Straight Talk: Bad for Business #5: Emotional Intelligence

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In this episode, we discuss Emotional Intelligence, a hot topic in organizations for the past several years. While this term has become more and more popular, it is largely flawed from a scientific viewpoint. Understanding the flaws of the definition and overall approach to teaching and increasing emotional intelligence allows one to better problem solve and find solutions for questions like:

  1. How do I teach my employees to have empathy?
  2. Is there an objective way to measure how my employees relate to clients?
  3. How can I determine if someone is a “good fit” for our company culture?

We discuss and review the current literature on Emotional Intelligence, especially that of Harvard Business Review’s Top 10 Articles on Emotional Intelligence and Bradberry & Greaves’ book Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

Listeners will hear the hosts cover the following topics:

  1. What is emotional intelligence?
  2. What problems exist with the current definition?
  3. How do we solve these concerns?
  4. What does emotional intelligence have to do with leadership?
  5. What is self-awareness and how does one learn to have this?
  6. What role does perspective taking have in emotional intelligence?
  7. What is the difference between emotional intelligence on an individual level from emotional intelligence on a team level?
  8. Should hiring managers focus on a person’s current level of emotional intelligence when determining if one should be hired?
    How does one teach emotional intelligence?

Transcript of Episode 5 – Emotional Intelligence

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:00:10] Well, welcome to Straight Talk, everyone. Thank you for being here with us today. We are super excited about our topic, which is emotional intelligence as behavioral analysts. This is this is a topic that we have a lot of fun with. So hopefully you all will have some fun with us today. We’re going to start by just a brief kind of definition of what emotional intelligence is. And you will have to forgive us if we don’t get it exactly right. It’s based on the research that we’ve done and our own interpretations. Hopefully it will spark a lively discussion. We’re also going to talk a little bit about how emotions are defined and how they develop and go through some examples and then some methods for increasing emotional intelligence, both individually and within organizations. So that’s kind of our agenda for today. Diving in generally put and this is taken actually from emotional intelligence. I’ll be like Manny, can you see? You can almost see it. Yeah. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. And they define it as the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others and the ability to use this awareness and understanding to manage both your behavior and the behavior of others.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:01:41] So does that really mean? We kind of boiled it down to four different things, one of them is being able to recognize your own behaviors, recognize the behaviors and emotions of others, use that information to we’ll say for now, quote unquote, regulate your own behaviors, meaning that you don’t engage in maybe overly emotional responding at the wrong times and also to use that understanding and knowledge to ensure that your relationships maintain long term. So that is the definition. I see a couple of people looking; that, that’s the definition that’s out there. And so we chose this topic because as behavior analysts, we think that this leaves a whole lot open to interpretation. And it’s one of the reasons that I think a lot of people have a difficult time kind of grasping like how do we teach this? It seems like something very abstract and hopefully we can bring it to a less abstract point and maybe operationalize what it means to develop these skills and how we can maybe help develop these skills and others, whether it’s leaders or organizations that we’re working with. So I think in Manny, Kyle, Amanda, what are your initial thoughts on that definition?

Kyle Ditzian: [00:03:21] There’s always room for improvement. I feel like, you know, as we were having our initial kind of discussion on emotional intelligence a while ago, I think that this is the thing that really caused the most trouble is the fact that since there is so much room for subjectivity in the definition and because. Right. That’s the definition you found in one source. But if we look across several sources, the definition of what constitutes emotional intelligence is pretty broad, subjective, and, as you know, a bunch of components to it. What I might argue is that, like each one of those definitions probably has some set of things that constitutes emotional intelligence, but doesn’t doesn’t paint a full picture of what we might construe as emotional intelligence. And so, I mean, typically, the way that a behavior analyst might try to approach this kind of thing or that I might try to approach this kind of thing would be to look at those components of that definition and try to tackle those.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:04:22] And I’m certain that as we look across like all those definitions, there are a subset of things that remain at least relatively consistent. And I’m also betting that if we try to dig into each of those components, that we can probably think about the component behaviors or component skills that go with those. And if we can then identify those components, skills or component behaviors, then we can train that up. One question that we spoke about a while ago in that I also want to try to tackle a bit today is whether it’s essentially worth it to try to train up those skills in an employee, in a leader and and also, you know, strategies for not only not only training those up, but also for trying to identify them in people that you’re new to. So, for instance, by interviewing or something along those lines, many I see a lot of head nods. What are your thoughts?

