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Effective Leadership and Strategic Storytelling

storytelling

Good storytelling is a hallmark of effective leadership. It’s a medium that allows leaders to move others. It also lets people know how the leader thinks and feels. Psychologist Howard Gardner examined how a leader can create an effective storytelling framework to move people in the right direction.

Levers of Storytelling

Innovative stories are crucial when:

That begs the question: What kinds of strategic storytelling levers does a leader use to motivate people in a desired direction?

First, it depends on your audience. If you are working with people who are highly sophisticated in what you’re doing – let’s say you’re running a hedge fund and you’re dealing with your partners who understand finance as well as you do – then the more academic levers of research and of reason are very important.

If you’re running for political office, chances are voters are not going to look at your syllogisms, and they’re not going to know enough to evaluate your data. That’s when things like resonance come into play. Whether you feel on the same wave length with the leader, and he or she manages to convey that “I’m one of you.”

If you are dealing with people who aren’t familiar with a subject, you would go for the redescription lever. Redescription is presenting the same ideas in many different ways. Some people aren’t going to be convinced by a linguistic narrative. Then a cartoon, a comic, wit, dramatization, games – those are other vehicles where you can bring about a different way of doing things.

Another lever is real world events. These are events you have no control over, but the effective leader uses them to change the conversation. Say for example the stock market tanked. A leader knows his team wants to understand how the event effects their job or industry.

Dealing with resistances is a common approach. When you tell a story, everybody has many other stories in their mind. Those stories are often quite resistant to the story you want to tell. Leaders often spend too much time convincing, and not enough time thinking of all the reasons why someone might be embracing a very different kind of story. The shrewdest mind-changers spend a lot of time trying to understand what the resistances are and how to deal with them.

Ultimately, a leader needs multiple strategies to employ during a crisis. They must understand their audience, and know which levers worked in the past and which ones ought to be pulled out for the occasion.

Strategic Storytelling

Watch a conversation between Daniel Goleman and Howard Gardner about ways to employ levers of storytelling.

Theory into Practice

Leadership A Master Class Training Guide

Apply these concepts into your training program with our Leadership: A Master Class Training Guide. The collection offers more than nine hours of research findings, case studies and valuable industry expertise through in-depth interviews with respected leaders in executive management, leadership development, organizational research, workplace psychology, innovation, negotiation and senior hiring. We developed an extensive, detailed training guide around the video content for human resources professionals, senior managers and executive coaches. Each module offers individual and group exercises, self-assessments, discussion guides, review of major points, and key actionable takeaway plans. The materials allow for instructor-led or self-study opportunities.

Email mike@morethansound.net for a sample guide and limited-time discount code.

What Makes For a Good Work Day?

good work day

Teresa Amabile, the Director of Research in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School, spoke with CBC Radio’s The Current about the components needed for a good work day. According to her research, small wins can give workers the emotional boosts they need.

Small Wins

Teresa’s research showed that if people are experiencing progress in their work, they’re much more likely to feel emotionally positive about themselves and about what they’re doing. Under those conditions, they’re more likely to come up with a creative idea.

In her research, they didn’t ask workers to recall something creative they did on a particular day. They asked them to report one event that stood out in their mind from the day. If they happened to mention that they solved a problem, in a way that was not routine, or they came up with a new idea, they counted that as evidence that they’ve been creative and productive that day.

They study also found that on those days that people were having more positive emotional experiences, they were more likely to come up with a creative idea. What was also interesting is that small wins prime creative insights or breakthroughs not just one day but for the next day, too. There’s some kind of a carry-over effect that when people are in this positive state of good inner work life, they’re more likely to make new connections between ideas that can carry over even into the next day.

The effect of small wins is so powerful because people need to feel effective in their work. They need to have that sense of self-efficacy, that they’re competent, they’re getting somewhere, and that they’re doing something meaningful.

Learn how to apply Dr. Amabile’s findings in your workplace with Leadership: A Master Class Training Guide. [For a limited time, save $250 on the guide. Enter LMC250 at checkout.]

Leadership A Master Class Training Guide

[Image source: Inc.com]

 

 

Online Learning Just for You

Praxis You

This Spring, More Than Sound will launch Praxis You, our new online learning platform for personal and professional development.

