“The employees [who] come in with the most call center experience, we have the hardest time trying to get them to unlearn what they have learned to be able to grasp the latest initiative or embrace a new workplace culture.” Roger Dana, Zappos.com
Your organization likely attracts, hires and develops employees based (at least in part) on the experience set they brought along with them. Whether those areas are technical, managerial or administrative, they also may have brought with them habits or ingrained corporate cultural beliefs that prove to be a detriment for your organization. So how do you “untrain” them?
Clearly define and convey the goals of the retraining initiative. Engage all levels in industry information and the background behind the core values of your organization. Essentially, knowing the “why” of the new habits will help pry employees loose from instilled beliefs about process and professionalism. Moreover, engaging all levels in learning about the company’s core values and how they are intertwined with not only its history but also daily operations is a natural catalyst for giving everyone a chance to chime in on the current organizational initiatives and goals. This serves the dual purpose of instilling trust, which is another critical component of the unlearning process. Give all levels the opportunity to be architects of their own work environment.
To review: Sometimes untraining is just as important as training or career development. Lay the groundwork for success by including all levels in learning about the organization’s core values and including them in the creation or rewriting of current initiatives. The trust that you foster will help them loosen their grip on ingrained habits, so you can begin the retraining process and take full advantage of the talent you already have!
Improve Productivity Today with Emotional Intelligence
The results of a recent study conducted by the American Management Association indicate that emotional intelligence falls in the top five most critical skills for leaders today. Why? Emotional intelligence is tied to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
Here are some interesting findings on emotional intelligence, compliments of Emily Barrett, Ph.D.
• Studies of “think tanks,” where everyone is highly intelligent, reveal that even there, some people outperform others. They are more willing to take on responsibility, are more adaptable, and more easily establish rapport with coworkers. These qualities are considered Emotional-Intelligence qualities that have little to do with IQ or technical competency.
• Research on sales managers indicates that those who are unable to handle stress oversee departments that perform poorly, while those managers who perform better under stress have high sales volume.
• CEOs judged most successful by their peers in some studies were not those rated highest in technical competency but were instead those who scored the highest in a different area: the ability to establish relationships with and inspire others.
• Men and women seem, generally, not to differ in their overall level of Emotional Intelligence. However, research often finds women to be better at empathy and social skills and men stronger in self-confidence and self-control.
• Education, gender, hours worked, and geographic area did not predict sales success for those in sales. However, Emotional-Intelligence qualities of empathy, optimism, assertiveness, and self-awareness were highly predictive of sales success. Optimistic salespeople, in fact, sold 37% more insurance and were twice as likely to stick with the job as those who had pessimistic outlooks on life and work.
Overall, we make better decisions when we act on information from our feelings, our instincts, and our intuition, as well as on information coming from our rational intellect. It is our emotional brains, after all, that allow us to access memory and assign weight or preference to the choices we face at work and in our personal lives.
It is our Emotional Intelligence that guides us in controlling or accessing emotions when we must adapt to change, get along with others, or deal with stress. Performance and leadership in any organizational setting are both influenced by EQ. Improve your performance by improving your emotional intelligence.
Louder than Words
Joe Navarro, author of multiple books relating to nonverbal intelligence has just come out with another powerful book. Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence (Harper Paperbacks, 2011).
You may find yourself wondering what successful leaders have in common with each other that puts them at a different level from others in the workplace. They may all have differing skill sets and management styles, but they all share a sophisticated understanding of the power behind nonverbal intelligence skills. Even simple habits or acts can result in a strong impression on others.
Although Mr. Navarro belabors this point in the first few chapters, his point is critical; that your every action makes a difference in how you communicate with others, and how they respond to you. The book goes on to cover areas that we often don’t think of, such as vocal tones and mirroring others’ behaviors, sloppy speaking and pronunciation. The practical takeaways of this book make it well worth the purchase!
Manager’s Pocket Guide to Emotional Intelligence
One of the keys to becoming a true leader is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence quotient (or EQ) encompasses qualities that go beyond general intellectual intelligence and technical competency.
EQ includes self-awareness, self-control, self-confidence, motivation, empathy, and competencies in the social environment. These hallmarks of a true leader can be learned. The activities in this guide will help strengthen the reader’s EQ skills, resulting in a more successful career and a more satisfying life.