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EQ ignored

Why is EQ ignored in the Singaporean workplace?

EQ in the workplace may be much more important than IQ – an undue amount of attention has been paid to the latter which few companies take the time to measure EQ in employees. In our meritocratic society, those with good grades usually get the top jobs and then managerial promotions. However, straight As shouldn’t be the only criteria for leaders.

At work, employees do not work in silos and their constant interactions with their colleagues can be positive or negative, creative or destructive. These interactions have an effect on a company’s performance in its vertical and a key driver to maximize positive exchanges is EQ is an individual’s Emotional Quotient (EQ), or Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Daniel Goleman, who wrote the renowned book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, says that 90 percent of success in people’s lives can be accounted for by measures outside of IQ.

Goleman writes in his book that the foundation of emotional intelligence holds four pillars:

  • Self-awareness – identification of an individuals own emotional cues
  • Self-management of behaviors, such as body language, word choice, facial expressions and tone of voice.
  • Social awareness, which is the ability to perceive other people’s emotions.
  • Relationship management – a combination of the first three pillars to effectively manage successful interactions with other individuals.

Naturally, Singaporeans being emotional creatures, can be understood with EQ. Leaders, in particular have to exercise the elements of self-management and social awareness, such as in public speaking where an unexpected ringtone could halt an otherwise insightful presentation. A leader could react negatively with an eyeroll, but Indiana University of Pennsylvania speech pathologist Shari Robertson suggests that regulation of emotions from the speaker by ignoring the interruption or addressing it quickly and politely would have much better impact on message delivery.

A high level of EQ aptitude in a work environment can give rise to high degree of group efficiency as more employees can partake in a near-mystical, otherworldly state of concentration described recently in Fortune magazine as ‘flow’ or what most would refer to as ‘being in the zone’. This nirvana-esque state of mind is in fact a neurochemical experience that can be described with several psychological markers such as concentration, decreased self consciousness and dilation of time which can exist on a micro-flow level in individual tasks or on a macro level where employees are extremely engaged with a common project. Flow is one of many ideal goals for adequate EQ application in any company given that it generates an optimal productive state and happiness.

According to Ted talks alumnus Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, getting employees into a state of Flow can be reliably induced through keeping individuals in an active state of mind between arousal and control which involves an interplay of high degree of skill meeting a high degree of challenge. Organizationally, this maybe the intersection of a high collective staff CQ and EQ meeting each other with an aligned goal (i.e.: The challenge)

As institutions globally recognize the value of EQ/EI for strategic management as well as better alignment of human resources, the mastery of EQ has become essential in career progression. For instance, managers, such as those in Johnson and Johnson (US), were identified for leadership potential often have higher EQ competencies than their peers as they were able to fluidly manage more resources while avoiding conflicts in the face of increasing cultural diversity. Why aren’t we doing the same here?

Why is EQ ignored in the Singaporean workplace?

Why is EQ ignored in the Singaporean workplace?

EQ in the workplace may be much more important than IQ – an undue amount of attention has been paid to the latter which few companies take the time to measure EQ in employees. In our meritocratic society, those with good grades usually get the top jobs and then managerial promotions. However, straight As shouldn’t be the only criteria for leaders.

At work, employees do not work in silos and their constant interactions with their colleagues can be positive or negative, creative or destructive. These interactions have an effect on a company’s performance in its vertical and a key driver to maximize positive exchanges is EQ is an individual’s Emotional Quotient (EQ), or Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Daniel Goleman, who wrote the renowned book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, says that 90 percent of success in people’s lives can be accounted for by measures outside of IQ.

Goleman writes in his book that the foundation of emotional intelligence holds four pillars:

  • Self-awareness – identification of an individuals own emotional cues
  • Self-management of behaviors, such as body language, word choice, facial expressions and tone of voice.
  • Social awareness, which is the ability to perceive other people’s emotions.
  • Relationship management – a combination of the first three pillars to effectively manage successful interactions with other individuals.

 

Naturally, Singaporeans being emotional creatures, can be understood with EQ. Leaders, in particular have to exercise the elements of self-management and social awareness, such as in public speaking where an unexpected ringtone could halt an otherwise insightful presentation. A leader could react negatively with an eyeroll, but Indiana University of Pennsylvania speech pathologist Shari Robertson suggests that regulation of emotions from the speaker by ignoring the interruption or addressing it quickly and politely would have much better impact on message delivery.