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:05:28] Yeah, so I think between the definition and what you’re describing, you know, when it comes to emotional intelligence and how to weave into the work that we do as behavioral analysts, a couple of things come to my mind. First off is the role of leadership and leadership for lack for the sake of brevity is really a lot of self-reflection and attending to their behavior as a leader. Right. So when it comes to emotional intelligence and the work that we seem to have analysis know, one thing that brings them together is this notion of self-reflection, self-awareness. Right. And then taking action towards positive impact on other people and from the literature that we’ve all kind of read independently with regards to emotional intelligence and with regards to that definition. I mean, what it seems to just boil down to is the ability to be self-aware and acknowledge that my impact on others is what I should be attentive to, and that is, “emotional intelligence”. And from the work that, you know, I’ve done in consulting work and I know you guys have as well, a lot of times we get into these conversations with managers, directors, executives alike on their behavior and the impact it has on others. And more often than not, there’s a lack of self-awareness. There’s a lack of kind of clear, oh, I did that. I’m doing that. I can’t believe I’m doing that. What do I do about that? And so it becomes a lot of kind of identifying behaviors that in the E.I. the literature, they talk about emotions like constructs, you know, and we would just go down more of a specific set of behaviors. But they all kind of go together. So helping them understand what their emotional intelligence is from the world of constructs, great big picture constructs, and then kind of diving deep into what does this mean in terms of your behavior and the impact that has on others? And that’s a lot of what I hear, that definition that Natalie said and what you’re talking about. For me, it just boils down to that. And that might be overly simplified, the emotional intelligence. But it really kind of boils down to that.

Amanda Barnett: [00:07:49] I want to add to what you said, Manny regarding self-awareness and what does that actually means. And really, if I look at the HDR Harvard Business Review article, it has a nice snippet and I’m going to reference it. So knowing one’s strengths, weaknesses, drives and values and impact on others, so not just impacts and I like that you talked about that, but it’s also knowing, you know, kind of where your blind spots are. And some of the things that, you know, when I think about self-awareness in people who if I think about act or dialectical behavior therapy, what they really target is that there’s kind of two things that can happen when you come across a situation that, you know, might be upsetting to you, you know, and you might inadvertently have a bad experience with an employee that means that they might not want to interact with you in the future. So there are two things that kind of happen. People blow up without even realizing that they kind of blew up and how they’re responding, and there’s a set of skill sets that people want to learn to distance themselves: So take a break; This is where mindfulness comes in; This is where we might have that self-talk of saying, you know, it’s OK, that I’m uncomfortable right now. I can make it through it. So there are all these sorts of approaches that you have that you can distance yourself from that immediate reaction that some people have a hard time with. And biologically, when something happens with us, with stress, where to a certain extent our frontal lobe becomes overwhelmed and it’s hard to think of logical thought to be able to distance yourself and distract yourself is going to be really important. So that’s kind of my two cents on it. And then the other part that kind of gets into this that the other methodologies talk about for people who “have high emotional intelligence”, is they’re able to communicate really effectively. So first they recognize their emotions. They’re able to distance themselves and in a way decrease, whatever that might be happening for them so they can rationalize it and then in a way, communicate it in a way that is distinct and they can tell it what they need.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:10:06] You know, Amanda, I think those are are really good points and maybe jumping too far down this self-awareness hole. But, but I think the other thing and we talked about this, Amanda Kyle and I talked about it a little bit earlier in that kind of part of self-awareness include some perspective, thinking, and understanding what works for me right now. And this moment may not work for you right now in this moment. And so I might be doing something that is what I think is remedying or making the situation better or continuing a relationship. But that may not be what you need or what works best for you or what reinforces your behavior, and so I think kind of that it’s the self-awareness, but it’s also understanding that your self-awareness is your perspective and that other people have different perspectives. And so, you know, I don’t know, like perspective-taking as a prerequisite skill for emotional intelligence, but it’s definitely a skill that has to be mastered in some sort of way. I think in order for you to be able to kind of regulate what it is that you’re doing and certain emotions and understanding that Manny, kind of as you said, you have leaders that are like what? Like that’s actually doing this to my employees, like. Huh. I think that’s that lack of perspective. Right. Of like, well, I’m doing what works for me really well and I’m telling people how to do things because that worked for me, but not understanding that they may have different learning histories or reinforcement histories. And so. I think that’s one thing to also think about.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:12:01] Yeah, I want to piggyback on that, so one of the things in this in the emotional intelligence that literature I was just reading this week, so Harvard Business Review has the top 10 reads on emotional intelligence. So there’s a quick little plug for B-R. So if you got to pick up a book on the Harvard Business Review, came up with like the top 10 articles, three out of Harvard Business Review, of course. So self-publishing, the self-publisher. But one of the things that it did talk about in many of the articles was differentiating emotional intelligence at the individual level, which is a lot of them just talked about, vs. emotional intelligence at a team level and how team norms and team behaviors formulate a lot of emotional intelligence from a team point of view. So if you think about the four of us on the panel, right, working as a team, there are histories of learning that are independent of one another. There are histories of learning of how we worked and operated and other teams. And but because we’ve all come together to work as a team on this panel, we’ve kind of worked off each other in terms of what our strengths, what’s our weaknesses, what’s areas for improvement and all that, and then also giving each other feedback as part of our teamwork rate. And all of that kind of paints a picture of our collective emotional intelligence. And I thought that was pretty cool, especially for practitioners and researchers that are really focused on focusing on more of the team dynamics.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:13:38] And how do you really accelerate team performance when probably some of the starting points is formal like formula formulating those constructs. How do you want the team to operate? Right. And starting from that and starting from that foundation, then moving up to be.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:13:59] So one thing that I wanted to talk about with regards to emotional intelligence on teams and stuff like that, something that a lot of the literature brought up was just like kind of, you know, imagine a world where we had the most perfectly emotionally intelligent people and they were all on the same team together. And wouldn’t that be just the best team ever? Wouldn’t it be the best? And like, that’s great. There’s a ton of research that looks almost exactly frickin like just like, oh, if only people did the thing that I studied that, then maybe the world would be a better place. Right. And the same thing happens with emotional intelligence research.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:14:32] One question I have with regards to that, or maybe not questions so much as a discussion topic was so, you know, people come with some level of emotional intelligence to begin with. Right? If I board someone on to my team, then they come with their learning history, their skills with regards to emotional intelligence and, you know, interacting with others and how their interactions affect other people. When I am looking for a new team member, for instance, is it worth trying to focus on that emotional intelligence piece of it?

