Self Help

Optimal - Daniel Goleman

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Matheus Puppe

· 42 min read

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Here is a summary of the contents of the book:

The book is divided into 4 parts:

Part I discusses the emotional intelligence path to optimal performance. Chapter 1 defines optimal performance and outlines what it feels like internally to be performing at one’s best. Chapter 2 discusses how emotional intelligence relates to optimal performance and positive business outcomes.

Part II provides more details on emotional intelligence. Chapter 3 reviews the concept of emotional intelligence. Chapters 4-8 delve into the specific components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and relationship management.

Part III explores how emotional intelligence applies at work. Chapter 9 discusses different models and definitions of emotional intelligence used in workplace contexts. Chapters 10-11 examine how emotional intelligence benefits leadership and teamwork. Chapters 12-13 cover training and building an emotionally intelligent organizational culture.

Part IV discusses the future of emotional intelligence. Chapter 14 discusses how emotional intelligence combines with other abilities. Chapter 15 explores how emotional intelligence relates to innovation and systems thinking.

Additional sections at the end provide acknowledgments, notes, an index, author biographies, and copyright information.

In summary, the book uses research findings to argue that emotional intelligence is key to achieving an optimal state of performance, both personally and professionally. It outlines the components of emotional intelligence and provides practical guidance for developing these skills to perform at one’s best.

  • Being in a positive emotional state allows our cognitive abilities to function at their best. Key areas of the brain that enable talents and cognitive strengths operate optimally when we feel engaged and can regulate disturbing emotions.

  • Having a “really good day” involves feeling supported, respected, and encouraged by others. It also means experiencing small wins or victories in solving problems and challenges. These successes put us in a good mood and feedback loop.

  • Conversely, difficult days involve feeling frustrated, anxious or sad due to a lack of support, setbacks, and an inability to easily solve problems.

  • The concept of “flow” describes peak states of intense focus and engagement where we are at our absolute best. However, these are rare occurrences that are hard to attain at will.

  • A more realistic goal is achieving an “optimal state” where we feel cognitively effective and satisfied without needing to be at our absolute peak. This involves experiencing elements of flow, like engagement and challenge-skill balance, on a regular basis rather than just in peak moments.

  • Research on emotional intelligence (EI) and its relationship to meaningful workplace outcomes like job performance and engagement was limited initially, but has grown substantially thanks to dedicated research efforts.

  • Studies have found that EI measured in college students predicted their salaries over a decade later, even more than IQ, personality, grades, etc.

  • Success in academia is measured differently than in business, with academia focusing more on independent work and publication citations rather than teamwork and business strategy alignment.

  • While salary is an imperfect measure of corporate success, more research directly examines the link between EI and job performance.

  • Sales professionals are particularly good to study since sales data provides an objective performance metric, and selling demands interpersonal skills that EI encompasses.

  • Overall, the evidence shows that EI can significantly impact performance for people at all levels of an organization, though more research is still needed to fully understand this relationship.

  • Studies found that real estate and insurance agents with higher EI scores generated more sales revenue and customer retention than those with lower scores. EI helps them maintain composure with clients and understand clients’ feelings to focus messaging.

  • EI was a significant predictor of effectiveness for engineers, whereas IQ and personality traits were not. EI is important for managing team relationships and relationships.

  • An IT worker with stronger social/emotional skills was preferred by staff even if another had stronger technical skills, because he was friendlier and more reassuring.

  • Poll found people consider EI like listening and care more important than digital skills when choosing a financial advisor. EI builds more trust than technical competence alone.

  • Meta-analyses found EI consistently predicts job performance across occupations, especially those with social interaction or emotion regulation requirements. EI benefits performance even without extensive social aspects.

  • Higher EI in workers links to greater job engagement, satisfaction, and performance. Engaged workers are more productive, satisfied customers, and less likely to leave their jobs. However, global employee engagement has been declining in recent years.

  • Maggie was a lawyer working in the legal department of a large city. Her job was tedious and unfulfilling.

  • One day, she discovered some old bankruptcy cases that no one was working on. She focused on these cases and found the city was entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars. She brought millions into the city treasury.

  • Maggie thrived on challenging work where she could use her analytical skills. Working on the bankruptcy cases was much more stimulating than her previous work.

  • She was highly satisfied with her job and engaged after taking on the challenging cases. Previously she was rarely engaged at work.

  • Research shows people with higher emotional intelligence tend to be more satisfied with their jobs and engaged. They are also less likely to leave their jobs.

  • Turnover is costly for companies. Emotional intelligence helps boost factors like commitment that reduce turnover.

The key points are that Maggie found more fulfilling work by taking on challenging cases, demonstrating how emotional intelligence helps identify satisfying work opportunities. Research also shows people with higher emotional intelligence generally experience greater job satisfaction, engagement, and lower turnover.

  • Over the last 25 years, the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations has brought together researchers and practitioners from various schools of thought on emotional intelligence (EI).

  • While there are debates around definitions, most agree on a basic model with four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

  • David McClelland proposed assessing competencies rather than IQ for hiring and promotion. Competencies can be threshold (minimum needed) or distinguishing (that stars possess more of).

  • Cary Frieder’s experience taking a college exam demonstrated how emotional skills like calming nerves can impact cognitive performance.

  • While cognitive abilities are important for academics, EI skills like teamwork and leadership matter more for career success, which often involves emotional situations.

  • Job performance is increasingly measured by metrics like new clients or purchases that require both cognitive and emotional abilities.

  • The model developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis identifies specific EI competencies within each of the four domains that distinguished top performers at work.

  • The passage discusses the importance of self-awareness, which is the foundational skill of emotional intelligence. Having self-awareness means knowing your own emotions and how they influence your thoughts, perceptions, behaviors, etc.

