you’ve noticed that I create a lot of content about how to develop a leader’s mindset. I’ve discussed it in plenty of articles and videos, including How to Develop a Growth Mindset and How to Lead: Using Your Mindset to Become a Better Leader.
Why have I spent so much time blogging about mindset? Well, mindset is that important. After all, improving the quality of your thoughts will improve the quality of your actions. And when you improve the quality of your actions, then many (but not all) of our outcomes will improve, too.
With that in mind, let’s dive in with a few fundamental truths that will lay the foundation for your journey as a leader:
- You can’t change your past: We’ve all had challenges during our lives. You can’t change what happened to you in the past, but you can use those experiences to make you a better person.
- Our mistakes don’t define us: Mistakes are like footprints in the snow. They stand out for a while, but eventually, new snow blankets the ground and gives us the ability to start fresh.
- Empathy builds bridges: There’s a great saying from Margaret Wheatley says, “It’s impossible to hate someone whose story you know.” If you want to connect with others, learn their story. You’ll find that knowing someone’s story builds a natural bridge between the two of you.
- Overthinking leads to sadness: What causes sadness? Regret and fear. When you’re not living in the moment, you’re living in the past (regret) or the future (fear). Live. In. The. Moment. (Easier said than done.)
- Things always get better with time: If you rewind your life one year, you’ll look back on things you thought were showstoppers and realize that they were just bumps in the road. And if you look back 10 years, you’ll realize that the challenges you’ve face were there to teach you something about life, love, and living.
Ponder those ideas for a minute. They might bring you some peace and serenity.
Another important concept that can help you manage your impulses is Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is a set of skills that helps you to recognize and understand your emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is a key component of social intelligence, which is the ability to navigate social situations and interact effectively with others.
Why does emotional intelligence matter?
Research has shown that people with high levels of emotional intelligence are better able to navigate complex social situations, build and maintain healthy relationships, and achieve their goals.
Emotional intelligence has also been shown to be a key factor in effective leadership — leaders who are able to understand and respond to the emotions of others are more effective at motivating and inspiring their teams.
So, with all that said, let’s take a look at 10 essential things all leaders should know about emotional intelligence.
- Emotional intelligence is a learned skill: While some people may be naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, emotional intelligence can be developed and improved through practice and intentional effort.
- There are four key components of emotional intelligence: These include self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management.
- Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence: Without self-awareness, people are unable to accurately recognize and understand their own emotions, which makes it difficult to regulate and manage those emotions effectively.
- Self-regulation is critical for success: The ability to regulate and manage your own emotions is a key component of emotional intelligence, as it enables people to respond to challenging situations in a calm and effective manner.
- Social awareness is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others: This skill is critical for building and maintaining healthy relationships, as well as for effective communication and collaboration.
- Empathy is a key component of social awareness: The ability to empathize with others is a critical component of emotional intelligence. It enables people to understand the perspectives and emotions of others, which facilitates effective communication and collaboration.
- Relationship management is the ability to use emotional intelligence to build and maintain healthy relationships: This skill includes effective communication, conflict resolution, and collaboration.
- Emotional intelligence is not the same as being “nice”: While people with high levels of emotional intelligence are often described as being “nice,” emotional intelligence is a set of skills that enable people to effectively navigate complex social situations and interact with others in a positive and constructive manner.
- Emotional intelligence is critical for effective leadership: Leaders who are able to understand and respond to the emotions of their teams are more effective at motivating and inspiring those teams and are more likely to achieve their goals.
- Emotional intelligence can be improved through practice and intentional effort: People who are interested in improving their emotional intelligence can do so through a variety of techniques, including mindfulness meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and social skills training.
If you’re interested in being more emotionally intelligent, a starting point for you might be to practice meditation, as discussed previously.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help you develop greater self-awareness, learn to identify and challenge negative thought patterns, and develop more effective coping strategies for managing stress and other challenging emotions.
And social skills training can also be an effective way to improve emotional intelligence, particularly for people who struggle with social anxiety or have difficulty interacting with others in social situations.
Let’s go on a trip to Happiness Island
If you think about it, the only thing we all really wish for ourselves and for others is to be happy and at peace. If being an artist makes you happy, that’s wonderful. If being a parent makes you happy, that’s awesome. And if being a CEO makes you happy, that’s great, too.
The challenge is this – how do you become the best artist, parent, CEO, or anything else you want to be? In other words, how can you achieve happiness by setting your sites on the person you want to become?