Kyle Ditzian: [00:15:10] Compared to competency in the actual skills of the job, where does that balance stand? And, you know, is it is it worth trying to dump a lot of time and resources and effort into finding someone that is right, that the most emotionally intelligent fit for the role? Or should I just be looking for competencies unlike actual prerequisite job skills and then trying to tackle the emotional intelligence part later or in some other fashion? I just want to get some perspectives on that or thoughts.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:15:47] One thought I have on that just kind of comes to mind is, when you start thinking about, you know, I’m looking at somebody new to bring into the team and I’m trying to do so-called goodness of fit, right. And one thing that we’ve decided is that somebody should have a certain level of emotional intelligence. But if that person came from a different team where different behaviors were needed to kind of be emotionally intelligent, right. To regulate both their own and the emotions and behaviors of other people. But now this team is totally different in some ways. You know, the people that make up the team are different. The maybe pace of the team is different. And so you need a different, I don’t know if it’s a different set of skills, but it’s at least a different set of behaviors that you’re going to have to engage into a kind of still remain emotionally intelligent, and so I’m wondering if if I’m interviewing somebody and trying to figure this out.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:17:01] Can I figure I think one can I figure that out based on their past experiences, because chances are no, because the context is different, but is there kind of a fundamental set of skills that would allow me to say, like, oh, yeah, you have emotional intelligence and that means that you can figure out how to do these things no matter where you are? Or is it more context-specific?

Amanda Barnett: [00:17:27] So, Natalie, I like your point in that you want to make it context, context-specific and thinking about times that have provided this guidance with managers, a lot of times they know what the team is going to face that are going to be challenges. So, for example, if they have a high volume of cars, if they’re doing maintenance or if, let’s say they’re working with animals and they have a high rate of, let’s say, animals that they have to adopt out and you deal with super angry customers. So these are things that, you know, could potentially be setting events, things that somebody will have to handle well and knowing, and you start creating objective measures. So if you know there’s going to be a lot not that you have you want to create bad customer experiences. You don’t. But you know that randomly they happen at least like twice a month or so. So you want to maybe either throw out a scenario that actually happened and see how they handle it. So that’s one way where you do situational interviewing or you think about what competencies and how you want that person to handle that situation. So you want them to remain calm. You don’t obviously want them to go back at the person. So you want to start asking questions around maybe you do that, but you start thinking about what does this actually look like? And that’s usually what I do with managers is what does it look like when your team ideally handles as well? And how are you guys providing feedback and then you have at their from their subset of behaviors that you’re looking for and it’s a little bit more objective.

