Friday, August 27, 2010

Where Emotions Come From--Excerpt from "Police Chief Magazine"

This excerpt beautifully describes both the promise and challenge of EI programs.

How Can We Train EI?
Emotional competencies can change, but only through positive development by experiential learning, habitual self-reflection, and long-term meditative work. Intellectual exercises or reading assignments by themselves are unlikely to work, because emotional responses do not emerge from the part of the brain where higher-level mental functions occur, like reasoning and language. Instead, they come from the interior limbic system in the brain, where emotions like anger and fear emerge.

Goleman calls this the “primal brain,” and according to him we often unknowingly act according to these primal emotions. This process is called negative habituation, and is why, without positive, habitual self-awareness training, changing EI competencies is difficult.

You can read the entire article here.

For example, a stress management class can have some impact but may not suffice in the long term. These workshops typically target learning skills at the cognitive, exterior level. Skills at that level are highly perishable. They do not become a positive habit.

The trick to learning EI skills is to become competent and aware of emotional responses as they happen. Unfortunately, our own responses, often invisible to us, emerge from the primal brain. Students will not just learn these skills or pick them up on their own; they need to learn how to practice emotional self-awareness.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Excellent Article by Tony Schwartz

This reserach has many implications for trainers and those who hire us.

Here's an excerpt. You can read the entire article here.

Here, then, are six keys to achieving excellence:
1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.

2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That's when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.

3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. You may even have to start with 45 or 60 minutes. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.

4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.

5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It's also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.

6. Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you'll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them - build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Open Enrollment class--Chicago

Do you give presentations? Isn’t it time to upgrade your skills?

Fearless, Dynamic Speaking-–creating powerful presentations.

Monday, September 27, 8:30-4:30, Embassy Suites Chicago-Rosemont, 5500 North River Road. $249 includes snacks and materials.

Register by September 10 for a $50 discount.

(I just presented this program at ALDI foods—we had a great time!)

Are you using your voice effectively?

Participants will be:

  • Changing nervousness into an energized presentation.
  • Organizing ideas.
  • Creating a powerful, charismatic presence
  • Developing a voice with authority.
  • Discovering how to use PowerPoint to engage audiences.
  • Using storytelling and narrative to make your presentations come alive.
  • Eliminating vocal fillers.
  • Learning to deliver content without memorizing.

Call 630-531-0000 to reserve your spot.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Importance of Cohesive Teams –a fable adapted from Aesop

A father had sons who constantly quarreled. This caused him great distress. He ordered them to bring him a bundle of sticks, and said to his eldest son: "Break this."
The son strained and strained, but with all his efforts was unable to break the bundle. The other sons also tried, but none succeeded.
"Untie the bundle," said the father, "and each of you take a stick." When they had done so, he told them: "Now, break," and each stick was easily broken.
“Your constant fighting makes you weak and vulnerable to your opponents,” he said, "be united and gain strength.”
© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Passive Aggressive Thought Patterns

Do you recognize any of these thoughts? These unproductive assumptions help create a negative cycle of poor communication, upsetting emotions, and erratic behaviors. Changing our thoughts can change our emotions and the disruptive actions they produce.

Here are some common thoughts that create passive-aggressive behavior traps.

* I must avoid an argument or conflict at all costs.
* I never "win'' in confrontation.
* There is no use opposing them, they are much more powerful.
* I must please people by telling them what they want to hear.
* It's bad to get angry.
* No one wants to know how I feel.
* My feelings are weird; I need to hide them--no one will understand.
* I'd rather back down right away to minimize the damage of a confrontation.
* It's more important for people to like me than hear the truth.
* It is better to deny my feelings than upset someone.
* If I lie, others will never know the truth.
© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Proven Method for an Effective Debrief

Want to help your team understand a workshop—or any important event at work? Use the ORID method for leading discussions:

Have participants:
Describe what they Observed during the event.
Relate to it--remembering how they felt or what memories it aroused.
Interpret the meaning of the event.
Decide what action to take or what they have learned that will alter their future actions.
© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Monday, August 16, 2010

Metaphor for managing thoughts--Passengers on the Bus

Your thoughts are like commuters on a bus. You are the driver of the bus. The passengers may make critical, abusive, intrusive, distracting, and shouting directions as you drive. You can ignore these comments. You can allow these passengers to shout noisily while keeping your attention focused on the road ahead. You can focus on keeping the bus heading towards your goal or value. ©lewis-barr (Adapted from Hayes et al 1999 and Carol Vivyan 2009)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Are you a worrier?

Emotional Intelligence explores how thoughts create feelings. Here’s a deceptively simple tool. When I’m caught in a worry cycle, I can use this flowchart as a good reminder. I can examine my situation and take action. One action is changing my thoughts --which will change my feelings.

© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Quote that Reminds--There are no Quick Fixes

Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

EI = Likeablility

I'm always struck, as a consultant, to see how people follow those they "like." To be likeable is to be able to influence others, manage, and lead them. Emotional Intelligence competencies make us likeable. Even if we are angry or needing to discipline a team member, EI skills create an atmosphere of trust and respect for all parties. People with strong EI are admired, not feared. They inspire and engage others.