Daniel Goleman: A Relaxed Mind is a Productive Mind

Last week’s Harvard Business Review article, Help Your Overwhelmed, Stressed-Out Team, offered some useful, practical approaches to help a leader keep her team calm and focused.

But one key element was missing from the mix: the leader’s mindset. If a leader is filled with stress, conflict, anxiety, and negative emotions, it spreads like a virus. A steady dose of toxic energy from higher-ups will encourage valuable team members to update their résumés rather than their to-do lists.

Our Brain on Stress

When we’re under stress, the brain secretes hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that in the best scenario mobilize us to handle a short-term emergency, but in the worst scenario create an ongoing hazard for performance.»

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Daniel Goleman: China: Emotional Intelligence Isn't Enough

What leadership skills make a country’s economy vibrant? There’s no doubt that high emotional intelligence among executives boost a company’s success.

So when I read in Inc. that China has a “secret weapon” – strengths among business leaders in self-management and in interpersonal skills – I thought, those abilities are necessary, for sure. But in the world’s competitive economy, they are not sufficient.

Before I get into China’s missing ingredient among executives, let’s look at the impact of East Asian culture on business.

Self-Management: A Strength and a Weakness?

Since Confucian times Chinese culture has put high value on self-control and group harmony.»

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Daniel Goleman: Creativity and Innovation: What's the Difference?

The terms “creativity” and “innovation” are often used interchangeably. But how similar – or different – are they? I spoke with my colleague, Teresa Amabile, an expert on workplace innovation, for my Leadership: A Master Class video series. Here’s her take on the connection between these commonly used terms – and what it means for business.

It all starts with creativity

According to Teresa, creativity is essentially responsible for all of human progress. That’s a phenomenal force. Perhaps that’s why some people tend to think that it’s very mysterious. But they shouldn’t.

The research over the past 50 or 60 years illuminates how creativity happens.»

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Daniel Goleman: 3 Secrets to Habit Change

With the new year comes an opportunity to reboot our habits – drop the negative ones and start better ones.

It doesn’t matter if the habit in question is for your health – say eating better – or getting on more effectively with folks on the job – say, listening better. The basic steps are the same.

The first fact to face is that our habits are largely invisible to us. That is, though we may know we need to eat or listen better, our repertoire of habit resides in a part of the brain that is ordinarily off-limits to our awareness.»

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Daniel Goleman: The Secret Antidote to Apathy

My recent post about apathy in the workplace struck a nerve. So let’s look more closely at the leader’s role in motivating a team or organization.

Self-awareness drives self-management. If you’re tuned out, you can’t manage your internal world well. Self-awareness also drives empathy. If you don’t attune to yourself, you won’t be able to attune well to others.

These competencies allow a leader to create resonance and move people with a compelling, authentic vision. A shared common purpose makes work exciting and engaging.

The Power of We

I spoke with Dr. Dan Siegel for my Leadership: A Master Class series about the importance of community in organizations.»

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Daniel Goleman: Big Idea 2015: More Companies Can Do Good While Doing Well

In this series of posts, Influencers and members predict the ideas and trends that will shape 2015. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #BigIdeas2015 in the body of your post).

The Dalai Lama recently spoke with a group of CEOs about “positive capitalism.” This concept illustrates companies who move forward but also make it possible for others to move forward.

“The global economy is like a roof over all of us,” said the Dalai Lama. “But it depends on individual pillars for support. Business needs a sense of responsibility to work together more cooperatively.»

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Daniel Goleman: The Number One Demotivator at Work

Apathy in organizations is often a result of a disconnection between what matters to the person and what they’re asked to do. Yet apathy isn’t always easy to gauge at work. A team member’s performance may not be up to snuff for any number of reasons: personal stress, burnout, office strife, etc.

Sometimes the best way to gauge if someone isn’t engaged is to simply ask: Do you enjoy what you’re doing?

Moods Matter at Work

There’s still a dated mentality around work: it’s not supposed to be “fun.” We have a job to do. But after speaking with Dr.»

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Daniel Goleman: Research: The Key Ingredient to Genuine Happiness

We would all like to be happier in our personal and professional lives, even those of us who already love what we do, or are content with personal accomplishments. As the year comes to a close, we often become more introspective: what do we want to do more/less of next year? What worked, and what didn’t?

Richard Davidson of The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is a research pioneer on the benefits of meditation. One positive outcome of meditation that’s piqued his interest is happiness.

Mirabai Bush spoke with Richard for the series Working with Mindfulness: Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations.»

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Daniel Goleman: The First Step to Success? Admit Failure

When former Medtronic CEO, Bill George, interviewed leadership candidates, he was interested in learning about both their failures and successes. After all, everyone has made mistakes on the job. But in George’s mind, the best leaders are humble enough to recognize that they messed up, learn what not to do in the future, and develop resilience.

I spoke with Bill in my Leadership: A Master Class series about authentic leadership. Below is a portion of our conversation about the benefits of getting leaders to discuss and grow from their failures.

Daniel Goleman: There’s a kind of norm that you’re valued for telling a story of success about yourself, and yet you value someone who was candid about their failures.»

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Daniel Goleman: Do you perform better in high-pressure meetings?

People are often pressured in meetings to come up with incredible solutions on the spot. Some high-performing teams thrive in that environment. It’s also a good approach to stimulate new thinking.

However, a constant dose of pressure-cooker meetings can stifle creative, thoughtful employees from contributing valuable insights. Perhaps they’re reacting to the tension in the room, or are fearful their idea will get publicly – and aggressively – shot down too soon. Some of you might say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” That attitude may apply to some, but why set up a potential star performer to fail?»

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