Amanda Barnett: [00:18:57] So then from there, another question you might ask is to tell me about an experience where you had to handle a difficult customer. What did you do? And so maybe you’re not giving them a scenario, but you’re giving them a difficult question where they’re having to talk about the process. And it sounds like Jim is kind of adding another question to it becomes more important when we are promoting employees and promote based on competencies, not IQ. So, you know, that’s actually you know, I’m glad you talked about that, Jim, too. And when you promote somebody in ours. How are we going about that as well? So thank you for that. So I’m actually going to pivot to Jim’s comment because I like it. What are some considerations that you guys want to do when you’re thinking about how you promote employees?

Guest: [00:19:46] What I do or have done or tried to do, I should say, with my operators, is take a look at the overall job family or the career path. So I think it’s really important to identify a career path for our employees. At some level in that path, there’s going to be a need for a higher level of emotional intelligence. And I think, you know, we don’t really look that far ahead and it’s not a succession planning as much as it is really helping the employee be successful, that they are going to grow into that next role and the role after that, they’re not capable of really succeeding in their role because they don’t have the EQ.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:20:21] I think that’s a fair way of looking at things that make sense that. Right. There are those skills that we would associate with emotional intelligence that are definitely more important the more people that you’re trying to affect. Right? But, you know, one of those major components skills is figuring out how your behavior interacts with other people’s and how it affects other people’s responses to things, then certainly as a leader, that’s going to be pretty much near the top of the list as far as important skills. And I think that that looking for that in when you have a chance to you know, if you’re promoting internally and you have a chance to really get a full assessment of the employee that you’re working with and have a strong idea of what they might, you know, behave like in a leadership role, I think that that’s a great way to do it.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:21:13] Some things that I want to go in going further down this road. So if we are looking for then high emotional intelligence in our employees, what should an organization be in question for the panel, which organizations be doing to promote that type of behavior or promote that type of learning? Now, I mean, certainly, there are classes and stuff like that.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:21:43] But I don’t personally feel like this is a skill that can be just handled in a classroom setting. You know, personally, I feel like there’s more like values associated feedback that comes with trying to teach skills like this. Has any of you ever had the opportunity to design something to try to target something like this? First of all, second of all, if you were, what kind of things would you be targeting?

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:22:13] I’ll jump in for a second and say this is where I think it’s really important to consider what Natalie was talking about in terms of the context. So, you know, when you read the emotional intelligence literature, the spectrum of what their topics are are pretty broad, pretty wide. So you have things like caring, right? The emotional, the ability to show caring, and caring behaviors. So, you know, we could all imagine what that might look like in different settings, different organizations caring in a manufacturing facility versus caring and a human service provider. Very different, right. It’s all context-driven, caring to a customer versus caring for an employee versus caring for the accounting books, you know, very different. The other kind of situation of that is when they talk about things like conflict resolution.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:23:14] Ok, so now they’re both are constructs, but one can then be caring kind of ties to what I was saying about values, morals like your personal learning history versus conflict resolution. Now we’re talking about there’s a situation, there’s a conflict, and in the workplace, there’s a conflict that needs to be resolved. And so now we can start breaking those into behaviors or competencies or both and or both and then start evaluating it through direct observation and coaching, feedback, et cetera, caring. On the other hand, you know, I’ve been in situations where trying to coach somebody on how to care more when they are very upfront with you and say, I really don’t care about whatever the situation is, that’s a very much more difficult kind of coaching scenario than dealing with a conflict because the two are not the same, I think, in conflict resolution and that kind of emotional intelligence categories serve a purpose. There’s a problem to solve and how do I solve it? So there’s a lot of cool like nuances to your question about, you know, how do you coach? But I think it first starts with context and then then you move to the construct. Is the construct something that can actually be coached in the setting of a workplace versus having to dive deeper into that person’s values? So that’s kind of where my head went with your question.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:24:47] I think I like how you’re thinking about that Manny right, like, I completely agree that there’s a huge difference between trying to teach someone or influence someone to start caring about something that they don’t care about. Right. And versus, you know, here’s a conflict that that needs to be resolved in some sort of way. But it makes me think about two things. One, if we think about conflict resolution, a lot of times I look to kind of what are the contingencies that are in place.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:25:24] So I might resolve conflicts in a way that is not smiled upon by my leadership, but it may lead to really good outcomes for me. Right. And so even the discussion of this is not work-related. But forgive me, Dad, if you ever listen to this. But I remember one time being I was like in middle school, high school, and it was my parents and myself. And we went to a movie. And this was back when, you know, you had to look in the paper for the movie times and, you know, the movies were still on those old reels. And we showed up to buy the tickets and the movie before the one we were going to see the show time before the reel broke. So they closed the movie down. And instead of my dad kind of saying, like, oh, gosh, that’s sucks, let’s find a different movie or do something else. He went into a how could you break the movie and why isn’t it fixed? And, you know, his behavior escalated to many, many levels. I ended up kind of trying to walk down the street and distance myself from the whole thing. The manager, like, came out of the movie theater onto the street to talk to him. But it resulted in not only us three getting tickets for free for when they got it fixed, but also tickets for another movie of our choice and like popcorn and sodas.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:27:01] So, my dad might walk away from that situation and say that was excellent conflict resolution because he got exactly what he wanted and people even apologized to him. But you know whereas I walked away thinking, oh, my gosh, that was the most horrible experience ever. So I think it’s important when you think about that and tying it to emotional intelligence like we have to think about what are the outcomes of the things that we’re doing. And if the outcomes are very positive, even though the behaviors are not where we maybe want them, you know, we have to figure those things out. And then also, just as a quick note, I think, like with caring, with ties into that is kind of empathy and how do we interpret it or, you know, how do we talk about empathy and what does that look like and what does that mean, especially from a behavior perspective?

