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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Mindfulness: an antidote for workplace ADD

Some consultants tell me that the number one problem in the workplace today is attention. People are distracted. They’re in a state of what’s called “continuous partial attention” where even at meetings, your body is there but your mind is somewhere else. You have countless gadgets constantly sending you information: texts, phone calls, emails, and reminders. All buzzing and dinging for your attention.

People not being fully present is a big problem because the most effective interactions occur when two people are mutually present to each other. That’s when rapport happens. That’s when chemistry happens. That’s when you’re going to have the most powerful communication and mutual understanding.»

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Putting Brain Science to Work in Your Company

Every manager faces the same challenge–how do you get the most from the people on your team? In his latest book, “The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights,” author and psychologist Daniel Goleman says the key is to keep your employees in the “flow.”

People operate in three neurological states, says Goleman. The first, disengagement, occurs when employees are in a low-motivation state where they are distracted and inattentive to the task at hand. “Disengagement is rife in the manufacturing sector because so many people are not inspired, motivated or engaged in the work they do. They just do good enough to keep the job,” he says.»

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Want Creative Workers? Loosen the Reins, Boss

Philip Glass, the contemporary composer, works on his new compositions only between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. That’s the time, he says, when his creative ideas come to him. When filmmaker George Lucas needs to write or edit a script, he sequesters himself in a small cottage behind his house where he gets no calls or visitors.

A lesson in managing creativity can be found in the work discipline of such inventive geniuses: A protected bubble in time and space fosters the imaginative spirit.

That notion challenges some prevailing wisdom–particularly the assumption that upping the pressure on workers will squeeze more innovative thinking out of them.»

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Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent Than Men?

Yes, and Yes and No.

Emotional intelligence has four parts: self-awareness, managing our emotions, empathy, and social skill. There are many tests of emotional intelligence, and most seem to show that women tend to have an edge over men when it comes to these basic skills for a happy and successful life. That edge may matter more than ever in the workplace, as more companies are starting to recognize the advantages of high EI when it comes to positions like sales, teams, and leadership.

On the other hand, it’s not that simple. For instance, some measures suggest women are on average better than men at some forms of empathy, and men do better than women when it comes to managing distressing emotions.»

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Performance Reviews: It’s Not Only What You Say, But How You Say It

Performance reviews are the HR ritual that everyone dreads.

And now brain science shows that positive or negative, the way in which that review gets delivered can be a boon or a curse.

If a boss gives even a good review in the wrong way, that message can be a low-grade curse, creating a neural downer.

So I learned while reviewing recent scientific findings for an upcoming webinar that has got me rethinking the concept of emotional intelligence.

The neuroscientist Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin has found that when we’re in an upbeat, optimistic, I-can-handle-anything frame of mind, energized and enthusiastic about our goals, our brains turn up the activity in an area on the left side, just behind the forehead.»

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