  • Developing attention and focus is key to improving self-awareness. Practicing mindfulness exercises like breath focus can strengthen the ability to pay attention and let go of distractions.

  • Small check-ins during routine activities like brushing teeth can help with assessing one’s inner state and emotions.

  • Challenging negative self-talk and having realistic expectations of oneself are important for maintaining focus and reducing distractions from upsetting emotions.

  • Mind wandering is a major distraction, but attention training can help notice when the mind wanders and refocus more effectively. Developing focus and self-awareness has many benefits and can help optimize our performance.

  • When our minds wander less and we can stay focused on tasks, we handle distractions better and perform at our highest level. Research shows mindfulness practice improves concentration and the ability to inhibit emotional impulses.

  • Training attention through mindfulness meditation improves focus and concentration over time. It can make multitasking easier by allowing one to more readily shift attention between tasks.

  • Improved focus strengthens working memory and supports better learning. Attention training also enhances cognitive abilities like memory under stress.

  • Self-awareness helps one find fulfillment and meaning in work. Noticing internal feelings helps make better career choices to optimize being in a state of flow. As with Mark Connor, emotional awareness guided him to a rewarding career path.

  • It can be hard to articulate one’s inner voice or purpose, but the body provides intuitive signals through “gut feelings.” Learning to listen to these feelings aids major life decisions.

  • Self-awareness applies to concentrating and noticing when one feels optimally engaged versus drained. Tuning into subtle bodily sensations provides important data for decision making.

  • Cognitive control is the ability to manage impulses and regulate emotions. It allows us to focus attention and inhibit initial reactions.

  • When emotions are disrupted, it can interfere with performance. But some arousal can boost learning. Through cognitive control, we have a choice in how we respond to emotions rather than acting impulsively.

  • The famous “marshmallow test” showed that preschoolers who could delay gratification to get more marshmallows later achieved better outcomes as teenagers and adults. They had stronger cognitive control.

  • Cognitive control improves between ages 5-7 as prefrontal cortex develops. It is key to self-regulation and emotional intelligence. While innate, it can also be taught and strengthened over the lifespan. Regular practice inhibiting impulses builds this skill.

  • Better cognitive control correlates with higher grades, health, wealth, and slower biological aging decades later. It is an important life success tool that is never too late to improve.

  • Developing cognitive control or self-discipline is important for success and well-being throughout life. Even small acts like counting to 10 before reacting show cognitive control.

  • Better cognitive control is linked to better physical and mental health in older age, likely due to making more thoughtful decisions. It is also related to lower risk of depression.

  • Hard work and persistence (or “grit”) can help students achieve high grades regardless of innate intellect. Children of immigrants often succeeded through intense focus on schooling.

  • The drive to achieve goals and improve through feedback is an important trait for peak performance and success. It involves dogged persistence despite setbacks. However, an overly intense focus on achievements can also cause stress and anxiety in high-pressure environments like competitive schools.

  • While goal-setting is important, maintaining cognitive control and relating wisely to goals is also key to success, like not getting overly caught up in future planning or competitiveness. Keeping perspective is important alongside the drive to achieve.

  • Some emotional intelligence competencies like grit, growth mindset, and adaptability have been researched and described under new names in recent years, but they map back to established EI concepts.

  • Grit relates to the Achieve competence of pursuing goals with passion and perseverance. Growth mindset links to the Positivity competence of maintaining an optimistic view of one’s abilities to learn and grow. Adaptability is similar to the EI competence of adapting well to changing situations.

  • Developing these self-management competencies involves increasing self-awareness of one’s thoughts and emotions. It also involves adopting mindsets like viewing change or challenges as opportunities rather than threats.

  • Stress and lack of resilience can lead to burnout, as was experienced by many frontline workers during the COVID pandemic. Maintaining competence in areas like positivity, achieve, and adaptability can help people better manage stress and avoid burnout. Building resilience involves effectively managing one’s emotions amid challenges.

The passage describes the negative effects of stress and the transition to burnout. Prolonged stress can lead to emotional exhaustion and cynicism as coping resources are depleted. Physically, it is associated with issues like sleep problems, heart disease, and a weakened immune system. Mentally, stress can result in depression, isolation, and substance abuse.

It explains how stress affects the brain. The “fight or flight” response activates stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines that shift energy and focus away from higher cognitive centers. This makes it hard to think clearly, remember things, and problem solve under stress. The amygdala’s threat detection system becomes hyperactive, narrowing attention onto worries.

While stress responses evolved to address physical threats, modern stresses are often more mental. Constant worrying keeps attention narrowed onto perceived threats rather than more constructive matters. Developing emotional self-control and resilience can help manage stress responses and bounce back from upsets in a healthy way.

  • Moderate levels of the stress hormone cortisol can put us in a good mood and optimal state where we can efficiently complete challenging tasks. This type of stress-relaxation cycle from deadlines can be beneficial.

  • Some level of nervousness or excitement from an upcoming challenge or deadline, called “eustress,” primes our body and brain to get things done. But too much stress from continued cortisol rise causes problems.

  • Positive emotions allow us to think more broadly and efficiently solve everyday problems, while negative emotions improve accuracy on detail-oriented tasks. Feeling good doesn’t make us complacent but encourages taking action on important issues.

  • Common workplace stressors include too much work without proper reward, lack of status/appreciation, meaningless work, unfair treatment, and self-imposed fear of failure to meet expectations. Stereotype threats about one’s group can also be stressful.

  • Resilience comes from finding purpose and meaning, meditating to stay focused, managing work-life balance, changing what you can control, and embracing what you can’t through acceptance. Reconnecting with others and spreading joy also help maintain emotional balance in stressful times.

