Effective Leaders Know the Science Behind Their Behavior

Lynn had dreaded this meeting with her team. Frowning, she looked around the conference table and said, “I’ve got bad news. Upper management told me this team’s performance is unacceptable. We have to pull up our numbers by the end of this quarter, or heads will roll. I’ve decided to make major changes. First, all vacations for the rest of the quarter are cancelled. I expect each of you to be here focused on work. Second, you will meet your weekly goals, no matter how many hours it takes.”

Don’t Make Bad Situations Worse

Whatever you think of the content of Lynn’s message to her team, it’s clear that how she delivered it made a bad situation worse.»

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Women Leaders Get Results: The Data

The most effective leaders, we’ve long known, have more competence in emotional intelligence. It’s not your college degrees or IQ that make you an outstanding leader, but emotional intelligence abilities. Leaders who get the best results tend to show more strengths in key competencies in emotional intelligence.

Now the news comes that women, on average, are better at almost all these crucial leadership skills than are men on average. The two competencies where men and women had the least difference were emotional self-control and positive outlook. The largest difference was for self-awareness.

The other areas where women on average scored better than men:

  • coaching and mentoring
  • influence and inspiring others
  • conflict management and teamwork
  • empathy and organizational awareness
  • adaptability
  • focus on achieving goals.

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How to Coach a Dictatorial Leader

Behind his back, Allen’s staff called him “Mr. My-Way-or-the-Highway.” Full of demands, Allen ruled his department with an iron fist, making every decision big and small with little input from others. Allen’s staff had ideas for improving their workflow, but didn’t dare make suggestions. During a company-wide party, several of Allen’s direct reports cornered the head of HR, complaining about Allen’s heavy-handed leadership.

Dictator-like Leaders Don’t Always Get Results

Allen has much in common with leaders I discussed with my friend and colleagueDaniel Siegel during our Brainpower webinar series. Dr. Siegel described Michael Rutter’s classic studies of school leadership’s impact on performance.»

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Don’t Let a Bully Boss Affect Your Mental Health

How can I use emotional intelligence or Mindsight to manage a bully boss?

That’s what a Brainpower webinar participant asked me and my friend and colleague Dan Siegel during a recent webcast. I’d like to expand on the brief response I gave during the webinar.

First, let’s be clear about definitions. The Workplace Bullying Institute uses this description in their work:

“Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done, or verbal abuse.”

Obviously, someone who fits this definition can occupy any position in an organization.»

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Glad, Mad, Sad? Teams Catch a Leader’s Mood

‘When my mind is full of anger, other people catch it like the flu.’

If you’re like me, you’ve been on both sides of this experience shared by an organizational leader I know. I have been the angry person who infects the moods of those around him. And, I’ve been the one whose feelings plummet in the presence of Sad Sally or Pissed-off Pete.

What we’ve experienced is called emotional contagion. It happens whenever people interact, regardless of whether we’re with one person, in a group, or in an organization. Our brains and bodies react to the feelings of the people around us because we all have a social brain

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Specs for Microsoft’s Next CEO

There are three kinds of focus every leader needs:

1) an inner focus for self-awareness and self-management;

2) a focus on others for empathy, clear communication and interpersonal effectiveness;

3) and a systems focus, reading the outer world in order to come up with an effective strategy.

At Microsoft a failure in a wider focus seems to have had negative consequences: the company missed chances to lead every major tech development of the last several years, from search and the cloud to social and mobile computing. During those years the stock lost more than half its value.»

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What I Learned While Writing Focus

I have been tracking the field of attention for about 30 years. My dissertation as a graduate student was actually on meditation, and meditation as a way of managing stress reactivity.

A lot of us who were interested in it were trying to shoehorn it in, but the faculty wasn’t interested. They thought it was a crazy topic, and that there was no point in pursuing it.

What I’ve seen now from Richard Davidson’s research, who I talked to extensively for the book, are really gold-standard studies: brain imaging of highly advanced meditators that shows something we all maybe suspected way back when.»

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How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? Here’s How To Tell

By Carolyn Gregoire

What makes some people more successful in work and life than others? IQ and work ethic are important, but they don’t tell the whole story. Our emotional intelligence — the way we manage emotions, both our own and those of others — can play a critical role in determining our happiness and success.

Plato said that all learning has some emotional basis, and he may be right. The way we interact with and regulate our emotions has repercussions in nearly every aspect of our lives. To put it in colloquial terms, emotional intelligence (EQ) is like “street smarts,” as opposed to “book smarts,” and it’s what accounts for a great deal of one’s ability to navigate life effectively.»

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Systems Blindness: The Illusion of Understanding

Here was the dilemma and opportunity for a major national retailer: its magazine buyers were reporting that close to 65 percent of all the magazines printed in the United States were never sold. This represented an annual cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to the system, but no one party in the system could change it alone.

For years no one could solve this problem; everyone just shrugged. But for the magazine industry, squeezed by the digital media and falling sales, the matter was urgent. So the retail chain — among the biggest customers for magazines in the country — got together with a group of publishers and magazine distributors to see what they could do.»

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