The starting point for all of that is to understand the concept of Happiness Island.
For decades, leadership experts told people to get very specific about their goals and dreams. They taught people that the only way to accomplish their goals was to focus very intently on a very specific outcome.
The problem is that getting too specific can result in disappointment.
Let’s say you want to write a novel. And you want to do it by the time you’re 35. And you want to sell the movie rights to the novel. And you want to sell the rights by the time you’re 40. And, as a result, you want to retire in Switzerland by the time you’re 45.
In years past, getting super specific was thought to help you accomplish your goals. I would argue differently. I think getting too specific sets you up for disappointment. In the example above, someone who hadn’t written the novel by the time they’re 35 might get discouraged and quit by the time they’re 40-ish.
So, instead of being so specific, you might consider broadening your horizons which can help you focus more on the journey instead of the specific outcome.
Think of it this way. If you’re in a sailboat and your goal is to land on the far eastern corner of an island called Happiness Island, you’re going to be disappointed if you don’t end up on that specific spot on the island.
But what if you pulled back a little bit and said, “You know, the far eastern corner of Happiness Island has trees, sand, and a creek. But so does the middle part of Happiness Island. And so does the western corner of Happiness Island. Why not just aim for the entire island instead of aiming for a tiny little spot on the eastern shore?”
See where we’re going here?
(Answer: We’re going to Happiness Island.)
By broadening your horizons and focusing on the entire island instead of a tiny, specific corner of it, we allow ourselves to be much more flexible in our outcomes. And the result is … happiness.
So, that leads us to the next question. How do we figure out which island is for us? Is it Happiness Island? Or Serenity Island? Or Peaceful Island? Or something else?
Finding the answer to that question involves wrapping your mind around an important concept.
Understanding your Core Essence.
Your Core Essence is your essential self. It’s the innermost part of your mind, body, and spirit. It’s what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and start the new day.
If you’re the kind of person who gets a little spark of joy when you teach something to someone, then your Core Essence might be to help others. Or, if you love to solve problems, then your Core Essence might be understanding the world around you. And if you enjoy counseling other people, then your Core Essence might be wisdom.
In a minute, we’ll do an exercise to help you understand how your Core Essence plays out in your life, but before we do that, let’s understand a few more concepts.
When you understand your Core Essence, you can move on to Manifestation, which is the strategic direction your life could take based on your Core Essence. In other words, you’ll start by getting a deep and meaningful understanding of who you are at your core. That’s your Core Essence. Once you understand that, you’ll move on to your Manifestation, which is how your Core Essence presents itself in your life.
Once you understand your Manifestation, you can move on to the Execution, which is the career you can have (or currently have) that supports your Core Essence and your Manifestation. This can be things like a career in sales, marketing, management, sports, entertainment … just about anything.
Finally, once you’ve zeroed in on Core Essence, Manifestation, and Execution, you’ll land on the Outcome, which is the result you’ll get by understanding each of the previous three concepts.
This journey, from Core Essence to Outcome can help you chart your course to Happiness Island. Think of it as a navigator’s chart that points you in the direction of your destiny. By analyzing the chart, you’ll be in a better position to land on (or somewhere near) Happiness Island.
So, with all that said, let’s do an exercise to help you figure out each of these four concepts. IN the chart below, pick one item from each column and circle it (or jot it down) so you can keep track of your answer.
Remember, you’ll select an item from column one (i.e., Core Essence) before moving on to column two (i.e., Manifestation) and so on.
The intent of this exercise is to help you start thinking about what motivates you and how that motivation can help steer your life.
In the end, you might have a chart that looks like the one below. By thinking through each of these concepts, it’ll put you on a course towards Happiness Island. And that’s pretty much what we want from life, right?
Humility: A leader’s secret weapon
Are you a boss? Or a leader?
It’s an important question.
A boss is someone people fear. A leader is someone that people follow. Your goal, in your career and in life in general, is not to be feared, but to be followed. And one of the best ways to be followed is through something that is a bit counter-intuitive – humility.
For years, we’ve been told that the secrets to career success had to do with boldness, drive, and even arrogance. We were taught that the more brash, loudmouthed, and pushy you were, the more likely you were to get to the top.
But research published in the Journal of Management found that when a more humble CEO leads a firm, it’s top management team is more likely to collaborate, share information, jointly make decisions, and possess a shared vision. The result, the study found, is greater success.