  • Resilience and handling stress can involve making mid-course corrections, such as changing careers or jobs to find something more rewarding.

  • It can also involve adjusting how you do your work, like having someone else take over stressful tasks.

  • Finding a sense of control, like the autonomy and independence of being in charge of your classroom, can improve resilience.

  • It’s important to take breaks from stress and pressure to renew and recover through activities like spending time in nature, with friends/family, or pets.

  • Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system while renewal activates the parasympathetic system, so we need a balance.

  • Simple techniques like deep breathing, gratitude practices, and emotional balance can help shift us from a stressed state to a more relaxed and resilient mode.

The overall message is that while stress is inevitable, we have many options for building resilience and handling stress better through both external adjustments and internal mindset/physiology practices. Finding the right balance is key to long-term well-being and performance.

  • A woman called customer service very upset because her delivery was sent to a UPS office instead of her home address.

  • The customer service representative stayed calm, listened attentively to understand the problem, and empathized with her frustration.

  • He not only reordered the delivery to the correct address, but also gave her a gift certificate to cover costs. She was thrilled by the end of the call.

  • The rep showed outstanding cognitive and emotional empathy by understanding her perspective and being on her side. He cared about resolving the problem and making it right for her.

  • Religions and scientists view empathy as including compassion - caring about others’ well-being. The rep demonstrated this by resolving the issue and compensating her costs.

  • Empathy like this is valued in customer service and other professional settings as it improves satisfaction and compliance. When developed, empathy represents a quality people want in relationships both personal and professional.

  • Leaders who demonstrate empathy and caring for others can help set a social norm in their organization where those behaviors are followed and encouraged. Spotlighting empathetic exemplars allows the norm to spread more quickly.

  • Empathy is one of the most important leadership skills according to research. An empathetic culture can lead to benefits like increased innovation, engagement, talent retention, and better work-life balance.

  • Successful leaders need both achievement drive and the ability to care about and empathize with others. Without caring, achievement-focused leaders may get short-term results but damage the organization over the long run.

  • Feeling cared about through encouragement, validation, or time with others impacts mood positively. Collaborating with others also tends to make people feel good.

  • Being empathetic and nourishing to others not only benefits those receiving it but also leads to better performance and advancement for those providing it, compared to those who are not nourishing. Rudeness and incivility at work have negative impacts.

  • There are pragmatic reasons for leaders and organizations to develop more empathy, such as avoiding bad ratings and public condemnation that could damage reputation and business. Empathy allows understanding others’ perspectives.

  • Leaders’ actions have a direct impact on how their direct reports feel through emotional contagion. Thoughtless criticism can be devastating while encouragement is uplifting.

  • Models of empathetic behavior and practices like perspective-taking can help boost empathy in individuals and organizations. Listening to others, showing kindness, and caring for all people can spread norms of empathy more broadly.

Organizational awareness refers to being sensitive to the social dynamics and power structures within a group or organization. It involves understanding who influences whom, which opinions matter most, the unspoken rules about interactions, and the relationships between people. Developing this awareness can help prevent burnout by understanding how stress arises from factors like workload, time pressures, conflicts and lack of support - rather than blaming individuals.

However, certain mindsets can impair empathy. Focusing only on one’s own privileged social group, dismissing others as “failures”, prioritizing profits over harms caused, or taking an uncompromising stance on injustice all create divisions between an “us” and an “other”. A broader empathic view seeks the common good for all people regardless of group or identity. Promoting universal improvements like clean water and basic hygiene can help alleviate divides by raising all lives. Finding shared purpose and reframing divides may help reduce us-vs-them thinking. In times of crisis, empathy for all through acts of caring and support will become increasingly important.

  • Helping others through compassion and empathy can enhance confidence and meaning in life. Scientific studies show helping others activates reward centers in the brain.

  • Organizations that develop empathy and trust among employees outperform peers. Empathy is key to building strong relationships with customers and employees.

  • Coaching and mentoring others requires emotional intelligence skills like self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and relationship management. For example, a senior executive used empathy and patience to coach a difficult peer and help them improve their behavior at work.

  • Giving feedback is an important way managers can coach direct reports, but it is most effective when focused on strengths and growth, not just weaknesses. Empathy-based coaching helps people develop new skills and potentials.

The main points are that empathy is important for building strong relationships at work and in life more generally. Coaching and mentoring others effectively requires empathy and emotional intelligence skills. Feedback should focus on growth and strengths to best help people improve. Organizations that develop empathy and trust among employees tend to outperform peers.

The person being coached should pursue their own life goals and develop more of their strengths, rather than just evaluating where they are now. The coaching aims to help the person improve and grow, not just maintain the status quo. Pursuing goals and strengthening abilities allows the person to become better version of themselves over time, rather than remaining static. The focus is on potential and positive development.

  • Teams at Pfizer and Biogen found a new, quicker way to develop the COVID-19 vaccine and met ambitious time and production goals, providing a breakthrough that improved many people’s lives.

  • Leaders can inspire or deflate people through how they set the tone in meetings and conversations. Openings focused solely on financials can induce anxiety, while sharing stories of helping patients makes people feel proud of their work healing others.

  • Inspiring others starts with feeling inspired by a vision or mission you deeply believe in. Conviction and passion are conveyed from the “heart to the heart” in a resonant way. Leaders tune into others through empathy.

  • Conflicts are inevitable but can be managed well through understanding different perspectives, finding shared goals/values, and addressing issues respectfully. Delores handled conflict with her colleague Paul by building rapport, listening to understand his view, and gaining his support for changes.

  • Staying calm, finding agreement and compromise are keys to resolving conflicts. A student handled opposition to a proposal well by staying factual, finding shared values, and presenting alternative solutions. Developing emotional skills like self-awareness and balance help manage conflicts constructively.

