I took the Standout Strengths Test Today

I took the Standout Strengths Test today (http://standout.tmbc.com/gui/somMain).  I was introduced to it by Janine Gilmour at our recent Workplace Fairness Luncheon.  My top two strengths, according to the test, are Creator and Connector.  So the greatest value I bring to the team is my “gift for knowing the special formula to release unexpected synergies between people, teams and ideas.” I begin by asking “What do I understand?” and I am not good at snap decision.  Yes. I can agree with that.  And yes, it is true that though I often present like this outgoing extrovert, in fact I need time on my own to think and re-energize.  The strengths test confirmed that.

Paper Bark - Carole Grogloth, Molokai Hawaii

We learned from Janine that these strengths are hard-wired.  The big question is, how do you leverage your own strengths?  Janine was very frank about her own experience leveraging her strengths and how she got there.  She shared examples of the mistakes she has made learning the hard way and the challenges she has faced, and that won the group over.  It takes courage and conviction to meet your challenges head on and to master them.  It takes even more courage often to talk about those mistakes in a public forum.

In her presentation, Janine revealed the holy half-dozen intrinsic motivations: mastery, autonomy, feedback, self-determination, affiliation and recognition.  I recognize these and I call them the heavy hitters because when people are in conflict, it is often one of these that is missing (along with, inevitably, trust).

Daniel Pink talks about these too in his book Drive.  Now this is a book worth exploring if you haven’t already.  Pink reminds us that after we are earning enough to make a living, we won’t be motivated by more money, we need autonomy, mastery and purpose.   (Check out this animated video of his description here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc).

So how do you leverage your strengths?  You need to set great goals.  OK. Here is one I get caught up in because I am always evaluating feasibility and do-ability.  Maybe that isn’t necessary.  My friend Nancy’s great goal is “World peace one conversation at a time.”  I need to work on mine… Stay tuned.

You need to foster motivation (see above).

You need to overcome obstacles.  I was a sales rep once upon a time, and a significant part of sales training is overcoming obstacles.  I learned that to overcome, you actually need to acknowledge and listen.

You need to adopt a master mindset.  This is all about the positive possibilities in the future.  My standout strengths test indicates that I think in terms or possibilities – “ Wouldn’t it be great if?”  So that is a good start.

What do you need to work on?  I am going to think about my great goal and get back to you on that one and I would love to hear yours!  Comment below.

If you would like to learn more about the Standout 9 Strength Test, contact Janine Gilmour. www.touchstoneadvisoryservices.com.

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An Emotionally Intelligent Workplace is…

An emotionally intelligent workplace is one which does not rely solely on technical expertise for making hiring and promotion decisions. An emotionally intelligent workplace supports staff from behind the scenes, allowing those who do the work to take the credit and creating an environment that helps talent shine.

These are just a few of the things I learned from David Cory on September 28 when he spoke to us at our most recent Workplace Fairness luncheon. In short, our emotional intelligence governs many decisions we make, usually quite unwittingly. Consider the impact on decisions of our first impressions – the handshake, dress, even tone of voice. We go to school to learn technical skills, but often fail to consider the role our emotions play in our day-to-day decisions.

Nov08 {274/366} Expansor de brisa de felicidade!

When I invite individuals to introduce themselves in my conflict resolution classes, I often ask them for their single word for conflict. Out of 20 words, typically 4 or 5 are emotion words: fear, anger, anxiety. The definition of Emotional Intelligence (from Mayer and Salovey, 1990) is “The ability of the brain to process emotions and emotional information.” Emotional intelligence is requisite for conflict resolution, and as David pointed out, for hiring decisions.

We leave the acquisition of these skills to chance. Children left alone learn all about bullying and cliquing. Adults revert to this behaviour in less emotionally intelligent workplaces.

What drives discretionary effort? One’s relationship with the boss. It is a myth that good leaders need technical competence; it is more important to build an atmosphere in the workplace which is motivational and inspirational, supporting technically-expert staff to do their best work from behind the scenes.

So how do you measure EI? And if you can measure it, how do you go about improving it? David pointed us to one available tool.

Developed by Dr. Reuven Bar-On, the EQI 2 (http://www.eitrainingcompany.com/about-eitc/eq-assessment/) identifies skills in five areas:

  • Stress management
  • Self perception
  • Self expression
  • Decision making
  • Interpersonal skills

Following an assessment, individual coaching sessions can be geared towards addressing weaker areas. One-on-one work with a performance coach helps individuals gain specific strategies and confidence to improve their emotional fitness quotient.

The keys to improving your emotional intelligence quotient are captured with the acronym SOSSA:

S – Self.  Understand yourself. Do not hesitate to be honest with yourself about your areas of weakness.

O – Others. Understand others and help others. Social responsibility will elevate your emotional fitness.

S – Situations. Pay attention to situations and how they affect reactions and behaviours.

S – Stress. Pay attention to stress and its impacts.

A – Attitude. Learn optimism.

Thank you David Cory (http://www.eitrainingcompany.com/) for a very interesting session. I will be carefully considering and evaluating my own emotional intelligence. My personal goal is to pay more attention to situations and how they affect reactions and behaviours, optimistically of course.