Election Day: 6 Emotional Intelligence Skills to Make it Through the Day

Vote today!

Vote today!

Emotions are likely to be high today. No matter which candidate you support, you may be anxious, optimistic, fearful, angry, and on edge, curious, or distracted plus many more emotions.

Today let your emotions inform your decisions and your actions. Channel your emotions into productive, not destructive, actions.

Because of course, so much is at stake in this election. When there is a lot on the line, people get very emotional and that’s exactly what we’ve seen this year on the campaign trail. When emotions are present, it does mean something matters and we are all deeply attached to the outcome of this election so no wonder emotions are present. They are healthy and are a way to communicate our beliefs.

Problems and conflict occur when emotions are uncontrolled and drive destructive, disrespectful and divisive words and actions. Emotions then drive people instead of people being able to control their behavior.

If you want to be part of getting people to work together again and be civil to each other, it’s your responsibility to vote and use your emotional intelligence as you interact with others.

There are six skills I believe will help you be more focused, present and effective today and in the days following the election.

  1. Optimism* – Our country has been through many dark times and although it’s been messy and in some cases devastating, we’ve always made it through. Tap into your sense of optimism by looking at the big picture that we will survive.  Look at what is working in your life, your career, and your community. Yes there are a lot of things that need to be fixed. By looking at what is working, it will open us up to new solutions.

I’m not saying you should look at life with rosy-colored glasses and pretend problems aren’t there. Of course they are. Approaching today with optimism means that no matter who wins, we as a country have the ability to make it through, and you as a citizen have the power to take action that matches your beliefs and influence outcomes.

  1. Assertiveness – Do your part to make sure something good happens. When you are appropriately assertive, you communicate your feelings, beliefs and thoughts openly and defend your personal rights and values in a socially acceptable, non-offensive and non-destructive manner. The offensive and destructive voices from these campaigns are overly aggressive which is causing a lot of chaos.

To use assertiveness, first vote, then do something to help other citizens like make calls, drive someone to vote, write a blog post, any kind of action that makes you feel like you can do something to make a difference.

This also boosts your self-regard and is a good use of your social responsibility, both which increase your emotional intelligence.

  1. Impulse Control – Take a breath before you argue or make sweeping generalizations. Impulse control is a mature way to address differences and conflict. Using impulse control, which is resisting or delaying the impulse to act, can help cooler heads prevail today and in the days following the election.

Using impulse control doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express your opinion, to recommend keeping quiet would violate your right to free speech. The difference is how you express your feelings, thoughts and beliefs in an appropriate way.

  1. Emotional Self-Awareness – This skill is so important I’ve included the whole definition from Multi-Health Systems – “Emotional self-awareness includes the ability to recognize and understand one’s emotions. Also includes the ability to differentiate between the subtleties in one’s own emotions while understanding the cause of these emotions and the impact they have on one’s own thoughts and actions and those of others.” Using this skill is the foundation for the core of your emotional intelligence.

When we are not present to our emotions and let them drive us, we lose our ability to be rational and take appropriate actions.

Take time today to reflect on your own emotions. Mine are a messy mix of hope and fear for the future, curiosity about what will change, anger about all the hatred that is being unleashed, and frustration. I’m also working to be more optimistic that we can make the country better, and tapping into my own use of assertiveness to reach out to potential voters through calls to encourage people to vote.

  1. Reality Testing – this can be tough if you experience a lot of difficulties in your life, especially on a day like today. Doing your best to be objective and see things for how they are can help you manage your emotions. Managing your emotions helps you stay productive and effective.

Fearing the worst keeps you from fully being present to your family, your job, co-workers, team members, and employees. Fearing the worst can paralyze your thoughts and actions and you can spiral into a downward spin into negativity and at its worst, depression.

Mentally or on paper, list the worst fears you’ve had and then notice which ones actually happened. Hopefully it’s none or less than the good things. This exercise helps you create a stronger sense of realistic thinking.

It is easy with all the media coming at us to mentally construct gloom and doom scenarios in our head. All the analysts, political commentators, talk show hosts and social media posts drive us to conclusions that may not be in our best interest.