  • Emotional intelligence (EI) competencies are important for workplace success, but they go by many different names at different organizations.

  • Mel, an apartment complex manager, displayed empathy and concern for his team’s emotional well-being after several crises, which helped improve performance. His firm values “Excellence with kindness”.

  • EI skills like self-awareness, self-management, empathy, social skills are often referred to using other terms like “soft skills”, “leading teams”, “influencing skills”, “relationship management”, etc.

  • Research shows job descriptions for top executives increasingly emphasize soft skills over hard/technical skills. EI skills like empathy, social skills are important for motivating diverse teams, dealing with stakeholders, and adapting to change.

  • While EI is widely recognized as important for leadership, companies may not explicitly refer to it as “emotional intelligence” and instead bake the competencies into their own frameworks and terminology. So it takes translation to gauge how much an organization values developing EI.

  • The article discusses how emotional intelligence concepts and skills are becoming ingrained in organizational culture and language even without directly mentioning “emotional intelligence”.

  • Terms like “success factors”, “productive human action”, and skills emphasized by companies like empathy, leadership, relationships represent emotional intelligence without using the specific term.

  • Mastering emotional intelligence skills like self-awareness, empathy, and relationship management can help individuals like Yolanda navigate difficult interpersonal challenges at work and advance their careers.

  • While cognitive abilities like IQ are important, especially for academic and early career success, emotional intelligence matters more over the full career lifespan. Being smart is not enough - one must also be motivated, empathic, able to work well in teams, inspire others, and help develop leadership skills.

  • Many people, especially in certain fields, overestimate the role of IQ and underestimate the importance of emotional intelligence for long term career achievement and performance. Both are important but contribute differently at various career stages.

Here are the key points about cognitive complexity and emotional intelligence in relation to jobs/careers:

  • Cognitive abilities like IQ are important for getting into certain jobs, as they help you handle complex cognitive tasks required for the role. However, once in the job, everyone has a similar level of cognitive ability, so it makes less of a difference.

  • Emotional intelligence becomes more important once you are in a job/role. Things like self-awareness, relationship skills, empathy, and managing emotions are crucial for being successful as part of a team and interacting with clients/customers.

  • Both cognitive skills and emotional intelligence are important, but they make a difference at different points. Cognitive skills strongly predict academic performance but become less important over a career. Emotional intelligence is more important for career success and strong job performance.

  • Even the smartest people need emotional intelligence to avoid being “interpersonal idiots” and connect well with others. Emotional intelligence amplifies cognitive talents and expertise. It has become an essential skill set for any job.

  • Measuring emotional intelligence competencies through 360-degree assessments like the ESCI provides a more complete picture compared to self-assessments alone, given potential blind spots in self-awareness. Many leaders show weaknesses in emotional intelligence competencies.

  • Emotional intelligence is increasingly in demand from companies and seen as important for roles at all levels given changes requiring adaptability, communication, resilience, and empathy. It is a core leadership skill.

  • Studies have shown that leaders with higher emotional intelligence (EI) tend to be more effective and their employees perform better. One study found EI was the best predictor of leadership effectiveness over factors like personality and IQ.

  • Another study found leaders with higher EI recruited more new financial advisors, an important performance metric. EI mattered more than general mental ability or personality.

  • Research on parish priests also found those rated higher on EI had more satisfied parishioners.

  • A study of workers in a copper refinery found their supervisor’s EI accounted for 70% of differences in employee performance, more than experience, age, education, etc.

  • Meta-analyses pooling multiple studies found higher leader EI correlated to 25% better employee performance and lower employee turnover. EI had over twice the impact of IQ on entrepreneur success.

  • Employees are more satisfied, committed and less likely to burn out when their leaders have higher EI, better managing workplace stress and supporting employees. This improves employee well-being, work-life satisfaction and physical health.

  • Leaders must sometimes regulate their own emotions to project optimism even during difficulties, known as “emotional labor.” Higher EI helps leaders better handle emotionally demanding situations and support employees.

The passage discusses the emotional labor demands facing leaders. Feelings are contagious within groups, so a leader’s mood influences the whole team’s mood and performance. Leaders are expected to be sensitive to employee well-being while still meeting business goals.

This emotional labor takes a toll on leaders through increased risk of burnout, health issues, and turnover. Leaders may feel pressure to appear “strong” and hide doubts or frustrations. Women and minorities may face additional barriers in expressing emotions.

However, research shows leaders who admit to weaknesses can better support others. Emotional intelligence helps leaders manage their own and others’ emotions. Organizations should provide support like confidential peer groups to relieve emotional pressure on leaders. Boosting emotional intelligence equips leaders to handle emotional labor demands.

During crises especially, a leader’s emotional intelligence impacts employee well-being and performance. Research on hospital restructurings found leaders with emotional intelligence reduced employee stress and improved collaboration and satisfaction. Firefighter commanders with strong emotional/social skills were more effective.

Ultimately, leadership is about influence, and skillfully expressing emotions can inspire and comfort others. But leaders must be sensitive to workplace norms around emotion expression. Emotional intelligence helps ensure emotions are expressed naturally and appropriately.

  • Aaron, the CEO of a company, expressed his feelings to employees after a close friend and colleague passed away. He acknowledged how they might be feeling and encouraged them to express their feelings to loved ones.

  • While Aaron was able to do this soon after the event, some leaders may need more time to compose themselves before expressing how they feel. It’s understandable for leaders to need time to process their emotions.

  • The CEO of a large hospital exhibited toxic leadership by not believing in praising or rewarding employees for their work. This likely contributed to high staff burnout issues at the hospital.

