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Posts Tagged ‘work environment’

How To Engage Your Emotional Intelligence To Adapt To Different Work Environments

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Editor’s Note: This article is written by Justine McGrath, ProACTive Coaching’s owner and EBW System assessment and training facilitator. “How To Engage Your Emotional Intelligence To Adapt To Different Work Environments” is originally published in the 23rd PERFORMANCE Magazine – Printed Edition

In 2020 the world of work changed forever. Companies with adaptable managers and leaders survived and, in some cases, thrived. Those who didn’t suffered.

In a survey done by the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway in 2022, a staggering 95% of respondents said working remotely makes life easier. Thirty percent of respondents said they would change job – even if it meant taking a pay cut — if their employers did not take into account their remote working preferences.

It was not all plain sailing for those working from home. It only took a few weeks before we saw the toll it was taking on some, as the lines blurred between work and home. For working parents, having to balance your job with trying to homeschool was extremely challenging.

There are emotional challenges for employees with all three types of working.  According to a Microsoft Report in 2021, 54% of remote workers feel overworked and 39% feel exhausted. Zoom Fatigue is also a factor with many meetings running consecutively. 

For those who have returned to the office full time, the daily commute is a reminder of a way of life they would rather avoid every day. Employees have to grapple with higher levels of stress, and this affects their ability to regulate their emotions.  

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand how our emotions and behaviours impact firstly on ourselves and then on others. In order to adapt to these new ways of working, employees need to be aware of how to best manage their emotions to ensure they can continue to perform at their best. 

How Leaders Build Trust and Accountability

Employers need two traits if they want their team to adapt to new ways of working: trust and accountability. This is especially important if you have certain people in the team working from home and some in the office. Employees need to feel they are part of the team and have a shared sense of responsibility. This gives them a sense of autonomy, which builds trust. 

Psychological safety is paramount. Give people an opportunity to air their views, grievances, and fears. Managers may see this as a threat to their role or as being too soft, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.

You need to be aware of what will enable peak performance from your employees. If you want to ensure success in the workplace, building trust and accountability is essential. 

To build trust and accountability, develop your self-awareness. How? Understand your style of leadership and whether or not it is effective. Get regular feedback from a trusted source. 

Self-regulation is how you manage yourself in the workplace. It is vital to understand your own emotions and behaviors so that you can adapt and improve where necessary. Do you have any blind spots in this area? How do people respond to you? This is the intrapersonal aspect of EI – managing the self. 

When it comes to managing others – the interpersonal aspect of EI – social awareness is key. Who are the best communicators in your team? Is there someone who is struggling and could use a little empathy right now? Put yourself in their situation and see it from their point of view. Using EI to deal with your own emotions and behaviors and to understand those of others will propel you from a good leader to an excellent one.

Emotional Intelligence for Employees 

In the same way that the manager or leader has to be fully aware of how their emotions and behaviors impact both themselves and others, the same holds true for any employee.

This is particularly important if they are feeling apprehensive about the options available in the workplace. They need to feel safe to voice their concerns. 

The most important aspect of developing self-awareness is understanding what it is about your job that motivates you. If going back to the office de-motivates you, why is that? Could you express those issues/concerns to your manager? If you are going to move to a hybrid work model, have you prepared yourself mentally for that change? What are the advantages and disadvantages, and how do they affect you?

Image Source: ebw.online.com | Business Emotional Intelligence

EBW model of Business Emotional Intelligence is about the ability to use your intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence to focus on the critical emotions and underlying behavioural traits that predict occupational performance. 

Be Proactive

Any good manager will appreciate an employee who takes the initiative on issues that arise. Try to find a potential solution before you talk to management. It’s about building trust, communicating openly, and not being afraid to stand up for what you need.

Get yourself into the right mindset. If there are obstacles in your way or you feel unsupported, how could you change that?

Being aware of both the intrapersonal traits and the interpersonal traits of EI will enhance your career prospects.  Use self-awareness to take your own personal audit of how the new way of working is going to affect you. Use social awareness to see if it will impact how you relate to both your manager and your colleagues to ensure clear communication going forward.