We can use our minds just as easily to focus on good outcomes. Spend a few minutes today picturing good outcomes to our society, our economy and our country as a whole. It can get better.

  1. Interpersonal relationships – You won’t agree with some people, however, if they are significant people in your life and you want to stay in relationship with them, use impulse control – think carefully before you speak.

Speak your mind respectfully and after you have, respect their right as a citizen to vote as their conscience and heart speaks to them. This will go a long way to preserving your relationship.

While not measured as an emotional intelligence skill, courage will be important. There are so many forces out there that want us to stay in fear or incite fear and panic in us that we will lose our in us that we will lose our country. Some of the fear is real, and some of it is not. Use courage to discern for yourself what is real for you and then take action.

Thank you for reading this. I’m going to make some calls now to encourage people to get out and vote.

For your voting locations visit www.iwillvote.com.

* All definitions and emotional intelligence skills mentioned in this article are from Multi-Health Systems EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Survey. Kathy Garland is a certified provider of EQ-i assessments. Click here for more information on emotional intelligence.

 

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Becoming Remarkable

As a leader in business, you need to be remarkable to be heard and influence people.

Vocabulary.com explains remarkable as an adjective that means worthy of notice. Something remarkable is unusual, exceptional, interesting, or excellent. Remarkable things get your attention.

I love the last line – “Remarkable things get your attention.” The same goes for people and companies.

Remarkable people and companies get your attention.

Now that statement begs the question, “How do I become remarkable?” The origin of remarkable begins in the 1600’s from the French remarquer ‘take note of.’ (From oxforddictionaries.com.) When we are or do something remarkable, we want people to take note of these actions and achievements. This builds our personal and professional brand.

There are five cornerstones I believe are important for you, your team and your company to become remarkable. I’ve also identified several qualities under each cornerstone.

Five Cornerstones of Being Remarkable

  1. Creativity and Innovation
    – Be known as a problem-solver and the ability to solve customers’ problems quickly
    – Ability to concept and launch new products and services
  2. Trustworthiness
    – Do the right thing
    – Deliver on your promises
  3. High Use of Emotional Intelligence
    – Solve conflicts while protecting relationships
    – Fearlessly build business and relationships
    – Handle stress without impacting productivity
  4. Excellent products and services
    – Make the lives of your clients better and more successful
    – Deliver what you do consistently and reliably
  5. Sense of Humor
    – Break tension and reconnect people to task at hand, which increases effectiveness
    – Help people stay engaged when work is challenging
    – Provide a sense of optimism when mistakes are made.

To find out how you or your company can increase your ability to be remarkable, schedule a complimentary consultation call with me. You’ll discover where you are remarkable and where you can improve.

© Copyright, Kathy Garland, 2015. All rights reserved.

 

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We Can Do This!

We can do itHave you ever met someone like Shawn? I met Shawn in leadership development program I was coaching. The group was stuck on a team-building activity that seemed impossible to get done in the time frame that would net them the most points.

Shawn spoke up. “This is doable,” he began.  The team wasn’t convinced so he continued. “Two years ago, I only had an eighth-grade education. I’ve learned that if there is something I want, I put my mind to it and focus on on it, I can reach my goals. We can do this.”

Shawn earned his GED in 2009 and and was promoted to a supervisory level in 2011. He already had goals established for the next level he wants to achieve.

During a break, I talked to him more about his journey to overcome his difficult circumstances. He said, “There’s so much to the story, so many things I’ve overcome that I didn’t share.  I’m not finished yet with what I want to do. Next I want to get my college degree.”

Shawn didn’t start out his career with the credentials, tools and education that most of us have. He does have spirit, heart, courage and focus and a passionate willingness to learn. And he also asks a lot of questions and actively engages with mentors that support him.

Shawn believes that what he wants to achieve is doable. He rallied his teammates and they accomplished their goal because he had a vision it could be done.

The next time you are faced with a challenge that doesn’t seem like it can be solved according to your parameters and what you think is possible, I encourage you to think of Shawn and remind yourself that it is doable.

