Emotional Intelligence At Work

How to make change stick

‘Soft skills’ or business skills training interventions are commonly involved with not just learning new skills or techniques, but they aim to bring about lasting change in behaviours, attitudes and mindsets. This transition in thinking differently enables the new skills and techniques to be applied in the workplace. As we are all unique, some people will achieve this more easily than others.

I have worked in the field of learning and development and ran my own training consultancy for over 25 years. I have experienced amazing results and seen people make better decisions, apply new skills and techniques, and change their behaviour (the harder part) to achieve better outcomes. Sometimes, however, I have seen some individuals struggle to make that shift and make change stick.

An example of this might be that an individual has identified a training need to improve their delegation skills and training is delivered. Throughout the training, the individual:

  • expresses their ineffective current behaviours and shows clear signs of understanding the need for change
  • demonstrates understanding of using a new approach and techniques and expresses the benefits for themselves personally
  • explores the barriers to making changes and finds solutions
  • creates an action plan for returning to work

However, they do not follow through with their plan and no improvement or change transpires.

  • Why is this?
  • What are the reasons behind this behaviour?
  • What can be done to support the individual to take action?

Practising effective delegation is not just about learning new techniques. It involves developing trust in others and being able to let go and dealing with fears and anxieties. Those action points and associated feelings can seem overwhelming when back in the workplace. Or, any change of behaviour can be short lived if it is not supported by a parallel change in attitude.

If a manager does not want to see others develop and does not want to delegate (attitudes), then any attempt to increase their delegation skills is unlikely to succeed.

My experience of working with JCA Global and using Emotional Intelligence (EI) tools has enabled me to introduce a proven psychometric element to increase delegate awareness of their emotional intelligence and showing them how their attitudes underpin their behaviours, thoughts and feelings. EI enables people to understand their own attitudes and align them with their behaviours.

By way of definition, EI is concerned with how people manage themselves (their personality, potential and innate resources) to be both personally and interpersonally effective. How well they do this is largely determined by their attitudes. This approach to EI is strongly supported by neurological evidence which explains how attitudes influence feeling which fuel thinking and drive behaviour.

Therefore, by changing attitudes it is possible to create lasting change in behaviours, thoughts and feelings.

The relationship between personality, EI and competence

  • Personality represents who a person is and includes their temperament and innate resources (such as IQ)
  • EI is how well a person learns to manage their temperament and harness their innate resources (their potential)
  • Competencies are how this manifests in terms of a person’s work performance and behaviours EI is, therefore, the ‘glue’ or the ‘missing link’ that turns individual personality (potential) into effective performance and may be summarised as:

Personality + EI = Performance

Consider the analogy of a car (personality) and its driver (EI); the skilled driver will listen to the engine, develop a feel for the car, keep it well maintained and continually improve their handling skills in order to get the best from the car in terms of economy, sustainability and performance.

EI can be defined and described in many ways, such as common sense, empathy, wisdom, emotional maturity. The term EI is about the intelligent use of emotions (or thinking about feelings) and this fits closely with the JCA definition of EI:

Part 1 Emotional Intelligence is the practice of managing one’s personality, to be both personally and interpersonally effective

Part 2 This is achieved through the habitual practice of thinking about feeling and feeling about thinking to guide one’s behaviour

Part 3 The extent and effectiveness by which an individual does this is determined largely by their attitudes

If you are interested in knowing more about EI and how this can improve your own performance or the performance of your team, or your organisation, then please get in touch. You can also request a free sample EI report.

Feel free to call me or email me.

Jackie Bullivant
Director

Our team are based in Kent but operate across the UK, delivering training sessions to your team. For more information on our courses or to discuss a bespoke training programme that you may require, please get in touch.