To conclude, both employers and employees need to take stock at this time of change. If we can develop our EI to communicate clearly, build trust and accountability, and nurture both the self and each other, the future looks bright.


About the author

       

Justine McGrath is an executive coach and trainer who specializes in Emotional Intelligence. She is the owner of ProACTive Coaching and is a facilitator of the EBW System of assessments and training.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY (LSP): Solving Business Challenges Through the Power of Play

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Image Source: Canva

Our brain is one of the most miraculous forces in the universe, and learning how to master it is one of the keys to our success. A unique way to unleash this force is by playing. 

The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) method could help businesses and people solve critical challenges and create strategies. The LSP is a facilitated thinking, communication and problem-solving technique that can be used by organizations, teams, and individuals. It draws on extensive research from the fields of business, organizational development, psychology, and learning. It is based on the concept of “hand knowledge.”

The history begins in 1995, when Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grand child of the founder of LEGO®  started to lead the company. While the company was successful, a new strategy was needed. At the same time, Johan Roos and Bart Victor, two professors from the IMD business school in Lausanne, were looking into different ways of creating strategies. Kristiansen connected with the two professors, and over the next couple of years, they implemented their strategy concept using LEGO bricks instead of usual methods, like if words, Post-it Notes, and whiteboards. The business school professors experimented with and became more adept at building with LEGO® bricks. However, something still did not click. The bricks alone did not result in new thinking and more imagination. Paradoxically, what was missing was what LEGO® as an organization knows at its core: how humans learn and develop. To address this, Robert Rasmussen became involved in 1999. From that point on, they worked and developed the method. 

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is based on a set of fundamental beliefs about leadership and organizations:

  • Leaders don’t have all the answers.
  • Their success is dependent on hearing all voices in the room.
  • People naturally want to contribute, be part of something bigger, and take ownership
  • All too often, teams work sub-optimally, leaving knowledge untapped in team members.
  • We live in a world that can be described as complex and adaptive, and allowing each member to contribute and speak results in a more sustainable business.

Creating the Mission and Vision Through LSP

Company or departmental vision or mission statements are often long. They have been formulated by several people who all wanted to include something. They are not always memorable, and many employees can’t recite them, and many don’t even understand what they mean, let alone support them. In 2017, Derek Good, LEGO Serious Play facilitator, had a workshop and helped a team create a short, succinct, and memorable vision or mission statement from the existing one. The team was formed from a group of leaders in a university’s brand and marketing department.

After two warm up exercises, the group was asked to create two models:

  1. Representing their ideal working environment and 
  2. Representing what they could do to demonstrate living the current mission.
This got them thinking about the future and their current belief in the existing direction.

Next, each person was asked to build a model that represented an aspect of trust. Each person was then asked to place a red brick on the most important element of their individual model. 

Then, in pairs, they formed a shared model and were asked to eliminate any excess bricks while still holding the same meaning of the newly combined model. They did several rounds of this, and they were consistently told that they may still have too many bricks, and so long as they kept the essence of the meaning, they were to remove any excess bricks they could. The pairs were able to reduce the models significantly.

They were then paired in three groups, and the facilitator shared the vision and mission statement on a screen and asked the participants to use the same procedure: What words can be reduced from the statement but keep the essence of the meaning? After three rounds of discussion, they managed to have a new vision and mission statement: a seven-word mission statement. The initial one had 29 words. 

This was done in less than 30 minutes, something that in the past took them more hours, but not with the expected result. The people involved were extremely enthusiastic about the process. It is amazing how our minds can send us the right solution to our challenge by playing. 

The LSP method is not based on any new or groundbreaking science. Instead, it is grounded in action research and evidence drawn from a range of existing science disciplines and proven research within these fields. The dominant disciplines are Constructivism, Neuroscience, Flow, Play, and Imagination. Also, if you want to learn more about how to create your own strategy for your company of your activity, you can check our Certified Strategy and Business Planning Professional, which can help you better understand how strategy works.

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