4 Easy Ways to Improve your Company Culture

Are you currently using EI? How high is your EQ?

There are lots of different instruments that can be used to “test” for Emotional Intelligence. As part of our training programs, we use a self-assessment that asks participants to focus on recent conversations: how they have handled their emotions and reacted to the emotions of others. Regardless of what instrument you use, it is pretty easy to do a quick gut-check to see if your organization has a high EQ (emotional quotient). As yourself these four questions:

  1. Do we deal with misunderstandings/miscommunication on a weekly basis?
  2. Do we talk about certain teams/departments who just can’t seem to get along?
  3. Do we have trouble creating buy-in and getting consensus from our employees?
  4. Do we have a high turnover rate?

If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, you probably need to improve your EQ. These are common workplace issues that every organization faces, at one time or another. We all have been in those jobs where everyone seems nice, but there are a lot of gossips. We have had those bosses that just struggle to communicate their vision. Many of these communication mishaps can be prevented by utilizing more Emotional Intelligence.

An organization with a high EQ is one where employees stay for longer periods of time, where there is a general happiness and positivity throughout the office, where communication is something that is seen as a strength and necessity for great work.

If your organization needs help increasing your EQ, contact us.

If you are looking for more information and resources about Emotional Intelligence, Follow our CEO, Dr. Stevie Dawn on LinkedIn. She publishes videos and articles about EI on a weekly basis.

Performing an Organizational Culture Change

I often work with organizations that are struggling because of a lack of trust and accountability between upper level management and employees. The management team is making decisions that the employees do not understand or support. The employees are not accomplishing the tasks that management says are priorities.

Does this sound familiar?

How do you re-build trust within a large organization? How do you hold people accountable?

A culture change is the short answer. A culture change, however, takes time. Companies that wish to see a cultural change within their organization should prepare for a 6-to-12 month training and development program. The program should include intense discussions on communication, accountability and feedback from all involved. Grievances should be aired in a respectful and helpful environment. Here are the key elements that a program such as this entails:

Trust: This is key, and once it is lost, rebuilding trust will need to be an active and intentional goal. When discussing trust, it is important to start by displaying vulnerability.

Vulnerability and Transparency: These are key leadership traits. As a leader, you must be honest with your staff. You need to be able to tell employees not only about the work, but also about yourself.

Humanize yourself:  People are harder to trust when we don’t see them as human. Allow people to learn a little about your personal life. You do not have to share intimate details, but a little goes a long way. Share a story of your kids or be willing to share photos of the hot rods you work on during weekends.

During training, focus on developing new strategies and skills to build trust. This could involve the planning of smaller team meetings for leaders to try out new activities and skills. After these smaller meetings, it is important to come back together and debrief. What went well? What didn’t work? What issues and tensions still exist?

Emotional Intelligence is a must during these meetings. If the leader is trying a new approach, it is important to take the emotions of all team members into account. Change is difficult and everyone within an organization will “feel” something about culture changes. Be honest and direct about these feelings. Use phrases such as, “Some of you might be feeling anxious…” or “Frustration is understandable…” This human element allows employees to feel that they are being heard. This small step can lead to increased understanding and trust at all levels.

An organizational culture change involves a lot of planning, a lot of meetings and a dedication to changing workplace behaviors. The desired outcomes must be worth the time and effort. People must be dedicated to making individual changes, in order to see large changes as a group. With the right elements, training and people, an organization can grow in the areas of trust and accountability. An organization can change.

What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why Your Leaders Need It

Emotional Intelligence. Say what?

Emotional Intelligence is a buzzword that often is used in the workplace when discussing leadership.

Does anyone really understand what it means? With all my schooling on Leadership with a focus on Emotional Intelligence, I have spent thousands of hours reading and researching the subject so you don’t have to.

Let’s take out the hype and talk about the importance and practicality of Emotional Intelligence (EI) in real life.

Textbook version: Emotional Intelligence is the learned ability to identify, experience, understand and express human emotions in healthy and productive ways. 

Identify Emotions

You have to be able to identify emotions in yourself and others. Have you ever had that conversation where all of a sudden someone is upset or hurt and you don’t know why?

Using EI allows you to learn the skills needed to detect emotions in others — to become more aware of yourself and your emotions; to become more aware of the situations you find yourself in and how to handle the emotions around you.

Identifying the emotion of another is the first step to being able to increase your effectiveness when it comes to communication.

Experience Emotions

This means allowing yourself to be emotional.

That’s right, I said it.

You have to be emotional. Human beings have emotions.

When we fight our emotions, we usually end up getting ourselves in trouble.

Experiencing the emotion is one thing; using emotions to make decisions is a whole other thing. You need to be able to experience the emotion and be aware enough to identify the emotion you are feeling. This allows you to be more authentic and honest with yourself and to increase your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Understand emotions

This requires empathy. The ability to understand where another person is coming from. You do not have to agree or sympathize with their plight; instead, you have to accept that it is how they feel and that it is relevant to the situation.

This is the No. 1 reason leaders need Emotional Intelligence.

Being able to understand where another person is coming from and being able to empathize with them. This is what allows you to gain influence over others. This skill allows you to work more effectively with others.

Emotions + Healthy + Productive

This ability is the one that takes the longest to learn but has the greatest impact.

Here’s why: You have to be able to demonstrate that you are angry, without being aggressive. You have to be able to express your sadness without always crying. Being able to feel the emotion, identify it, and then express it in the best way possible for the current situation is a HUGE win for leaders. This is what allows leaders to have followers even on bad days.

When you are able to express your disappointment in someone in a way that empowers and motivates them to do more, then you are really leading.

Emotional Intelligence is really about communicating.
It is about being aware of your emotions and the emotions of those around you.
It is about thinking about the group as a whole when making decisions.
It is about looking at the bigger picture.
It is about helping others to feel empowered to achieve their goals.
It is about doing all these things in a way that makes you likable and trustworthy.

This can seem overwhelming, but it’s doable. I’m happy to help you along to EI excellence.

Police Case Study

Client: Large, urban Police Department (over 1500 officers) in a southern state: Fort Worth, Texas.

Sgt_Rachel

Driver: Due to the expanded influence of the media and the focus on Police interactions, it was critical for our client to develop training to improve communication with internal stakeholders and external constituents. It is imperative that Police be able to communicate effectively with each other, their Chain of Command, and the communities they serve.

Challenge: The Advanced Training Unit had difficulty finding a program that not only developed communication skills but also dealt with the internal leadership and accountability issues. Resources such as time and staff were stretched thin in working to deliver mandated training. So a partnership was formed with Stevie Dawn Inspires, LLC to customize and deliver the needed content.

Solution: We identified the core competencies that needed to be addressed and determined that the best group with which to implement the training would be at the Sergeant rank. These were the front-line supervisors who oversee 1500 officers throughout the city. Once the group and core competencies were identified, we designed a curriculum based on Emotionally Intelligent Leadership.

20160906_155347Result: At the conclusion of the program, Sergeants demonstrated heightened Emotional Intelligence (approximately 150% increase) and confidence in communication. Assessments showed an increase in self-awareness and leadership ability.

2017 Update: After feedback from participants and command staff, we redesigned the program with a focus on Agile Leadership and Emotional Intelligence. This specific leadership style appears to have the most alignment with the work of these Sergeants; ever-changing and adapting. We have also shortened the in-class portion of the program and increased the online work. We are currently working to develop a program on strategic management for Lieutenants.

For more information about our work with Police Officers, please send Dr. Stevie Dawn an e-mail at stevie@orangecompass.com.