To help us develop useful, practical courses for you, please take a few moments to take a very short survey.

As a thank you, we’ll give you free access to module one of our first course, Thriving on Change.

Be sure to provide your email address when you’re done with the survey.

How Praxis You Works

Our one-of-a-kind learning sessions are designed to help you harness the knowledge necessary to achieve your full potential. The content includes the latest research, real-life experiences, relevant guidance, and proven-effective tools.

Praxis You is designed to enlist all of your learning faculties. Each course offers a balance of:

  • video
  • audio
  • animation
  • self-assessments
  • discussion forums
  • downloadable practices
  • reading on your own time.

Praxis You also encourages relationship building with your peers and instructor through interactive dialogue during the course, and post-course follow-ups and evaluations.

Thought Leaders

Daniel Goleman, internationally renowned psychologist and author of What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters

Joseph Grenny, bestselling author of Crucial Conversations

Elad Levinson, leadership coach and business adviser. Read Elad’s LinkedIn series, Learn to Dance on Jell-O: Part 1 and Part 2.

Mirabai Bush, co-founder of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and author of Working with Mindfulness: Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations

Sylvia Boorstein, founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Monica Worline, co-founder and President of organizational development firm Vervago

Theresa Glomb, Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Minnesota

Jane Dutton, Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at the University of Michigan

Jutta Tobias, lecturer on Business Performance Management

Juliet Adams, Director of A Head for Work, a firm specializing in leadership and workplace productivity

Learn More

Sign up for our free email newsletter to find out when and how to register for future courses. Email mike@morethansound.net.

4 Tips for Introducing Young People to Mindfulness

Holistic Life Foundation

Introducing mindfulness to at-risk youth poses special challenges.

Ali and Atman Smith, and Andy Gonzalez of Holistic Life Foundation help children in one of Baltimore’s toughest neighborhoods find calm and confidence through yoga and meditation. Sam Himelstein, Behavioral Health Clinician at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center incorporates mindfulness with his young patients’ therapy.

All four men participated in last years Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth conference. They offered 4 practical tips to help educators, counselors and parents effectively introduce young people to mindfulness practices.

1. Meet them where they are. They may not be ready to sit upright, or even close their eyes. Start with simple steps, such as focus on your breathing.

2. Make it practical. Let them know that they can return to their breath, or focus on their thoughts no matter where they are or what they’re doing. This will help them practice more often.

 

3. Clarify the session. For instance, tell them, “We’re going to focus on our breath and notice whatever comes in.” It helps set expectations.

4. Don’t be attached to formality. Setting strict conditions is unrealistic. It may prevent people from wanting to practice.

HLF at TedX

Holistic Life Foundation

If you’re having trouble connecting with the young people you work with, fear not. There’s hope. It works. Holistic Life Foundation gave a TedX Talk about the effectiveness of their work in the community. HLF started in 2001 with 20 fifth-grade boys. The foundation’s after-school program introduced yoga, mindfulness, urban gardening, and teamwork. In a city where the dropout rate for high school students is routinely higher than 50%, 19 of those first 20 boys graduated and the other got his GED.

Watch the 2012 and 2013 Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth conferences for more insights behind the research and practice of mindful techniques in educational settings.

Source: HLF’s TedX Talk video from Mindful.org.

It’s Time to Demystify Meditation

meditation research

[Image Source: Know Your Images]

Meditation’s Unlikely Champion

Dan Harris, co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline, had a panic attack on air several years ago. As he recounts in his latest NPR interview, it’s the stuff of nightmares.

“My heart started racing. My mind was racing. My palms were sweating. My mouth dried up. My lungs seized up. I just couldn’t breathe,” he remembered.

After the ordeal, Dan discussed ways to address his panic attacks and stress with friends and health providers. Meditation was frequently suggested. But Harris remained a skeptic. “That’s only for people who are into crystals and Cat Stevens, use the word namaste un-ironically, and live in a yurt.”

Meditation still has a “bad rap” as too weird or difficult. But fortunately that’s changing. What helped changed Dan’s mind was the growing neuroscience research on the real benefits of the ancient practice.

Talk About the Research

Mirabai Bush and Daniel Goleman spoke about their experience of introducing mindfulness techniques to secular audiences – including the US Army. Here’s an excerpt from their discussion in the new print edition of Working with Mindfulness: Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations.