 

A high level of EQ aptitude in a work environment can give rise to high degree of group efficiency as more employees can partake in a near-mystical, otherworldly state of concentration described recently in Fortune magazine as ‘flow’ or what most would refer to as ‘being in the zone’. This nirvana-esque state of mind is in fact a neurochemical experience that can be described with several psychological markers such as concentration, decreased self consciousness and dilation of time which can exist on a micro-flow level in individual tasks or on a macro level where employees are extremely engaged with a common project. Flow is one of many ideal goals for adequate EQ application in any company given that it generates an optimal productive state and happiness.

According to Ted talks alumnus Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, getting employees into a state of Flow can be reliably induced through keeping individuals in an active state of mind between arousal and control which involves an interplay of high degree of skill meeting a high degree of challenge. Organizationally, this maybe the intersection of a high collective staff CQ and EQ meeting each other with an aligned goal (i.e.: The challenge)

As institutions globally recognize the value of EQ/EI for strategic management as well as better alignment of human resources, the mastery of EQ has become essential in career progression. For instance, managers, such as those in Johnson and Johnson (US), were identified for leadership potential often have higher EQ competencies than their peers as they were able to fluidly manage more resources while avoiding conflicts in the face of increasing cultural diversity. Why aren’t we doing the same here?

 

SEC – Dealing with stress in the workplace – Spotting the signs and managing them

SEC – Dealing with stress in the workplace – Spotting the signs and managing them

Stress in the working environment is unavoidable, however it bears a significant cost to companies if it is not kept in check. Drops in productivity, high turnover rates, absenteeism are among the primary concerns that affect the individual that is seen clearly.

 

However there are other issues that would arise that affect more than just the individual. Stressed out workers with no nowhere to turn to might start to exhibit unethical behaviour, being negligent regarding work protocols and lying to circumvent further discomfort have been reported. In some cases for groups who were in a high stress environment, certain individuals would display anti-social behaviour, mistreatment, harassment and workplace bullying were prevalent.

 

There is a distinction between someone having a bad day, and to having colleagues or friends use the classic response of “he’s like that” as a valid reason for the behaviour.

 

Why is it then that some people handle stress well, and manage to keep a cool head under fire, where in a similar situation someone else would seem overwhelmed? Is there a discernible difference between the two? Most of the work related stress was attributed to two factors: the work situation or the environment. And what makes or breaks the individual boils down to the perception of these two factors.

 

Work related stress piles up, like a slow boil. Left unattended people get worn and broken down. We don’t need to wait for a healthy worker to turn a nervous wreck before we intervene. With the right kind of awareness, we can see help our colleagues who are otherwise stressed out find an outlet.

 

Firstly, the perception of being stressed out should not be seen as a weakness, and those who would seek to improve their situation should not be looked down upon, project managers who cultivate such a culture would effectively not give work place bullying a chance to latch on and be more aware of the mental and emotional well being of the workers.

 

Scheduled workplace gatherings where clear and open communication between parties can help mitigate small inconveniences before they become too big to handle, to aid and provide direct contact with project managers regarding stress related issues will help in work place morale immensely. To be able to specifically identify the source of the stress is paramount, is it the work situation where the project time lines are unrealistic and the load the team bears is grossly uneven? Or the environment where colleagues might get offended with the quirks and behaviour of their colleagues or certain work place cultures that an individual would need to get accustomed to?

 

There are many considerations under the two factors, having the emotional awareness and social sensibility to spot them are both skills that can be worked on to make everyone more aware of the stress levels in the working environment. Head on to SEC where we have viable solutions to help make your workplace more conducive an environment in which your workers can give you their best.

 

Emotional awareness for better communication in the work place

Emotional awareness for better communication in the work place

The most common issue faced in communication in the workplace is how sometimes the assumption of passing what would appear to be a simple message clearly, fails. This lapse in communication happens in plain sight and it never occurs to us how little of our original message was actually received.

 

There is a difference between what we mean to say and what is heard. A belief that having the main points laid clearly means that the message itself will be clear. Some times we get so fixated on our message that we forget to take a step back to see how the message is received by our colleagues at work.

 

A crucial component of effective communication is to always be aware of how we deliver the message. To be in the proper emotional state makes all the difference to our delivery. Knowing that the emotional state that you are in when you deliver a message affects the emotional state of the recipient is the first step. When a senior member of the team addresses a junior in the office, having the seniority and authority affects the message before it is even delivered. Receiving a similar request from a colleague differs from when it comes from the boss.

 

Now that we have this awareness in mind, let us step into the shoes of our recipient, most of the time in the workplace some details which seem rhetorical are not given the attention they are due.

 

“It’s pretty straight forward.”

 

“This goes without saying.”