Then your job is to ask yourself, How is this doable?” – not ‘is this doable?’ Be prepared for creative solutions to emerge and forge ahead knowing that a good solution is possible.

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3 Tips to Manage Holiday Emotions

Bring more light into your world

No matter what tradition you observe during this time of year, you are likely to experience a roller-coaster effect on your emotions. Entertaining, buying the right gifts, office parties, and family get-togethers all trigger a range of emotions that are different in each of us.

I know I experience the roller coaster. My emotions can take me out if I am not paying attention. For example, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson. They were also here for my birthday, which was doubly delightful. Then they had to go home, so I experienced emptiness.

On the upswing, our son and daughter-in-law are coming for Christmas, for which I am grateful and excited.

However, I am anxious about entertaining during the holidays. I always want everything to be a little ‘better’ than I can make it, and a little prettier on the decorations, whatever ‘better’ and ‘prettier’ appear to be.

Am I really this neurotic?

Somehow I expect myself to show up at parties looking the best, being witty and charming and generally being the life of the party. When I start into that emotional spin, I realize my perfectionist nature is trying to take charge.

Sometimes my expectations during the holidays drive me crazy. Am I crazy or do you experience a similar swing in emotions?

So this morning I woke up thinking about emotional intelligence and how much I’ve learned about increasing my awareness and usage of the skills over the last few years. I know I can create my holiday experiences to be more joyful and peaceful based on my choices.

3 Emotional Intelligence Strategies You Can Use

Based on that thought, I want to offer you three tips you can use if you experience emotions that limit your joy, whether it be stress, anxiety, fear, overwhelm or sadness.

  1. OPTIMISM – For many people sadness during the holidays is very real. To increase your feelings of optimism, which helps you work through stressful situations, remain hopeful and stay resilient, there are three things that are helpful.

– First, remember the good holiday experiences you’ve had and focus on those

– Second, take time to think through what type of experience you want to have during the holidays. How do you want to show up? Are you sharing your gifts with others?

– Third, engage your senses. Add more light, diffuse an essential oil, or listen to your favorite music are three things that will lift your mood.

Life feels good when you are optimistic.

  1. REALITY-TESTING/seeing things as they really are – This is simply the ability to remain objective and not overreact or make bad decisions in certain situations. This definitely is more difficult during the holidays with all the events, parties and responsibilities that we expect ourselves to manage.

Do I really need that piece of cheesecake?

For me, I know I need to use more Reality-Testing skills when I am faced with a beautiful plate of cookies, candy and desserts. Can I really eat what I want and not gain weight? That’s a fantasy of mine, and I need to be more realistic about eating during the holidays.

Another way to be more realistic during the holidays is to make lists and check them twice. Post a big calendar with your commitments on it and post where you can easily see it. This will help you manage your time and decide what you can and can’t do.

  1. STRESS TOLERANCE – When you are able to manage your own stress, it is good for you and everyone around you. When you let your stress run your emotions, your reactions and your actions, everyone around you feels it too.

Increasing stress tolerance is a journey. Stress tolerance means you can effectively cope with stressful or difficult situations.

What triggers your stress?

A few years ago, we had an ice storm in our area, which prevented us from driving to my brother’s house for Christmas dinner. I cherish these occasions and really wanted our family to play with our new grandson. We decided the roads would be too icy to drive with a newborn. So I was disappointed and sad, but a good walk in the snow helped me balance my perspective and come back home cheerful and relaxed.

What can you do to increase your tolerance and patience during stressful situations? Deep breathing, getting fresh air, or a visit with a friend are a few ways to add simple joys to your holidays. The more you fill yourself with love and joyful experiences, the more you can be that for others and not let your stress drive your thoughts, actions and speech.

I wish you a joy-filled, peaceful season of light and love.

Note: Emotional Intelligence skills and definitions are from EQ-i 2.0™ of MHS Assessments. I am a certified practitioner of the MHS EQ-i 2.0.

