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Emotional Intelligence For An Enviable Workplace Culture

Written by: on  September 20, 2011


Consulting psychologist and author of the international best selling book, Emotional Capitalists – The New Leaders, Dr Martyn Newman is a world class authority on the subject of emotional intelligence (EI) and is at the forefront pioneering the scientific evidence demonstrating the role EI plays in successful leadership. (We previously reviewed his book here on our blog)

His research has outlined that EI is so instrumental to our success in life, that he calls this our ‘Emotional Capital’.  Greater happiness is not about looking at life through rose-coloured glasses or ignoring disappointments.  It is about investing in our greatest asset – our emotional capital.  This means learning how to put things in perspective and recognising that external conditions determine well-being much less that we think.

We’re often asked ‘but what is emotional intelligence?’. Following more than a decade of empirical research, Dr Newman has identified ten EQ competencies characteristic of successful leaders. These have been distilled from research including factors from Bar-On and Goleman models:

Dr Martyn Newman’s ten identified competencies for emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-Knowing
  2. Self-Confidence
  3. Self-Reliance
  4. Straightforwardness
  5. Self-Actualization (work/life balance)
  6. Relationship Skills
  7. Empathy
  8. Adaptability
  9. Self-Control
  10. Optimism

How do you measure against these? Just even defining the key areas can be a useful starting point for our self development (You could always test yourself with Dr Newman’s ground-breaking ECR tool…)

So what can we do to make a difference with our teams and workplaces? Here is an adaptation of an article recently written by Dr Martyn Newman on the seven emotionally intelligent actions you can take to help create an enviable workplace:

1. Relationships – Get Connected
Studies at Mellon University showed that a diverse social network made people less susceptible to the common cold compared to less sociable people who, it appears, are twice as likely to get colds.

2. Compassion – Try a Little Kindness
By listening carefully, and learning to recognise the emotions that direct the behaviour of people, you will learn a lot about different levels of engagement, expression and getting the most out of your working and personal relationships .

3. Go with the Flow
‘Flow’ –  being completely engaged and temporarily forgetting about your worries. Minimise your need to be admired by others and instead cultivate a genuine self-awareness that is open to receiving feedback

4. Cultivate Optimism – Look on the Bright Side
Choosing to look on the brighter side of life and sensing opportunities even in the face of adversity is imperative to a sense of positivity and well being.  Treating yourself kindly, or simply trusting that you can eventually achieve your goals are all optimism strategies.

5. Smile and the World Smiles With You
Aristotle viewed laughter as “a bodily exercise precious to health” and recent research has documented that humour is not only psychologically beneficial, but that it can have significant effects of overall wellness, including lowering our risk of disease. Rather than fight against life, look for the things you are grateful for.

6. All Work and No Play…
Psychologists have known for a long time that spontaneous, imaginative play is vital for normal social, emotional and cognitive development – it makes us more balanced, smarter and decreases stress.  Personalise your surroundings and leave your work space and get involved with other people regularly throughout the day.

7. Fit Body, Fit Mind
Physical activity and exercise provides a feeling of success and control, it has a positive effect on your brain and lastly not only does it make us smarter, but also works as an antidepressant by stimulating hormones related to positive emotions.  Make time to be active, no matter what you feel is stopping you.


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