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:28:08] You know, I hope this doesn’t sound cynical, but I would argue that we care about things that actually lead to good outcomes for us and we don’t care about things that don’t affect us in any sort of way. And so, you know, so when you start thinking about, like, I need to teach you how to care about something, it may really be more of like I need to figure out how to make this relevant. In some sort of way, which, again, maybe it sounds a little cynical, but, that’s my two cents, at least.

Amanda Barnett: [00:28:48] Natalie, I thank you for sharing that story. I laughed really, really hard. But I to add to your point, I think to some extent people behave in a way because it works for them. So, you know, just to highlight another example of, you know, we have to think about reinforcement when we’re talking about, you know, emotional intelligence and a lot of times models forget this. So not only can you going back to what I said earlier, you know, people focus so much on teaching emotional regulation, being able to take a break, do some deep breathing, you know, what are you telling yourself that’s contributing to the anger?

Amanda Barnett: [00:29:26] But what they forget to talk about is how other people are responding to you. And I’m going to use my husband as an example. And I hope to God you don’t want to do this now, but we’re on a team. Go with it. You know, so if I think about I am not great at, let’s say, doing the dishes or just general house stuff. So more times than not, I found myself responding and actually cleaning up a Suzy nag me and we’re going to say a high magnitude Knigge. Like he’s just like, what the hell’s happening? Maybe not so nicely. And I’ll be like, you’re right. I should probably pick up. Am I doing it? Like, grudgingly? Probably. But I also create that scenario. So I found myself reinforcing that behavior because he almost I didn’t respond until he got to that level. And I was like, oh, man, I created a monster. This is my fault. So now we have worked it around where we had a conversation about it.

Amanda Barnett: [00:30:22] I actually said, I’m sorry that I don’t respond when you ask nicely. I’m going to do that now and actually create this schedule for myself to remind myself to do that stuff. I have to do it. It’s sad. I know I live by myself. I’m I live in a dumpster. I don’t know. But and in this case, it works for us and actually turned it around because, you know, I could have said, hey, man, go take a break, do some deep breathing. I don’t think that’s going to help the scenario.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:30:51] But, you know, I think the one thing I like about your example is that your response was what have I done to create this situation, which I think taps into everything that we’re talking about. Right. Like you didn’t say like, why are you such a jerk always yelling at me? Oh, it was like, what have I done that has created this situation and what can I do to change that? And I think that kind of that very thought taps into kind of what everyone is talking about when they talk about emotional intelligence.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:31:30] It’s the understanding that, like, you played a role in this, and just as much as you played a role, you can play a different role and change it. So I don’t know. I got it. I didn’t necessarily think about it quite, but that almost made it crystal clear for me. What do you guys think about that?

