In this podcast for Management Consulting News, Mike McLaughlin talks with Daniel Goleman about his recent research on the ways brain science suggests we use our minds to be creative when we need to be, build rapport more easily, and stay focused and productive for longer periods of time. Goleman’s new findings are included in his latest eBook, The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. He shares some of those insights in this podcast. Listen to it here: http://podcast.mwmclaughlin.com/podcasts/daniel-goleman/.»
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.»
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.»
By Monty McKeever for Tricycle, May 18, 2011. Read the full interview.
Tricycle: How does understanding the brain help us manage stress?
Daniel Goleman: There are several ways that understanding some brain mechanics and having basic neural tools at hand can help us manage stress. First of all, we have to realize that there’s no escaping stress completely; this is the nature of life. Some of what’s called samsara is what other people call “stress”. When we’re stressed the part of the brain that takes over, the part that reacts the most, is the circuitry that was originally designed to manage threats—especially circuits that center on the amygdala, which is in the emotional centers of the brain.»
Skippy was the biggest bully in my grammar school. From a troubled home, Skippy was very unhappy, prone to fits of anger, and very, very mean to kids smaller than him.
I thought about Skippy when I read the headlines about the verdicts in the tragic bullying of Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old from Ireland who hanged herself after being hounded by a small group of classmates—especially Kayla Narey, the girlfriend of Sean Mulveyhill, a popular senior Phoebe had briefly been romantically involved with.
There are three general types of bullying: troubled kids like Skippy, “mean girls” (and, of course, boys) in teen cliques like the one that victimized poor Phoebe Prince, and the garden variety of teasing and put-downs that pass among most all kids.»
The brain is like an instrument we can tune for the job at hand—something like tuning a guitar to the right key for a song. Reading the fine print in a contract, cognitive scientists tell us, takes a very different state than, say, coming up with a clever name for your business.
Our emotions are the keyboard we play in tuning our brains. Here are some of the ways moods match to tasks at hand:
By allowing the brain to generate a greater fluidity of thoughts, our positive moods make us better at coming up with novel ideas, solving problems, and making decisions.»
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.»
There are two ways to become more resilient: one by talking to yourself, the other by retraining your brain.
If you’ve suffered a major failure, take the sage advice given by psychologist Martin Seligman in the HBR article “Building Resilience.” Talk to yourself. Give yourself a cognitive intervention and counter defeatist thinking with an optimistic attitude. Challenge your downbeat thinking and replace it with a positive outlook.
But, fortunately, major failures come along rarely in life.
What about bouncing back from the more frequent annoying screwups, minor setbacks and irritating upsets that are routine in any leader’s life? Resilience is, again, the answer — but with a different flavor.»
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.»
I recently spent an evening with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the Tibetan lama who has been dubbed “the happiest man in the world.” True, that title has been bestowed upon at least a few extremely upbeat individuals in recent times. But it is no exaggeration to say that Rinpoche is a master of the art of well-being.
So how did he get that way? Apparently, the same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Rinpoche a bit over the years, and always found him in good cheer. This meeting was no different. When I called him at his Manhattan hotel to arrange to get together before we were to discuss his new book, “Joyful Wisdom” at the 92nd St.»