© Kathy Garland 2015

 

 

 

 

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Your Sales Team Needs This

Sales force conceptWhen I first started my business, I was anxious about finding new clients. Passion and enthusiasm about what I wanted to offer combined with the jitters of a new business owner led me to make some mistakes.

As I look back on my early days in my business, I did a couple of things, that if I could have a “Do Over” button I would do differently.

First, I started a group program with just a few people. Had I had used more persistence and impulse control*, I would have looked for more people to join. Because I was anxious to get started, I started the course with just a few people.

Secondly, in my haste to start getting clients in the door, I took on some clients that didn’t want to do anything differently and it was very frustrating. I didn’t use my reality testing* skills to evaluate and assess whether they were good fit for what I offered. My emotions were driving me to get clients at all costs.

Your sales team can fall into some of the same traps and leave money on the table. If they are bringing in clients that aren’t a good fit for your company, it is at the expense of the right clients. Furthermore clients that aren’t a good fit can generate losses in productivity and profit.

Everyone in sales wants to make their quota and ideally exceed it. As a sales manager, part of creating a winning sales team is to ensure that they have balanced usage of emotional intelligence skills.

There are three skills that are extremely useful in negotiating contracts with new clients, reality testing, impulse control and assertiveness.

  1. Reality Testing * One the reasons people in sales cause stress in the organization is that they can be too willing to make promises to the client in order to get the deal, without checking with the people who deliver to make sure they are making realistic promises. This can cause major stress within the organization and damage the relationship with your client.

When I was in national account sales for a marketing firm, I had to learn to consult with the people who were doing the work by checking their schedule and commitments before I made final commitments to the client. And the good news is, we didn’t lose a single client because I took the extra time to find out facts and information that would help our team deliver the best product and service to our clients.

  1. Impulse Control* Salespeople love to win and that makes them so valuable to an organization. Occasionally though, the desire to win creates such a strong desire to win that they act too quickly, close the deal too soon and in the process, leave money on the table. A mature salesperson is in tune with the client’s needs and her own ego, which results in the patience to negotiate the best deal for both companies. Impulse control is simply the ability to resist or delay an impulse.

We don’t want to over use impulse control though. A savvy salesperson will know when what she is offering is a match for what the client wants and close the deal then.

  1. Assertiveness* There is a fine line you don’t want your sales team to cross. That is the line between being assertive and being aggressive. Sales managers often want their teams to be aggressive. What they really want is for them to be assertive.

An assertive* sales consultant will ask for the deal appropriately and in the right timing, knowing when to call, when to move the deal forward. Also, he will make things happen in a way that builds relationships.

An aggressive sales consultant can alienate potential customers. Aggressive characteristics are being pushy, focusing on getting the deal before building the relationship, telling the client what they need and not listening.

A woman who is overly aggressive owns a boutique where I’ve shopped a few times. She is alienating me as a customer because she doesn’t listen to what I need and is very pushy. I don’t happen to wear black yet this person consistently shows me black clothes. When I remind her of this she says, “I’m just trying to be helpful.” She is too aggressive and she is not doing much to build a relationship with me so that I want to come back.

Reality testing, impulse control and assertiveness are three (out of 15) important emotional intelligence skills needed to be successful in sales.

If you are a sales manager and desire improved team performance and stronger client relationships, I encourage you to contact me to learn how you can coach your team in developing their emotional intelligence skills. I am certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Survey and MHS EQ-i 2.0 360 Emotional Intelligence Survey, as well as the MHS EQ-i Emotional Intelligence Leadership Assessment.

To learn more about emotional intelligence for your sales team, schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

* Impulse control, reality testing and assertiveness are three out of fifteen skills in the MHS EQ-I 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment.

 

 

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3 Strategies to Strengthen the Leader in You

TeamIn the past week, I’ve been discussing with some colleagues the concept of leading from the inside out. In other words, the outward actions of a leader are internally motivated.

People that lead from within usually have a sense of purpose and have a vision for the company that influences their approach to work. Here are three strategies you can see in internally motivated leaders. You can cultivate these skills easily to expand your abilities as a leader.