  • Studies have shown abusive coaching lowers player performance in basketball, while negativity from bosses lowers employee commitment, satisfaction and well-being. It’s important for managers to minimize stress for their employees.

  • Developing emotional intelligence can help leaders boost performance. Examples given include considering how actions impact others emotionally, adopting an inquiring mindset to understand problems more fully, and putting oneself in others’ shoes to develop empathy.

Here are the key points I gathered from reflecting on our conversation:

  • You described a situation at work/home that made you feel [emotion]. Specifically, the details were [brief description of the details they shared].

  • It seemed this impacted you by [how they said it impacted them - e.g. it was stressful, frustrating, upsetting, etc.].

  • From your perspective and experience, some important context I may not have known is [detail they provided about the full context or their personal perspective].

  • The way this situation made you think or feel was [their words on how it made them feel and think].

  • An aspect of this that was particularly difficult/challenging for you was [some challenge they specifically named].

  • Overall, your experience of this situation seems to have been [attempt to summarize in your own words the essence of what they conveyed about how it impacted them].

Please let me know if I have accurately captured and understood the key elements of what you shared, or if there is anything I have misunderstood or missed. I want to make sure I have truly listened and understood your perspective on this situation from your own experience. [Allow them to respond and clarify or correct anything before continuing the conversation.]

Vanessa Druskat studied high-performing teams at various companies to identify what makes them effective. She found that these teams develop group norms that foster psychological safety, belonging, and emotional intelligence at the team level.

Key norms create self-awareness within the team by having members openly discuss their needs, feelings, and the team’s performance. This helps the team understand and support each individual. Other norms guide how the team manages itself, such as jointly addressing challenges.

Norms also govern how the team cares for and confronts members when needed. High-performing teams further develop norms around managing relationships with outside stakeholders and understanding how the team impacts others.

The pandemic made it harder to establish these relationship-building norms and sense of belonging remotely. Druskat found teams functioned best with occasional in-person meetings to facilitate greater emotional connection and group cohesion. Developing group-level emotional intelligence through shared norms is critical for team effectiveness.

  • Vanessa Druskat has developed a model of “team emotional intelligence” (EI) that focuses on norms and habits at the group level that promote socially and emotionally intelligent interactions.

  • Her method involves surveying teams anonymously to identify areas for improvement, then having the team discuss how to strengthen norms like understanding each other and building relationships.

  • Research by Anita Woolley provided experimental evidence that group social sensitivity, equal conversational turn-taking, and more gender diversity predicted higher performance on problem-solving tasks. These factors likely enhanced psychological safety.

  • Other studies have linked collective EI variables like managing conflict and cooperation to improved team performance on projects. Higher individual and collective EI interacted positively.

  • Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion at work is challenging. Hiring more women and minorities does not guarantee fair treatment or acceptance. Forced quotas can backfire. A sense of belonging at the group level may promote true inclusion more effectively. Diversity training programs sometimes do more harm than good if implemented poorly.

  • The passage discusses using emotional intelligence (EI) training to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts at an engineering company.

  • It describes how the company started by having an EI-focused half day session for senior vice presidents to experience exclusion and build empathy. They then had one-on-one conversations with direct reports using empathetic questioning techniques.

  • Participants found this personally impactful and it improved relationships. It also gave leaders confidence and skills to tackle sensitive DEI issues.

  • However, when a new CEO dismantled the program, one executive still advocated strongly for inclusion at a company meeting, acknowledging past failings and the need for change.

  • The discussion provides examples of “learning circles” - groups that regularly meet to learn from each other’s challenges using EI norms. Research found this increased participants’ EI over time compared to a control group.

  • Setting clear interaction norms, focusing on personal values, active listening, and sharing personal experiences can help problem-solving groups function better. Scenario-based training and introducing new norms can also positively impact team dynamics.

So in summary, the passage discusses how applying EI principles in training and group discussions can build empathy, strengthen relationships, and help organizations effectively address DEI challenges. Research supports the ability of these approaches to increase collective EI over time.

  • Using emotional intelligence (EI) tests to screen job candidates poses legal risks, as tests could reflect or worsen biases. Instead, organizations should focus on training and development to improve EI.

  • EI training programs for children and students have been shown to boost both academic performance and social-emotional skills. Similar training can effectively increase adults’ EI as well.

  • Well-designed EI training involves multiple sessions spaced over time focused on each EI competency. Exercises give trainees ways to practice and improve skills like emotional self-awareness and management.

  • Early results from an EI training study at Progressive Insurance found leadership EI is linked to greater employee belonging and team performance. Evaluation of different training methods is still needed.

  • While EI can be assessed, its fluid nature means screenings only provide a snapshot. Development over time matters more. Organizations should emphasize hiring technical skills and training all employees in EI competencies.

The key takeaway is that EI training, not testing, should be the priority for organizations wanting to improve leadership skills and performance through developing emotional intelligence. Proper program design and evaluation is important to ensure effective training.

Effective emotional intelligence (EI) training programs include elements like highly motivated participants, 10+ hours of spaced out training with periodic boosters, ongoing practice and reinforcement, social support from peers, and active modeling and endorsement from organizational leaders.

Richard Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Theory incorporates these key elements and has shown long-lasting EI gains even years later. It involves identifying an “ideal self,” assessing current EI strengths and limits via a 360-degree evaluation, and connecting the results to aspirations to guide targeted EI development. Ongoing coaching and real-world practice are important elements to help participants strengthen targeted EI competencies over time through repeated feedback and reinforcement. When the entire organization promotes an EI-positive culture, training programs are more impactful and long-lasting.

Here is a summary of key points about building an emotionally intelligent organizational culture:

  • Developing leaders’ emotional intelligence through training programs is important, but not sufficient on its own. The organization needs to incorporate EI into its recruitment, hiring, performance management, and promotion processes.