Kyle Ditzian: [00:31:53] I mean, I want to tie it to more classic work examples of that one manager. The most common scenario for this would be in a lot of, like, hard, hard labor type work.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:32:10] So, for instance, on an oil field or anything with heavy construction or anything like that, there’s always that one boss that comes around and screams at everyone. And everyone knows when that guy is coming. And so they all pick up and do their stuff right to avoid being yelled at. Right. That guy could probably get so much more done if he had a different approach to doing things that were a little better. Right. But I bet you that that person is also the one wondering why he has to yell at everyone to get them to do anything when, you know, in all likelihood, that guy’s probably created that environment himself. Right. We know that. I mean, granted, this is hitting home for Felecia, so. Right. We know that the contingencies have supported that guy’s behavior in the past. Right. By doing that yelling, he’s gotten that work done and it supports people on the other side of the equation as well because they know that by getting that work done, they can avoid at least some of this yelling. And that’s nice. But probably if he came in with a different approach from the get-go, there would be no yelling necessary. No one would be as highly stressed as they might be around this guy normally. And people would probably be more productive in the long run. But if the contingency right now, the contingency support the behavior of being a shitty person. Right. If if I am an ass to these employees, I get the things done that I need them to do. And so I will continue to do so. Certainly, you know, again, I’m falling back on what? So let’s imagine. I am I’m the CEO of this organization. What can I do to change this person’s behavior, change maybe that manager’s behavior so that they’re not, let’s say, motivating people in the way that they currently are?

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:34:18] So this is something that we started we talked about so far a little bit that ties to emotional intelligence is much of the emotional intelligence starts with values. Right. And so in the organizational context, we have organizational values. And so in that scenario that you’re painting, if we were to talk about this in terms of what we do in practice, we would look at the organizational executives and say this person’s behavior. In your perspective, does it match your values as a company? It’d be very difficult for them to say absolutely if the behaviors are absolutely not in agreement with the values.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:34:59] Right? So more likely, they would probably say no. So the problem with organizational values, just like our own personal values, is values are constructs. So unless they have very clear behavioral definitions, there’s a lot of interpretation. So much of what we do is we would say, given a value, say, teamwork, what does that look like in practice? And it’s in practice, it doesn’t match what you want.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:35:27] Then we have to provide good feedback, coaching, performance management, et cetera, in the context that you’re paying so much of the problem is not just the lack of alignment between a value and a set of behaviors that you want. And that’s the values. It’s also the long reinforcement history of being a jerk. Right. And so much of the problem is how do you address an employee who’s at that high of a level of leadership who’s been a jerk for a long time, and we basically have encouraged that directly and indirectly. How do we stop that behavior? And a lot of times it’s much more difficult because you’re tackling that long learning history and reinforcement history. But in short, I would say the starting point is to get that awareness and acceptance of there’s a gap between our organizational values and our that the behaviors that are supposed to align to those and then kind of go through that path of once you’re aware that there’s the problem, how do you tackle that problem?

Kyle Ditzian: [00:36:34] So you basically just have to make sure that if that does not align with organizational values, that that you then, you know, establish the feedback and stuff like that necessary to basically assert those values and make sure that they, you know, actually have some control over behavior. Right. Because I’m adding some sort of some additional motivation via feedback, via policy change, via X, Y, Z training. Do you think that in the case of a person like that, that training would be valuable? Or is this strictly a motivation slash, well, yes, it’s strictly a motivational issue, you think?

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:37:33] So so a couple of things, one is, I mean, I’ve done my fair share of executive coaching like most people in this room and probably watching. And I would say there’s a great deal of value for an executive or a director or whatever who’s demonstrating these types of behaviors to get that kind of coaching. You know, a solid executive coach helps that person do a lot of self-reflection, analyzing their behavior and then trying to see if their environment to modify their behavior. Right. That’s what a good coach does. Now, traditional training on interpersonal skills or their emotional intelligence could probably go cuckoo. Good, good, good, good, good, go well. However, the challenge becomes whether there’s enough motivation for that person to make that change. And more often than not, what I find is unless, like the CEO or somebody that they report to says, thou shall do this, it’s more likely that they’d they probably wouldn’t get a whole lot of value out of it in terms of trade, my traditional trades. But the training was coupled with that contingency, like the CEO saying down south and then probably a good pairing of a good coach. I think that would go a long way. Personally.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:38:57] I’m asking myself, as we’re talking about this, that that kind of city person that you described to Kyle. I’m wondering, though, if we think about kind of what we’ve defined or what we’re talking about emotional intelligence to be, I think we could maybe even paint two profiles of these leaders that maybe we would hope to not be around too much. There’s the one that does all of these things. Every time they come around, they’re yelling and screaming at people and being a jerk. And they are doing it because they think that’s how you have to get things done. And not not not maybe having the perspective that it’s also making everybody’s life a living hell. And then you have other people that are like, I really just don’t care that I’m making your life a living hell and it gets my purpose done. I get what I need and what I want. And so forget the rest of you. I’m not sure if like if we think about emotional intelligence, do those two people have different levels of emotional intelligence? And if so, what are they?