Mirabai Bush: For a long time there was a lot of resistance to introducing mindful techniques in some of the organizations I worked with. But as soon as people agree to try it, the benefits become very obvious. Participants become more calm, more clear. They begin to have better insight into what’s happening, and they begin to get along better with the people they’re working with. So once people agree to try it, there’s really no problem. But there is still resistance to trying it, although much less
since the publication of the neuroscientific research on mindfulness. All the work that’s come from Richard Davidson and others has really helped people get past a certain level of resistance and skepticism.

Daniel Goleman: I can give you a little background on that change. You mentioned Davidson. He is now a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Richard and I were fellow graduate students at Harvard. He was the other one who was interested in meditation. He did his dissertation on attention and so on, and he has gone on to develop a field called Contemplative Neuroscience, which has upgraded the quality of the research on mindfulness and meditation.

Until Richard’s work, frankly, some was great, and some was terrible. Now this research is using fMRIs and state-of-the-art brain imaging. What it’s showing is what we knew intuitively when we were in India, which is that these practices can be quite transformative. And if you practice them a lot, it’s really transformative. If you practice a little, it’s still transformative.

What we found in the research on relaxation was that one of the byproducts of focusing your mind is that your body lets go and relaxes. And the reason it lets go is that one of the things that keeps us stressed is these tight loops of thoughts and ruminations—what’s on my mind, what’s upsetting me—which are hard to let go. Meditation training, whether it’s mindfulness or any other kind of meditation, teaches you how to drop those upsetting thoughts. Our understanding is that it’s the letting go of those thoughts, putting your mind in a neutral or present place and keeping it there, that causes the body to be able to drop the tension, let go of the stress, and then get deeply relaxed.

10% Happier

Harris’ positive experience with meditation led him to write a book: 10% Happier: How I Tamed The Voice In My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, And Found self-help That Actually Works – A True Story.  The somewhat tongue-in-cheek title says it all. The hard-nosed reporter is still grappling with his new “identity” as a meditator. But the benefits aren’t lost on him, and he wants to encourage others – especially the chronically stressed, highly driven professional like him – to think twice before scoffing at the idea of sitting still to notice your breath.

He talks more about the book’s mission in the interview. “I honestly believe meditation is the next big public health revolution. The big problem is that there’s this PR issue around meditation. People think it’s either too weird or too difficult. And so my goal is to dispel both myths and to say, A, if a skeptic like me is doing it, you can do it. And, B, if somebody with the attention span of a kitten, like me, is doing it, you can, too.”

Resources

Articles:

Meditation: Breathing New Life into an Ancient Practice

What Mindfulness Is – and Isn’t

What Makes a Good Mindfulness Coach?

Mindfulness at Work: An Interview with Mirabai Bush

Videos:

What is Meditation? It’s Not What You Think

Bringing Mindfulness to the Mainstream

Mindfulness at Google

Podcasts:

Guided Exercise: Sensory Focus

Focus and Leadership

Finding Time for Mindfulness

Books, Audio, Video:

Working with Mindfulness (CD and download)

Cultivating Focus: Techniques for Excellence

Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth

Relax: 6 Techniques to Lower Your Stress

 

Our 14 Favorite Podcasts in 2014

2014 podcasts

This year we reached a record number of downloads of our podcasts. Thank you! We’re glad you find the content useful. We went back to re-listen to some of our most popular posts. It looks like the concept of focus and attention training were of most interest to listeners. Here’s a recap of the 14 Favorite More Than Sound Podcasts of 2014.

#14 Daniel Goleman talks about Focus on Bloomberg.edu

Dr. Goleman spoke with Jane Williams about the importance of teaching kids cognitive control, the pros and cons of mind wandering, and how to effectively manage distractions.

Listen to the podcast or the complete interview here.

#13 George Kohlrieser’s TedTalk on Negotiation

In this episode, we heard an excerpt from a TEDx talk given by hostage negotiator and IMD professor of leadership George Kohlrieser. As he tells it, successful negotiation, no matter how high the stakes, comes down to bonding. And it’s not only others who have the ability to take us hostage – sometimes we can do that to ourselves.