One of the reasons humility has replaced arrogance when it comes to good leadership is due, in part, to social media. (At last, something good about social media.)
In decades past, if you were a shark who clawed your way to the top, you could get away with it. Anyone who complained would be fired. If an arrogant CEO fires people who objected to their leadership style, the CEO was able to get away with it, as long as the company was profitable.
But today, if a leader is unethical, treats employees badly, stabs people in the back or crosses a line in other ways, it’s pretty likely that someone is going to share that information on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or some other social media platform.
No leader wants their worst behavior to be broadcast online. The result is that the arrogant, obnoxious leaders get outted and, in most cases, are replace by decent, humble, hardworking people who want to keep relationships with their employees strong and stable.
Learning Humility the Hard Way
A few years ago, I gave a speech at Tuft’s University. It was a big success. People came up afterwards and had a lot of kind things to say about how engaging and interesting the keynote was. As I rode back to the hotel, I was feeling pretty good about myself. And I felt even better when I entered the hotel lobby and walked past an older woman who pointed at me and said, “Jamie Turner!” I thought, “Wow. Even strangers are recognizing me now!” Imagine my disappointment when I got on the elevator, looked in the mirror, and realized the elderly woman was simply reading the Jamie Turner name tag on my sports coat.
More mindset techniques you can put to use right away
Before we move on to the next quadrant (i.e., Mentoring), there are a few other leadership insights I’d like to share with you. Here they are:
- Motivation: If you’re looking for motivation to get started on the next chapter in your life, remember this: Motivation doesn’t lead to action. Instead, action leads to motivation. Ponder that for a second. If you’re waiting to be motivated to start a business, change careers, write a book, etc., you’re waiting for the wrong thing. Instead, take action first. Just dive in. The motivation will arise out of your action.
- Confidence: A lot of people wish they had more confidence. They wish their deeply held insecurities would go away by giving themselves pep talks (which don’t work as much as you might imagine). Instead of pep talks, understand a fundamental truth — confidence is the product of action. The more actions you take, successful or not, the more you’ll build confidence either about your abilities or about your perseverance.
- Success: I’ve found that success is less about intelligence and more about perseverance. Sure, it helps to be smart, but it’s more important to have grit. (During the more challenging moments in my marriage, my lovely wife would say, “We’re too dumb to quit!” I always loved that. And it brings home the point – success is about perseverance.)
- Complaint to Action: Maurice White, the brilliant founder of Earth Wind & Fire says he fired the first iteration of EW&F because the members had a complaint to action ratio that was out of whack. In other words, they complained a lot, but didn’t take action on fixing things. So … he took action himself and fired them. What happened next? The new band members became the Earth Wind & Fire we know of today. (For those who are younger and aren’t familiar with Earth Wind & Fire, it’s one of the greatest bands of all time, second only to the Beatles.)
- Self-Sabotage: Some people find themselves confronting the same problems in their lives over and over. Ultimately, those people might realize that they’re suffering from self-sabotage. The source of self-sabotage is that they feel unworthy. They feel unworthy because they have low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can be fixed by building confidence (see previous bullet point).
- Failure: Ariana Huffington says, “Failure isn’t the opposite of success. It’s actually part of success.” If you ask me, that’s brilliant.
- Future: There’s a great saying that sums up how to move forward if you’ve had a difficult past. It says, “Don’t create your future from your past. Instead, create your present from your future.” In other words, decide on what you want your future to look like, and then create your present life based on what you’ll manifest for yourself in your future life.
Okay, we’ve covered a lot of ground here. Let’s do a quick recap before we move on, shall we?
- Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is a set of skills that helps you to recognize and understand your emotions and the emotions of others.
- Happiness Island: Don’t aim for a specific point on Happiness Island. Instead, aim for the island as a whole. There’s plenty of joy wherever you land.
- Core Essence: Understanding your Core Essence can help you create a roadmap to help you become the best version of yourself possible.
- Humility: New research shows that humility is a much more powerful leadership tool than arrogance.
- Confidence: Confidence is the product of action. Take action and, even if you fail, you’ll have learned something and will have built confidence as a result.
Jamie Turner is an author, professor, and professional speaker who leads workshops around the globe designed to help people learn how to do a better job leading themselves and leading others. You can reach him at +1-678-313-3472 or via email at Jamie@JamieTurner.Live.
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