Kyle Ditzian: [00:40:18] Boy, that surely depends on how we define emotional intelligence. You know, we spoke earlier about that issue of the definition of emotional intelligence in general. It seems to me as if the primary component of the primary, two components of emotional intelligence are understanding your own behavior, your own emotions, and then understanding how they interact with other people. Right, that, to me, sounds like someone who is pretty emotionally intelligent, right? I understand. Their effect on people, but maybe their values don’t align as much with Whatley’s mind. You know, we spoke about this earlier, they might align perfectly with, like my dad.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:41:11] But so, I mean, in my opinion, I would say that that person is equally emotionally intelligent. But, yeah, the values is where the differences and that’s maybe where the organizational values need to be interjected to push, you know, good, productive, healthy environments.

Amanda Barnett: [00:41:32] I want to jump in here to add to what you said and then also just kind of bring it back to some of those additional factors and emotional intelligence. So when we think about, you know, getting that immediate response, especially if let’s say you have that manager that walks in and he starts yelling at people and everybody’s like, oh, I see him coming and I start working. That immediate response is something that’s pretty powerful and it can maintain behavior. And so one thing that we have to really consider is that when we’re thinking about developing discretionary effort or people going above and beyond, it actually takes more time to develop those relationships. And what I struggle with as a behavior analyst is that there’s a lot of stuff that gets sloughed into emotional intelligence or IQ, which is the emotional quotient, basically. And really what I think about is, is that’s actually a lot of this subset of skills. So social skills, how are you reading a situation? Are you pairing yourself up with the reinforcement and learning preferences of your employees? And are you following through? Is your SEYDOU correspondence really good so people can trust you? And are you consistent? You know, when are you coming across in a way. So when we talked about this earlier, we talked about how will we objectively measure empathy.

Amanda Barnett: [00:42:51] Now, that was a fun discussion that I think we actually, nope, I take you back. I think we suck the fun out. But I’m I think I’m going to try and at least summarize what it means as somebody who is empathetic because I do think these are the things that will affect your relationships with your employees. And do they respect you and will they work harder for you in the long run? These are things that get sluffed into emotional intelligence, I think, but it’s really somebody with the ability to read nonverbal behavior, see if you have their attention being able to reflect it and demonstrate that or match it on some level and ask questions around how they’re doing. So not just assuming that they’re feeling a certain way, but asking how are they doing and really listening to them. So people say they’re listening and then they’re listening, which really means is like actively listening. So are you asking are you summarizing what they’re saying and not just going? Yup, yup. And you have no clue what they’re saying. So it’s really looking at the emotion behind it. How what they’re telling you, what’s important to them. And you’re how are they interacting and thinking about these sorts of preferences in a way. So when I think about these things, you know, it takes it from emotional intelligence, like fluffy language, and it makes it a little bit more operational to a certain extent and knowing what to do.