 

We hear similar sounding sentences thrown about in the workplace during meetings and discussions, though seemingly harmless, they can result in the loss of our message. Be in a coherent state to who you’re talking to, what does your tone and delivery suggest? Making a conscious effort of the emotional states on both sides could create a much more conducive environment. Being on the right emotional frequencies at work can lead to more productive meetings, discussions will not be as one sided and would invite clarification and even constructive suggestions to better workflow in the office. To be in sync with your emotional state leaves a clear channel for professional communication that leaves guesswork out of the equation.

 

Having this awareness and making it known is an important skill to have in the workplace. And like all skills they can be trained to be made better with practice. Come on down the SEC labs where we offer corporate courses for a more productive and fun working environment.

 

Improve Singaporean workplace happiness by changing perspectives

Improve Singaporean workplace happiness by changing perspectives

By Dr. Gan Bo (Founder and Lead Trainer at Acuteen Academy)

 

The recent National Workplace Happiness Survey concluded that Singaporean workers are less than happy in their occupations. With the average local working for approximately 40 years before retirement, it is a very long time to feel unsatisfied.

 

Of 28 factors measured in the survey, salary and benefits rank lowest while the top happiness drivers include brand identity, culture and most of all, positive emotions. This goes to show how one feels about his/her job is perhaps one of the most important ways to keep your workforce upbeat and productive.

 

In fact, managers can utilize emotional management perspectives and implement actions to motivate employees. With these perspective changes, the average worker can manage their emotions and perceptions to start improving their own workplace happiness

 

“Stress is a choice.”

 

It is easy to be stressed at one’s job. Managers should let employees understand that stress is voluntary and temporary. By focusing only on the negative aspects of a job, employees start a downward spiral that taints everything. Managers can help point them towards to the positives.

 

During peak periods, managers can place either monetary rewards for pushing through the tough times or get off in-lieu during lull periods. This is quite common in the accounting and banking industries in Singapore.

 

Another thing to do is to make work hassle-free. Some companies allow employees to work from home to save the commute time. Certain MNCs have work hubs situated in Jurong, Harborfront and Changi, so that their staff can occasionally opt to work away from the crowds of the CBD. Or start dress down Fridays, employees and managers alike will feel liberated from the bleakness associated with work.

 

“The job does not define you.”

 

Comedian, George Carlin, famously said, “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.” This rings true for most and also shows that work is a journey, not the destination.

 

The people who are most successful in their careers usually are known for more than what they do at work. For example, Bill Gates is synonymous with Microsoft but his true life’s work in charity. Managers should encourage their staff, to choose to engage in their passions.

 

For example:

Family day – set a roster for different employees to end work early every week or month so they can spend time with their families.

 

Sporting pursuits – Sponsor an employee’s participation in a tournament or marathon. Not only does it inspire the individual, it can be a marketing opportunity to have the company logo emblazoned on his/her kit.

 

Charity work – adopt a charitable cause and make it a company outing to see the good that work can bring beyond the bottom line.

 

A great example is Sony Electronics Group Singapore who actively promotes work-life balance – even winning the “POSB Everyday Champions for Sports Award 2010” for their efforts.

 

“Be the change.”

 

Positivity begets positivity so being more upbeat affects others. In the same vein, happy managers make happy employees, so they have lead by example.

 

First, the manager will have to practice what he or she preaches – i.e. leaving early on family days, wearing polo tees and jeans (instead of a power suit) on Fridays, signing up for a charity run like RUNNINGHOUR 2015: RUN SO OTHERS CAN in March ’15, etc.

 

Another way is to hone their emotional quotient (EQ) through emotional management courses. Managers can sharpen their ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions. By being more able to empathize with employees, managers can facilitate high levels of collaboration, productivity and happiness.

 

With these simple perspective changes, Singaporeans (managers and their workers) can approach their daily routine more optimistically to help them find deeper meaning in life and increase overall happiness in the workplace.

 

Emotional management to reduce stress and health problems

Emotional management to reduce stress and health problems

 

Emotions are a part of our heartware (software), and reason is our hardware. W An imbalance between the two sees the creation of stress. Stress is not a product of external factors; it formed when external factors affect your insides. By managing our emotions, we can reduce stress and the toll it takes on the body.

 

Emotions happen to everyone, they come from everywhere, anywhere and are unavoidable. Emotions are actually energies and can in fact be measured scientifically. There are recently developed instruments that can detect the minute energy fields around the human body. Of particular importance is the SQUID magnetometer, which is capable of detecting tiny biomagnetic fields associated with physiological activities in the body.

 

As energies, emotions are never destroyed but converts from one form to another. Hence, it is key to release them from the body. The problem is that it is not always practical to express our emotions immediately, in public or even in private. Society teaches everyone to suppress our emotions to fit the mould. Parents, teachers, friends and even strangers have inculcated the need to keep our emotions inside from a very young age.