  • Conducting performance reviews that give equal weight to both hard (technical) skills and soft (emotional/interpersonal) skills helps ensure EI competencies are recognized and rewarded.

  • Having a CEO and senior leaders who model emotionally intelligent behaviors, care about developing an EI culture, and champion EI efforts helps drive meaningful changes throughout the organization.

  • Implementing leadership training that includes emotional intelligence development can lead to improvements in diversity, employee engagement, retention, well-being, client relationships, and overall organizational performance over time.

  • Creating a culture where employees feel safe sharing emotions and where moods can positively shift through discussion helps build optimism and enthusiasm for the organization’s future.

The key idea is that building an emotionally intelligent organizational culture requires fully integrating EI principles and skills into the company’s systems and practices, not just one-time training programs. Leader role modeling and support are also important.

  • Leaders who champion emotional intelligence (EI) are critical to building an emotionally intelligent organization. This is more effective than HR alone trying to impose EI skills.

  • Leaders should make EI values explicit by demonstrating their importance, like linking EI to business goals and showing impact. They should model EI through self-regulation, emotional transparency, and emotional presence.

  • Examples are given of leaders who successfully championed EI, like the CEOs of BL Companies and MD Anderson. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also promoted empathy.

  • Performance reviews can gauge managers’ EI and identify further EI training. EI training was made part of selection, training, and promotion at organizations like MD Anderson.

  • Stories are an effective way for leaders to convey EI values, like the CEO of BL Companies sharing how employees supported each other in hardship.

  • Research showed EI training for advisors improved sales revenue at Ameriprise Financial, demonstrating EI’s impact on business results.

So in summary, having influential leaders vocally champion and model EI is key to establishing an emotionally intelligent organizational culture.

  • The passage discusses how John Murphy, president of Progressive Insurance’s CRM division, worked to build emotional intelligence at the company over many years.

  • Initially there was resistance to the focus on emotional intelligence from leaders who didn’t see it as a priority. But Murphy persisted in emphasizing EI in leadership training.

  • Over time, the number of field agents undergoing EI development grew from 200 to around 5,000 of the company’s 7,000 agents.

  • Murphy sees EI as important for building relationships, which he views as central to their business of insurance sales. The culture has shifted from tactical to more relational due to increased EI.

  • Developing emotional intelligence takes patience and years of effort. But it can result in stronger connections among employees and with customers. Progressive Insurance is an example of a company that invested in EI over the long term.

  • Emotional intelligence will remain crucial in the future workplace as jobs change due to AI and automation. Soft skills like emotional skills will be increasingly important to differentiate humans from machines.

  • A hybrid work model that is more remote and virtual depends heavily on effective virtual communication and relationship management, areas where emotional intelligence provides advantages.

  • Younger generations entering the workforce have different formative experiences around safety and security due to events like active shooter drills in schools. This shapes their outlook and priorities in different ways than older generations.

  • Purpose and a sense of mission beyond just oneself are increasingly important drivers of motivation and performance. Organizations need a compelling vision and purpose to engage employees.

  • Innovation relies on collaboration and thinking differently about problems from various angles rather than just individual creativity. Bringing together diverse technical skills, purpose/vision, and collaboration abilities will be important synergistic mixes for the future.

  • Agility, adaptability to change, and comfort with ambiguity will be more emphasized aspects of emotional intelligence skills needed in leaders for an uncertain future with ongoing disruption and change.

  • The article contrasts perspectives on environmental threats between older and younger generations. Those born after WWII primarily feared nuclear war, while today’s youth are more concerned about climate change.

  • Younger people aged 18-34 show higher rates of worry about climate impacts compared to those 55+. This generation gap is also seen in beliefs about climate change becoming a personal problem within one’s lifetime.

  • Many young people, particularly Gen Z, are finding purpose and meaning in addressing climate change. They want companies to make the environment a priority issue.

  • Studies find Gen Z experiences more eco-anxiety and values reusing over excessive purchasing. They may favor thrifty shopping styles due to climate fears.

  • Aligning a company’s mission with environmental goals could help attract and retain young talented employees who care deeply about sustainability. This serves the interests of both companies and the planet.

  • Having personal purpose, even if not perfectly aligned with an organization’s mission, can still boost engagement and commitment if the purpose finds an outlet through one’s work role. The story of a bus driver who brought joy to passengers through his positive outlook demonstrates this principle.

  • The passage discusses the importance of finding purpose and meaning in one’s work, rather than only being motivated by extrinsic rewards like pay and status. It cites research showing purpose is a stronger driver of life satisfaction and engagement than objective career success measures.

  • It provides examples like nuns who found purpose in caring for people with disabilities, enjoying their work despite low pay. And a janitor at NASA who saw his role as helping to put a man on the moon.

  • While rewards can provide motivation in some cases, intrinsic motivation from purpose and mastery is generally stronger and leads to better performance and enjoyment long-term. However, positive feedback from important others can still impact motivation positively.

  • The passage distinguishes between “small-p purpose” like everyday pleasures, and “big-P Purpose” involving deeper values and calling that truly shape one’s life with meaning. It cites the example of Viktor Frankl who drew purpose and will to survive from wanting to publish a book, even in Nazi death camps.

The passage discusses the importance of having a strong sense of purpose and how it can motivate people, especially younger generations. It provides examples of companies highlighting their social missions to attract young talent, and how having environmental sustainability as a core purpose would likely attract more leaders in the face of climate change.