Listen to the podcast or the complete presentation here.

#12 Common Hiring Mistakes

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz spoke with Daniel Goleman for the video series Leadership: A Master Class. This excerpt of the conversation focuses on some common mistakes employers make while searching for the right candidate.

Listen to the podcast or watch the full discussion here.

#11 The Teenaged Brain

This is an excerpt from Dr. Daniel Siegel’s appearance on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River. He spoke with host Ben Kieffer about the misinformation around “bizarre teenage behavior.”

Listen to the podcast or the complete interview here.

#10 Why The Rich Care Less

Daniel Goleman spoke with Michael Brooks from the Majority Report on why inequality hurts empathy, the emotional impact of wealth and poverty and what we can do to create a more attentive and empathic society.

Listen to the podcast or the full discussion here.

#9 Teach Systems Awareness in Schools

Daniel Goleman spoke with Peter Senge, who pioneered bringing systems thinking into organizations, about its introduction to schools. You can read more about this concept in their book The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education.

Listen to the podcast.

#8 Failure is Essential for Success

Many of these episodes explore concepts and tools that are important ingredients of success. So you might be surprised to hear that this one is devoted almost entirely to failure. But to Bill George, failure is an essential ingredient itself, as you’ll hear in this excerpt from Daniel Goleman‘s series Leadership: A Master Class.

Listen to the podcast or watch the full discussion here.

#7 Master the Leadership Styles

Daniel Goleman has introduced 6 different leadership styles that can be used to get results. In this episode, he talks about how leaders can’t rely on just one or even two, but must become proficient in as many as they can. Together, the styles become a set of tools the most effective leaders can use in any situation.

Listen to the podcast.

#6 Creativity in the Workplace

Daniel Goleman and Teresa Amabile discuss some aspects of work life that are necessities for a company that depends on creativity.

Listen to the podcast or watch their entire discussion here.

#5 High Performance Leadership

Daniel Goleman spoke with George Kohlrieser for IMD’s Wednesday Webcast. The two discussed the role of attention in high performance leadership.

Listen to the excerpt or the complete discussion here.

#4 Don’t Write Off the Coaching Leadership Style

The coaching leadership style is the least used out of the six approaches. Yet it’s a style that can have a very positive impact on employee performance and bottom-line results.

Listen to the podcast.

#3 The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education

Daniel Goleman and Peter Senge discuss the three types of focus that should be included in classrooms: self awareness, empathy, and an understanding of our relationship with the world around us.

Listen to the podcast.

#2 Daniel Goleman Talks about Focus with Diane Rehm

Dr. Goleman spoke with Diane Rehm on what the latest science tells us and how we can sharpen our focus and thrive.

Listen to an excerpt or the full interview.

#1 Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Daniel Goleman spoke in-depth with KQED about why the ability to focus is the key factor in achieving success – more than IQ or social background. He also discussed how we can cultivate different types of attentiveness, from a narrow focus that shuts out the world to the “open awareness” that is receptive to seemingly unrelated ideas.

Listen to an excerpt or the full interview.

What is Mindfulness?

Stay tuned for details about our new podcast series launching in 2015: What is Mindfulness? More Than Sound’s Hanuman Goleman talks with a variety of mindfulness practitioners, teachers and scholars about the definition of mindfulness.

 

 

Round-Up: How to Help Kids Focus

How to Help Kids Focus

What if there was a way to teach our children skills that could help them achieve better academic performance, enhance personal development, and improve relationship skills?

This past Sunday, Daniel Goleman gave a special presentation at JCC Manahattan about his latest book with Peter Senge, The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education.

More Than Sound was at the talk. We live tweeted some key points throughout the talk. Below are some highlights from the #triplefocus feed, with excerpts from a few of Daniel’s articles for supplemental reading.

A wealth of information means a poverty of attention.

Key takeaway from Pay Attention to Attention:

“…a constant stream of distraction draws attention away from what’s immediately at hand; those seemingly urgent rings and alerts may not be crucial. Working to maintain clear focus on a task – despite intrusions – consistently occupies the brain’s circuitry for attention. “Cognitive effort” is the technical expression for the mental attention demanded to process our information load. Just like the muscles in our bodies, attention can become fatigued. Common symptoms of attention fatigue are lowered effectiveness, increased distractedness, and irritability. These symptoms also indicate depletion in the energy required to sustain neural functioning.”