Amanda Barnett: [00:44:15] And then I could keep going. But I’m going to have one small plug here. So behavior analysts and a lot of times in emotion, intelligent language, they might use autism as something that is an area where they say, oh, that person, you know, doesn’t read emotions very well. They have really low emotional intelligence. And one of the problems with that is that they have emotions. They absolutely do. And it’s just the ability to understand what they are labeled them, express them is very difficult. And so when I was a behavior therapist, I worked with kids with autism. I taught them how to label those emotions, how to express them really, how to ask for what they need. And these are all things that we actually were able to operationalize. Do they make eye contact with their body oriented towards you? Do they speak in a clear manner? And we provide feedback around that and practice. So these are all things you can absolutely teach to a certain extent. I think about a leader’s behavior. These are all things that we might want to just assess when they’re interacting with employees.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:45:18] I think we’re coming to a pretty good like some, you know, pretty good point of where behavior analysis can support emotional intelligence. And one of our participants here at said that a great you know, a lot of this kind of ties to acceptance and commitment therapy if you’re familiar with that link, that literature. And I don’t want to dovetail into that personally, mostly because I’m not very I’m not a scientist as I probably should be, but kind of the essence of it. It makes total sense. Right. What we’re talking about in terms of how do you coach to emotional intelligence, what you don’t you coach to the individual’s ability to self reflect, self assess, analyze their behavior and identify if the behavior is not the right behavior, it’s not going in the right direction. What’s the course of action? And do they actually commit to that change? So that that whole idea of the acceptance plus the commitment, I think is what we’re talking about. But before you can accept, you have to self-reflect and you have to be aware of what your behavior is and the impact that has on others. And I think that’s a lot of what we’re boiling it all down to, really. And I think that that’s part of all of our coaching and consulting work.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:46:35] Right, is when we work with leaders and managers, are they even aware of their behavior and the impact that has on others and have not? And we need to course-correct.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:46:51] I think a really good summary, Manny. I think we’ve all attended to in some way the comment that at least to me, but I just want to kind of vocalize it, because I think you did make a really good comment in our chatbox. And for those who can’t maybe see it, who are viewing this later. But the comment that Alicia made was that the type of IQ that she’s seen working with executives is around kind of her work with self-awareness and changing one’s own emotional context. So, you know, the example is there are things that are frustrating for a whole lot of business owners and leaders. But the salient thing is having the presence of mind to notice that and then ask him or herself how to adjust their context to reduce the anxieties caused by that thing they can’t actually control. And so I think that’s an excellent point. And adds some new thought and to the whole discussion. I think a lot of times when you see maybe kind of emotional dysregulation, a lot of times it’s tied to kind of these anxieties or not being able to control an outcome that you want to control in the moment.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:48:10] And so also to be mindful of our time and not jump down another rabbit hole. But it reminds me even of coercive relationship and coercive control of the I need something to happen right now. And I don’t maybe have the skill or don’t know how to get that to happen in a positive way. So I’m going to do something negative so that you will respond to remove the negative stimulus that I just put on you. But we don’t always realize that you may do something even more negative to get me to stop doing the negative thing. You may not do a positive thing. And that’s when you know, all the emotions get out of control and we end up with really bad, bad outcomes. So many in that situation, nobody has emotional intelligence. I don’t know. And then Jim just added that he finds the lack of awareness is often identified as the wrong cause or an excuse for what didn’t produce the desired results. The team didn’t execute because. Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s another really, really good point there, Jim.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:49:24] So being mindful of this one, I just want to thank everybody for participating today. Like we really appreciate your thoughts and your input and your insight. Our hope is, is that this will be a discussion. I know there are four of us, so it doesn’t always leave a whole lot for other people to jump in. But it’s it’s fun to see that you guys are jumping in. And I just want to spend send a special shout-out and thank you for that. And then what we’ll do is I’m going to turn it over to Amanda because she always does an excellent job of taking notes and summarizing everything that we’ve talked about. So we will let Amanda bring it home for us.

Amanda Barnett: [00:50:06] All right, well, no pressure of that. So just to also reflect on the participation. I really appreciate all the comments that it just makes it a lot more lively and I really love that. So we really just started with a definition. And I’m just going to summarize it honestly. What many said is that I’m self-awareness or emotional intelligence is your ability to self reflect on your impact of others and committing to that change and knowing what to do with that? There’s a lot of components that it can really get into from self-awareness to empathy to really how are we communicating our needs in an effective manner. So these are our social skills. So these are all components of what might that turn into. So when we think about how to self reflect the things that we talked about is knowing our impact and taking data on ourselves. So what are we noticing and observing and writing that down and then getting a coach, honestly, that can help us and follow up with us? So it’s one thing to take a class, but it’s a whole nother thing to have somebody that can consistently follow up and help you kind of grow your skillset and how you interact with other people.

Amanda Barnett: [00:51:25] The other one is that commitment to change. So that kind of gets into that coaching piece. But to a certain extent, we talked about how you get a really immediate response and that could be really great. But somebody in a long term might not want to work as hard for you or it might actually not help you out in the long run. So really focusing on building those relationships up. And that’s going to be, you know, making sure that you’re understanding what’s important to them. You’re listening to them, you’re able to reflect those changes and you’re additionally just following through on what you said you would do. So I think, for the most part, this is just a very surface-level summary. But the other things that many talked about and everybody else as well, you know, was just the ability to relate to others in that it is the more specific we can get about what we mean, probably the better, ultimately. And I’ll kind of summarize it at that.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:52:31] Alright, thanks Amanda, great summary, Kyle.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:52:37] No, no, no, go ahead.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:52:39] Oh, that’s a great summary. Thank you all again for coming today for participating with us in our live session. And we will see you hopefully again next week at the same time and place, same bat channel, same bat time.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:53:01] And then I think next week we’re going to be talking about pinpointing and breaking down large, complicated problems. So hopefully a really useful one for a lot of people. Yeah. All right, thanks, everyone.

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