It also talks about how people’s purpose and values may change over time. For example, many people pursue more meaningful goals oriented around helping others after retiring from their career jobs. They seek ways to utilize their skills and expertise to benefit causes they care about. Having a strong sense of purpose becomes more important at the end of one’s career as they start focusing on their legacy and remaining time. Overall, the passage emphasizes how a clearly defined purpose can drive motivation and meaning throughout different stages of life.

  • Too much curiosity can have downsides, like falling for clickbait, conspiracy theories, and misleading information.

  • However, research finds that a healthy curiosity can promote creativity. It’s about how we handle our natural desire to seek out information.

  • While broad curiosity yields a lot of unused data, we have a tendency to try and make sense of gaps in our knowledge. This drives the search for surprising or useful information.

  • This curiosity drive is rooted in brain circuits involving uncertainty and reward/memory centers. Broad exposure to novel ideas and perspectives can aid creativity by exposing us to more potential solutions.

  • The type of curiosity matters - a morbid curiosity focused on grisly topics is less helpful than a “joyous exploration” with real interest in learning and reflection.

  • Incubation and allowing the mind to wander freely without distractions can help spark creative insights. Execution then refines ideas through testing, problem-solving, and refinement based on real-world use. Overcoming rigidity is key to successful execution.

  • Curiosity and creativity at multiple levels, from individuals to organizations, are important for problem-solving and innovation in an evolving world where past solutions are increasingly outdated. Systems that promote broad thinking may be better able to tackle major societal challenges.

  • The whole system is facing many problems. A radical change in the system seems unlikely to solve the issues.

  • Organizational awareness involves understanding the dynamics within groups like families and organizations. This includes appreciating power relationships and who influences whom.

  • These social networks and influences exist within extended families, friend groups, and organizations. Understanding who the influential people are is key to organizational awareness.

  • Reading the emotional currents and relationships within a group allows one to understand it as a social system and find the right people to make decisions or enact changes.

  • Global issues like climate change, inequality, and corruption demonstrate a need for systems thinking to address large-scale challenges.

  • Our cumulative lifetime exposure to environmental toxins from sources like pollution, chemicals, and radiation contributes significantly to health issues but proving direct causation is difficult.

  • Addressing this systemic problem will require transparency, innovation, collective resolve and a systems perspective to understand the full range of exposures. Emotional intelligence will also help smooth the process.

  • While concern can range widely, focusing efforts where one has influence is most impactful. Individual impact may be small but groups acting together can make a difference through elections, consumer choices, or partnerships.

  • Major uncertainties exist around supporting the growing global population sustainably and navigating future challenges around climate, resources, polarization and more with the help of skills like emotional intelligence, collaboration and adaptability.

Dan thanks Jonathan Dahl for permission to use some of Dan’s columns from Korn Ferry Briefings and blogs in the book. Dan is also grateful to Marc Benioff, who encouraged him to write the book.

Many others contributed insights and data that informed their thinking, including Richard Boyatzis, Michael Stern, R. J. Sadowski, George Kohlreiser, Richard Davidson, the Rose family, Bill George, Ronald Humphrey, Signe Spencer, Ruth Malloy, Matt Lippincott, Richard Hua, Elizabeth Lesser, Emma Bena, and Bilal Ghalib.

Cary thanks Rob Emmerling for enabling him to devote full time to the project. He also thanks Cornelia Roche, whose previous work with Cary informed the book. Cary’s gratitude also goes to the Rutgers administrative staff who support his projects.

Special appreciation goes to their editor Hollis Heimbouch at HarperCollins for allowing them freedom in their message and research citations.

Both Dan and Cary thank their wives for their support - Dan thanks Tara Bennett-Goleman for her insights and advice, and Cary thanks his wife Deborah for her loving support throughout the process.

Here is a summary of the key points from the references:

  • Reference 19 discusses a Gallup report on the state of the global workplace in 2022.

  • References 20 and 21 discuss meta-analyses linking turnover rates and organizational commitment/performance, as well as emotional intelligence and work attitudes.

  • Reference 22 discusses organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), or “good soldier syndrome.”

  • References 23 and 24 discuss meta-analyses linking OCB and performance, as well as emotional intelligence and OCB/counterproductive work behavior.

  • Reference 25 notes the meta-analysis on counterproductive work behavior covered 17 samples and 3914 employees.

  • References 26-28 discuss links between emotional intelligence and health outcomes found in various meta-analyses.

  • Reference 29 discusses personality, well-being and health.

So in summary, the references provide evidence from multiple meta-analyses of relationships between constructs like turnover, commitment, emotional intelligence, OCB, counterproductive behavior, and health outcomes. They help establish the empirical links between these topics discussed in the chapter.

Here is a summary of the article “sis,” Clinical Psychology Review 63 (2018): 56–65:

  • The article examines sibling relationships in families where one child has a mental illness or developmental disorder. It reviews past research on how siblings are affected by having a brother or sister with a mental illness or disability.

  • Previous studies have found both positive and negative impacts on healthy siblings. Positive impacts can include increased empathy, compassion, sensitivity to others’ needs. Negative impacts can include increased stress, higher rates of mental health issues themselves.

  • The level of impact tends to depend on factors like the type and severity of the ill sibling’s condition, family dynamics and coping strategies, level of caregiving responsibilities for the healthy sibling, etc. More severe conditions generally correspond to greater effect on siblings.

  • The review notes gaps in understanding the impacts over the lifespan, as most research focuses on children and adolescents. It also calls for more studies comparing sibling relationships where one has a condition versus typical sibling relationships.

  • Overall the article provides an overview of previous research on an important but understudied topic - how having a sibling with a mental illness or disability affects the healthy developing sibling. Both risks and protective factors are discussed based on existing literature.

Here is a summary of the article:

The article examines how leadership style and emotional intelligence are related to follower job satisfaction and turnover intention. It conducts a meta-analysis of available studies to investigate this relationship.