Ask Great Questions – Leaders that lead from within have an internal sense of curiosity and desire to create the best outcomes. Their curiosity brings out creative solutions and insight that might otherwise stay hidden.

Use Influence instead of Authority – Leaders who are driven from within don’t rely heavily on their authority to get things done. They understand the art of influence and know how to use it wisely to get things done. In addition, a strong leader influences others when she or he understands what motivates team members and is able to translate that into communications that influences action.*

Learn something new each day – Leaders who lead from within know that part of the secret to success is to continually expand their world. Leaders who focus on growing themselves in the areas of their professional expertise and in their emotional intelligence are able to inspire and motivate their teams. They are also more creative and open to new ideas. Continual learning increases self-regard and well-being, which are essential emotional intelligence skills for leaders. **

* For information on improving influence skills for you and your team, contact me  for a complimentary assessment call. 
** Self-regard and well-being can be measured through the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey, for which I am certified to administer and coach.
© Kathy Garland, 2015.

For other insights on leading from within, read these posts by my colleagues:

Emerging Leadership:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/emerging-leadership-sharon-jenkins

The Responsibility of Leadership: http://robbbraun.com/blog/the-responsibility-of-leadership/

Qualities of Creative and Successful Leaders: http://cherivalentine.com/leadership/

Kathy Garland works with women leaders to improve results through strengthening their influence, emotional intelligence and relationship-building strategies. She is an executive coach, mentor and speaker and specializes in working with women with technical and analytical backgrounds. She is certified in the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey as well as 360 Management Skills Surveys.

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Succeeding by Changing the Game

Game ChangerWe just saw the movie, “The Imitation Game” that told the true story of Alan Turing, the prodigy mathematician who broke the Nazi Code during World War II. Turing was extraordinarily gifted in his intellect and so devoted to his studies that no focus was given to developing his social and interpersonal skills. As I watched the movie, it was difficult to imagine anyone more shut off from people and more into his work.

He led the team of mathematicians, however, his personal style and focus created a divided team that fought daily. They made no progress toward deciphering 159 million bits of code. The task felt impossible for Turing’s team.

Turing himself had a clear vision of a machine that could decipher the German Enigma code. His problem was that he didn’t share it or accept any support from his team.

Turing’s genius eventually made a profound difference in WWII and the Allied success. How did that happen? He changed the game.

A young woman mathematician on the team was able to influence Turing to start showing a little caring for the team. His first action was to bring each person on the team an apple. It was enough to repair some of the damage created by his isolationist and elitist attitude.

Little by little, his team started getting on board with his vision and his approach. Eventually, while they were having fun on a night out, a solution was found that broke the code.

By using just a little emotional intelligence, Turing was able to change the game and find solutions that, according to historians and post-war analysts ended the war two years sooner and saved approximately 14 million lives.

Pretty impressive don’t you think? What results could you create by improving your interpersonal skills? Where can you influence powerful changes through the power of your relationships? What vision do you have that could become a reality by tapping into the power of your team and your networks?

If you would like to affect change, be more influential and maybe become a game-changer, sign up for my free series, “Lead Like Dorothy, Power and Influence along the Yellow Brick Road” which contains tips to increase your influence and ability to build strong personal relationships.

Kathy Garland helps mid-level leaders drive results and get to the next level through increased influence, strong relationships and effective communication within teams and across the organization. She is certified to deliver emotional intelligence and 360 management skills assessments.
(c) 2015 Kathy Garland
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Communicating Your Value to Employers and Clients

One of my clients started new job in December. An important focus for her is to build relationships with her co-workers to maximize her influence and her ability to create change.

Her boss gave her a specific project in her first week on the job which will give her a good overview of the team and what needs to be done. While she is happy to be there, she wants to expand her contributions and value to the team. Her strength is seeing patterns and conclusions that other people don’t see. In particular, she draws conclusions from her analyses that provide insight which, when implemented, improve customer satisfaction.