 

When we suppress our emotions, we bottle up our energies and create stress. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is understood that each organ produces a specific type of energy, called “Qi“. TCM also teaches about how emotions and organs are linked through this “Qi”.

 

Unresolved emotions will affect the corresponding tissue and organs in various ailments. For example, extended and mishandled frustration may lead to gallstones or gallbladder disease. Chronic anxiety affects the stomach and lead to gastritis. Worries even affect the immune system, making the body more open to infections.

 

Not managing emotions well do not just cause niggles and slight discomforts, it can also lead to death. The biggest killer in most developed countries is heart disease. Typical sufferers have Type A characteristics – impatient, irritable, aggressive, who are generally fast-talkers and workaholics. These are the kind that thrives in sales roles, law litigation and the finance industry.

 

It is estimated the 90% of the body’s physical problems have psychological roots. Quantum medicine is a field of science has received recent prominence in relation to dealing with emotional energy. Often referred to as energy medicine, Quantum medicine uses various tools to train the mind to control emotion energy to promote self-healing.

 

Here is a quick 1 minute 3 step ABC tip that help achieve a balance coherent state without even standing up.

 

Step 1: Awareness. Focus your awareness on the area around your heart, the area in the center of your chest. If you prefer, the first couple of times you try it, place your hand over the center of your chest to help keep your awareness in the heart area.

 

Step 2: Breathe. Breathe deeply, but normally, and imagine that your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. Continue breathing with ease until you find a natural inner rhythm that feels good to you.

 

Step 3: Consciously. As you maintain your awareness and breathing, activate a positive feeling. Recall a positive feeling, a time when you felt good inside, and try to re-experience the feeling. One of the easiest ways to generate a positive, heart-based feeling is to remember a special place you’ve been to or the love you feel for a close friend or family member or treasured pet. This is the most important step.

 

At the end of this exercise, you would have relaxed and released a sizeable amount of pent up emotion energy. If you are feeling a weight off your shoulders, this is just the start.

 

Acuteen Academy is an one-stop training service provider and education center which has expertise in social emotional competence. These emotional management skills can be taught, measured and learnt there. It can slowly change one’s character, especially for Type A people. Practitioners can then more emotionally balanced, where stress is less likely to be a bother on one’s life or health.

 

8 Emotion Management Strategies for Workplace Happiness

8 Emotion Management Strategies for Workplace Happiness

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the measure of one’s social and emotional competence in both interpersonal and intrapersonal behaviour styles. Improving one’s EQ, will improve their communication skills, satisfaction and overall happiness in the workplace.

1. Be the change. When you are struck with an idea of how to make something better, or a new idea to implement, speak up. Don’t settle for what is. Share your voice. It’s your passion and purpose whispering to you.

2. Know that you are right where you need to be. Have patience and compassion with yourself. Everything you have experienced is leading you to your life purpose.

3. Be adaptable. Accept what is and then move to action. Learn to roll with punches. Being adaptable and flexible creates positive interactions and outcomes.

4. Ask yourself what makes you happy. Without reservation or hesitation, allow the answers to rise to the surface. Take note of them. Then, do more of what makes you happy.

5. Quality engagement and relationships. You never know who you are going to meet or how that person plays a role in your life. Treat every person with respect and dignity, no matter their station. Everyone deserves the right to be happy.

6. Live in the now. Don’t live in the future, or the past. Each day and each moment has the potential to bring something significant to your life’s purpose. Pay attention.

7. Have compassion for yourself and others. Begin with yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Work on what you can and accept what you cannot change. Also, learn to accept others for who they are, “warts” and all.

8. Pay attention to the small moments. At the end of each day, reflect on all the things that you are grateful for, no matter how small. A beautiful breeze, moments of laughter, someone’s generosity, or an email from a loved one. It’s all about recognising and appreciating the small moments that can bring us joy and propel us to happiness.

By building your interpersonal EQ you will become more self aware and be able to manage your emotions better. Intrapersonal EQ strategies will help you enhance your engagement and relationships with others. By developing emotion management and improving emotional quotient (EQ), Singaporeans can be more effectively at their work and happy in their work life.

Student Care Briefing

Student Care Briefing – DEC 13, 2014

We are very glad and excited to welcome all the parents and lovely children coming to our center today. The parents are very satisfied with our student care plans, tuition, Chinese class as well as enrichment class, and they are also very keen on the secret in one of our students achieving 267(No.1 in Gongshang Primary School) in PLSE 2014. Children are very happy playing in the activity room. Hope to see you soon next year and all the best!

Interview of student’s mother

A Primary 5 student achieved No.1 in class after 1 month tuition in Acuteen Academy, and improved a lot in Chinese.

Here is the sharing from his mother.