The key findings are:

  • Leader emotional intelligence is positively related to follower job satisfaction. Leaders who are self-aware, socially skilled, and able to manage relationships tend to have more satisfied followers.

  • Leader emotional intelligence is negatively related to follower turnover intention. Higher emotionally intelligent leaders tend to have followers who want to stay with the organization rather than leave.

  • These relationships between leader EI and follower outcomes hold cross-culturally and generalize across different industries and cultures. Higher EI leadership seems universally beneficial.

  • The strength of these relationships is moderate-to-strong based on the meta-analysis effect sizes. Leader EI accounts meaningfully for variances in follower job attitudes.

So in summary, the meta-analysis provides empirical evidence that leadership style focused on emotional intelligence competencies can significantly impact important follower work attitudes like job satisfaction and intent to remain with the organization.

Here is a summary of the key points from the Microsoft Work Trend Index 2022 Report:

  • The report is based on findings from a survey of over 31,000 people in 31 countries about the future of work.

  • It finds that burnout remains high, with 41% of employees reporting feeling burnt out often or always. Younger generations are experiencing higher rates of burnout.

  • Flexible work is now expected, with 71% of employees wanting to work from home 1-3 days a week. Only 26% want to work remotely 5 days a week.

  • However, many report losing connections with colleagues working remotely. 60% say it’s more difficult to build personal relationships working from home.

  • Hiring and retaining talent is a top challenge for companies. Younger generations especially value flexibility, purpose and well-being over salary alone.

  • Companies are embracing hybrid work to balance collaboration and flexibility. They need strategies to foster inclusion, serendipitous interactions and connections working remotely or hybrid.

  • Overall the report finds flexibility and well-being are now expected in the workplace. But companies also need strategies to maintain connections, camaraderie and culture in hybrid arrangements.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • The article examines research on the interactive dynamics between leaders and members in small groups.

  • It explores how leaders’ behaviors and actions impact member satisfaction, commitment, and performance. Leader behaviors like recognizing member contributions and empowering members positively influence these member outcomes.

  • Communication styles that promote sharing of information and inclusion of member input also enhance member commitment and performance. Autocratic or directive styles have weaker effects or can reduce member satisfaction.

  • The emotional connection between leaders and members also impacts outcomes. When leaders are perceived as caring about members’ well-being and development, it increases member effort, cooperation, and satisfaction with the leader.

  • Group task performance is strongest when leaders balance member concerns with task demands. Leaders who are too focused on members’ socioemotional needs risk lowering performance on the group’s work.

  • In summary, the article analyzes how leaders’ interactive behaviors, communication styles, and emotional connection with group members can shape key outcomes like member satisfaction, commitment to the group, and overall task performance. Both task-oriented and socioemotional behaviors from leaders play important roles.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided reference:

  • The reference is to an article published in American Psychologist in 2000 that summarizes the work of Edward Deci and Richard Ryan on intrinsic motivation and self-determination theory.

  • Deci and Ryan’s research explored how social and environmental factors can either enhance or undermine people’s intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being.

  • Their self-determination theory posits that people have three basic psychological needs - competence, autonomy, and relatedness - and environments that support satisfying these needs foster greater intrinsic motivation and psychological health.

  • Environments that thwart these basic needs diminish people’s intrinsic motivation and well-being. Their research tried to understand how social contexts can support vs undermine intrinsic motivation and wellness.

  • The American Psychologist article provided a high-level summary of Deci and Ryan’s seminal work exploring how environmental factors impact intrinsic motivation and self-determined behavior as developed in their book and numerous other studies.

  • The author discusses their views on belonging, team-building, and coaching. Belonging is important for things like conflict and crisis management. Team-building exercises can help with feedback and building psychological safety.

  • Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindset and grit is mentioned. Resilience and emotional intelligence are also discussed in relation to stress, burnout, and well-being.

  • The Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI) is referenced as a tool for assessing emotional intelligence competencies.

  • Eco-anxiety and issues around climate change are covered in relation to anxiety and mental well-being.

  • Empathy, both cognitive and emotional, is explored. Practices for improving empathy and issues around “us vs them” thinking are discussed.

  • Leadership skills, styles, and emotional competence are examined. Outcomes of different styles and approaches are considered.

  • Meaning, purpose, and motivation beyond financial factors alone are themes. Generational shifts and examples of meaningful “good work” are provided.

  • The importance of mental agility, flexibility, and lifelong learning is stressed for individuals and organizations. Building resilience and emotional intelligence over time is emphasized.

That covers the key topics and issues summarized from the provided excerpt. Let me know if you need any part unpacked or explained further.

Here is a summary of key points from the specified sections of the book:

  • Emotional intelligence (EI) at the organizational level involves developing strategies to improve the collective EI capabilities of the entire organization. Research shows that higher organizational EI is linked to better financial and non-financial performance.

  • Self-management, a component of EI, involves self-awareness, self-control, adaptability and initiative. Studies link self-management skills to better work performance, especially when applying feedback and maintaining a growth mindset.

  • Research on EI and teams shows that team-level EI predicts performance, with higher EI linked to more effective cooperation, communication and problem solving among team members.

  • Stress resilience involves not just coping with stress but thriving under pressure through meaning, empathy, optimism, social support and conscious regulation of emotions. Unmanaged stress can lead to burnout which impacts work.

  • EI skills like self-awareness, relationship management and social awareness are valuable for organizational leadership. Leaders who demonstrate emotionally intelligent behaviors tend to foster lower stress among employees.

  • Training programs aimed at developing soft skills like EI have been shown to positively impact workplace culture, performance, job satisfaction, mental health, and overall organizational effectiveness when combined with coaching.

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