Read the full article

We need to take back choice when it comes to our attention.

Key takeaway from Think About the Benefits of Unplugging:

“We can be more skillful at not being hijacked by distractions. We may notice them, but there’s a big difference between noticing that something may be occurring, being aware of it, and being hijacked by it, being pulled away from one’s central focus.”

Read the full article

Concentration predicts performance.

Key takeaway from The Benefits of a Productive Cocoon

“We all need a productive cocoon, a time we protect our focus from the multitude of distractions: emails, tweets, updates, and the rest of the onslaught. Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, psychologists at Harvard Business School, studied 238 members of teams engaged in creative projects, from designing new kitchen gear to complex information technology systems. The team members kept daily diaries of their work days, including how productive and satisfying they found each day. The most productive and satisfying days, hands down, came when they were able to have unbroken time to focus on their project. These productive cocoons are where they came up with small wins, like innovations, problem solving, and taking concrete steps toward their goal.”

Read the full article

The leader of a group sets the emotional mood of the group.

Key takeaway from Be Mindful of the Emotions You Leave Behind:

“Not all emotional partners are equal. A power dynamic operates in emotional contagion, determining which person’s brain will more forcefully draw the other into its emotional orbit. Mirror neurons are leadership tools: Emotions flow with special strength from the more socially dominant person to the less. Another powerful reason for leaders to be mindful of what they say to employees: people recall negative interactions with a boss with more intensity, in more detail, and more often than they do positive ones. The ease with which demotivation can be spread by a boss makes it all the more imperative for him to act in ways that make the emotions left behind uplifting ones.”

Read the full article

Emotions are contagious.

Key takeaway from How Moods Impact Results:

“While mild anxiety (such as over a looming deadline) can focus attention and energy, prolonged distress can sabotage a leader’s relationships and also hamper work performance by diminishing the brain’s ability to process information and respond effectively. A good laugh or an upbeat mood, on the other hand, more often enhances the neural abilities crucial for doing good work.”

Read the full article

Additional resources:

Raising Students Emotional IQs

PODCAST: Daniel Goleman on The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education

VIDEO: Peter Senge on Teaching Systems Thinking in Schools

 

Hone Your Focus: Learning and the Brain

learning and the brain

Daniel Goleman addressed the importance of adopting attention-training strategies in the classroom at today’s Learning and the Brain conference in Boston.

Focused, Organized Minds: Using Brain Science to Engage Attention in a Distracted World explored how today’s technology is creating more classroom distractions and disorganization. Yet, academic testing and Common Core State Standards require students to be more focused and organized in order to succeed.

We followed attendee’s enthusiastic commentary about Dr. Goleman’s presentation on Twitter. Below are some highlights from #LB39 feed, with excerpts from a few of Daniel’s articles for supplemental reading.

From @onelearner1

There are deeply rooted beliefs in education that overly favor IQ over EQ #LB39

Key takeaway from It’s Not IQ Part 2: Use The Triple Focus Approach to Education:

There’s no doubt that IQ and motivation predict good grades. But when you enter the working world, IQ plays a different role: it sorts people into the jobs they can hold. Stellar work in school pays off in getting intellectually challenging jobs.

Read the full article

From @HeatherSugrue

#lb39 @DanielGolemanEI Attention is a mental muscle – we can strengthen it.

Key takeaway from What Helps Kids Focus – and Why They Need Help:

The more a youngster can practice keeping her focus and resist distraction, the stronger and more richly connected this neural real estate becomes. By the same token, the more distracted, the less so.

This mental ability is like a muscle: it needs proper exercise to grow strong. One way to help kids: give them regular sessions of focusing time, the mental equivalent of workouts in the gym. I’ve seen this done in schools, with second-graders becoming calm and concentrated with a daily session of watching their breath – the basic training in bringing a wandering mind back to a single focus.

Read the full article

From @Demers_k8lyn

#LB39 Amygdala Highjack – We can only pay attention to what we think is threatening. @DanielGolemanEI @learningandtheb

Key takeaway from The Two Biggest Distractions – and What to do About Them:

The brain’s wiring gives preference to our emotional distractions, creating pressing thought loops about whatever’s upsetting us. Our brain wants us to pay attention to what matters to us, like a problem in our relationships.