So we developed an introduction she can use when meeting people. Most people are tempted to introduce themselves with what they do, not the value they provide. Just stating one’s role or job title is much easier of course. Here are some examples of generic introductions:

I’m in IT. I’m in sales.

I lead the sales team.

I head up the team that is migrating our systems to our new platform.

I’d like to encourage you to be specific about the value you bring to the organization and then include your title or role. For example:

“I analyze crazy amounts of data to identify patterns and trends that help us increase usage of mission critical data which supports our growth. I’m on the information architecture team.” ValueSeeing what others can’t see.

“I make sure people can have their data when and how they want it so it supports our business growth. I lead the analytics team.” ValueCustomer-focused approach so people can do what they do best

“I look for strategic opportunities for our company to grow and deliver our best solutions as well as those that encourage us to stretch our capabilities. I head up the national sales team.” ValueFind the right customers so we can do our best and win contracts that help us grow as a company.

“I build relationships with our suppliers who work with us to keep our plants stocked with the right materials and components so we have no down time. I am a senior buyer.” ValueNo down time. Understanding value of relationships to accomplish goals.

Why is it important to focus on your value to the organization? So you can build equity in your position. You become more distinct and less of one of the crowd. It also demonstrates influence, emotional intelligence and strategic thinking to be able to communicate in this way.

When you can clearly communicate your value in a way that benefits your company, that’s when you get noticed and attract more opportunities for the type of projects you really love.

For a complimentary consultation on crafting a statement you can use to communicate the value you bring to the organization, contact me.

(c) 2015 Kathy Garland.

Kathy Garland helps women leaders drive results through increased influence, strong relationships and effective communication within teams and across the organization. She is certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 and EQ360 assessments as well as the Ambio360 Management Skills Assessment.

 

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The Landscape of Change

View into Monet's Garden

For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at any moment. (Claude Monet)

 

 

Photo by Kathy Garland

This is the view looking out from Claude Monet’s painting studio. Every day, he woke up to the beauties of his garden. When I was in Giverny, France last year to visit Monet’s home and garden, I was overcome by the richness and depth of the landscape and the environment he created to support his creativity and his life passion. I took a lot of photos, some of which I’ve included below.

The quote above by Monet is one for reflection. His gardens, the lily pond and surrounding property changed on a daily basis. In Paris there is a building displaying murals of his famous “Water Lily” theme that represent different parts of the day from dawn till dusk. It’s fascinating to see the changes in light and how the different elements of his paintings change because of the light.

We too, change from moment to moment. We are not always as aware of the changes in ourselves as we are in our environment. We observe the change in the weather, the amount of traffic or how other people change.

As a leader, it’s important to stay tuned into not only the changes you are experiencing, but also those of the people that are on your team. We may frequently change opinions and approaches based on the changing environment around us. That can be difficult for the people that work with us if they aren’t as flexible as we are.

Flexibility is an important emotional intelligence skill to have especially during times of change and any time you work with people, which unless you hide out in a garden, fits just about everyone.

What I take from Monet’s quote above is that the landscape isn’t the thing. It is the outward expression of all the trees, flowers, lily pads, butterflies, water and bridges that make up the garden.

A team’s efforts are expressed in how they get along, what results are generated and the quality of the relationships they build across the organization. Flexibility gives you the ability to create “the landscape” as you go, rather than looking back at what should have or could have been.

Flexible people have open minds, adapt and correct their mistakes, and can shift their priorities according to the needs of the organization. You can build your flexibility through simple things like ordering something different at a favorite restaurant, changing up your routine, driving a different way to work.

We all make up a landscape of success and being able to change when it is needed is an important part of success.

Here are a few more of my favorite photos from Monet’s garden:

Photo by Kathy Garland   Photo by Kathy GarlandPhoto by Kathy GarlandPhoto by Kathy Garland

 

 

 

 

(c) 2014 Kathy Garland.

Kathy Garland helps women leaders drive results through increased influence, strong relationships and effective communication within teams and across the organization. She is certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 and EQ360. For a complementary consultation on how your team can flex with the landscape of change and increase influence across the organization, please contact me at www.kathygarland.com/contact-us.

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