Read the full article

From @malalande

With digital devices, we process 5 times more info than before according to @DanielGolemanEI at #LB39

Key takeaway from Think About the Benefits of Unplugging:

There is now quite a bit of evidence to indicate that the circuits in the brain that play a role in regulating our attention, and very rigorous behavioral measures of attention, change in response to mindfulness meditation practice. One of the central indices of that change is our capacity to not be hijacked by distracting events in our environment, particularly distracting emotional signals, which often pull us away from our task at hand.

Read the full article

Additional resources:

The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education

Focus for Kids: Enhancing Concentration, Caring and Calm

Focus for Teens: Enhancing Concentration, Caring and Calm

Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference Videos – 2012 and 2013

All Atwitter About Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman TedTalk

Daniel Goleman discussed emotional intelligence in the workplace at yesterday’s The Art of Leadership conference in Toronto. We followed attendee’s enthusiastic commentary about Dr. Goleman’s presentation on Twitter. Below are some highlights from #TheArtOf feed, with excerpts from a few of Daniel’s articles for supplemental reading.

From @LoKyriacou

Quote from @DanielGolemanEI: “When we leave an interaction with someone we have the opportunity to leave them in a better place” #TheArtOf

Key takeaway from Be Mindful of the Emotions You Leave Behind:

“While a boss’s artfully couched displeasure can be an effective goad, fuming is self-defeating as a leadership tactic. When leaders habitually use displays of bad moods to motivate, more work may seem to get done – but it will not necessarily be better work. And relentlessly foul moods corrode the emotional climate, sabotaging the brain’s ability to work at its best.”

Read the full article

From @KarenJurjevich

@DanielGolemanEI #artofleadership IQ15% & EI 85% = star leadership performance

 Key takeaway from What Predicts Your Success? It’s Not Your IQ:

“To further understand what attributes actually predict success, a more satisfying answer lies in another kind of data altogether: competence models. These are studies done by companies themselves to identify the abilities of their star performers. Competence models pinpoint a constellation of abilities that include grit and cognitive control, but go beyond. The abilities that set stars apart from average at work cover the emotional intelligence spectrum: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social effectiveness.”

Read the full article

From @TrevorCarrier

#TheArtOf every time you turn to the digital screen, you let someone else take over your inner agenda ~ @DanielGolemanEI yes!!

Key takeaway from Focus on How You Connect:

“Spreading ourselves too thin across an ever-growing number of platforms of interaction can weaken our personal bonds. We shouldn’t confuse all of our social media connections with the rich personal world of real-time relationships.

But getting lost in a world of too many digital connections can be very unfulfilling and isolating. That’s why when it comes to close personal connections, try to prioritize your communication methods. When possible, make the interaction face to face – especially if you need to discuss something important.”

Read the full article

From @caweenet

The higher you go in the organization, the more emotional intelligence you need.@DanielGolemanEI.@TheArtOf #leadership #communications

Key takeaway from IQ or EQ? You Need Both:

“Claudio Fernandez-Aroaz, former head of research at Egon Zehnder International, spent decades hiring C-level executives for global companies. When he studied why some of those executives ended up being fired, he found that while they had been hired for their intelligence and business expertise – they were fired for a lack of emotional intelligence. Though they were smart, they were bullies or otherwise inept at people management.”

Read the full article

From @CaseP

IQ is a threshold ability — it’ll help you GET the job. Emotional intelligence will help you SUCCEED at it. — @DanielGolemanEI #TheArtOf

Key takeaway from Let’s Not Underrate Emotional Intelligence:

“A century of IQ research shows intelligence predicts what job you can get. But once you’re in that position, everyone else you work with will have passed the same IQ requirement. Other abilities actually determine outstanding performance – especially emotional intelligence.”

Read the full article

From @TrevorCarrier

#TheArtOf best boss: made me feel like I could do anything. Worst boss: made me feel like I couldn’t do anything @TheArtOf

Key takeaway from How to Overcome a Survival Mode Culture:

“Having a secure base at work is crucial for high performance. Feeling secure allows a person to focus better on her work, achieve goals, and perceive impending obstacles as challenges, not threats.

When you offer a secure base, you begin to manifest trust and safety. When a person feels safe in her environment, she can transition from basic survival mode thinking to a more complex outlook, looking for opportunities and chances to thrive.”

Read the full article

Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Learn to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. Register for American Management Association’s course Leading With Emotional Intelligence. Dr. Goleman shared his decades of practical research to develop this seminar with AMA that explores the EI competencies. Attendees will be shown how to use them to go from being a good to a great emotionally intelligent leader. You’ll get tools and techniques to help you deepen your ability to lead and become more effective in helping your organization deliver the results it needs.

The courses are available onsite or online.

Image: TED

A Smart Recipe: Systems Thinking and SEL

Kids working together

The more we understand the process of developing systems intelligence, the more we see the close connections between understanding self, understanding other, and understanding the larger systems to which we all belong. This suggests great potential for partnership between SEL educators and systems thinking.

Decision Making

For instance, these concepts have a unique synergy when it comes to enhancing personal decision making. The self-awareness and self-management tools SEL offers enhances cognitive efficiency of all kinds: if a child can calm her disturbing emotions, she can think about systems more clearly. And the empathy and social tools of SEL opens students to the perspectives and feelings of others, so they can better take the other person into account. Combine that with the systems insights that allow a more comprehensive understanding of human dynamics, and you’ve got the constructs and tools for better interpersonal decision making – whether it’s how to handle a bully, or what to do about not getting invited to the prom.

Our capacity to care and our systemic awareness are inter-connected. In some very fundamental sense, all ethics are based on awareness of the consequences of actions. If I can see no effect of my actions on another, I see no ethical choices. We are seeing that the more kids are steeped in systems thinking, the more they express their innate predisposition to care at a larger and larger scale, whether it is in measuring how water is used in their school in a water-scarce region, or sharing the food from their school garden with their family.

Cognitive Development

A second potential area of synergy could be a rethinking of children’s cognitive development and potential. The findings of the past ten years or so, especially the work with young children, raise some big questions for the established views of the “cognitive ladder,” which place skills like synthesis at the top, with the presumption that this is what students will learn in college or graduate school.

We suspect the cognitive ladder as most educators know it today is shaped more than we can see by the reductionist bias of the western theory of knowledge. This is a theory that fragments, breaking complex subjects into smaller and smaller pieces. It is why, literally, an ‘expert’ in modern society is someone who knows a lot about a little. With reductionism comes a natural bias toward analysis over synthesis, studying the pieces in isolation or analyzing subjects within arbitrary academic boundaries, like the separation of math from social studies or economics from psychology. This bias toward fragmentation and analysis is evident in the typical progression embedded in standard curricula toward more and more narrowly defined subjects, which progression continues right through college.

But if we start with a view that everything in the universe is interdependent, and that all humans have this innate systems intelligence, then we would have a different cognitive ladder. It would be more of a spiral. You would start with the idea that real thinking involves both reflecting on inter- dependence as well as about elements individually: synthesis and analysis. You would integrate movement along these two dimensions over time with a developmental progression.

Transform Pedagogy

A third important synergy between SEL and systems thinking has to do with transforming pedagogy and the culture of school. For example, a key to making such a spiral view of cognitive-emotional development practical in real educational settings is profound respect. You don’t try to teach kids something that has no meaning to them, something that does not connect in any way with their lives. But unfortunately, that’s still the modus operandi for 80-90% of school curricula. In contrast, students at every level find SEL compelling because it helps them deal directly with the issues that matter most to them: bullying, friendships, getting along, and the like.

We believe a wonderful joint project would be for leaders in SEL and systems education innovation to work on a common set of pedagogical principles, like:

  • Respect the learner’s reality and processes of understanding.
  • Focus on issues that are real to the learner.
  • Allow students to build their own models, construct and test their own ways of making sense of problems.
  • Work and learn together.
  • Build students’ ability to be responsible for their own learning.
  • Encourage peer dynamics where students help one another learn.
  • Perceive teachers as designers, facilitators, and decision makers (more than “curriculum deliverers”). This requires that teachers have strong content knowledge, continually being advanced through robust peer-learning networks.
 This is an excerpt from Peter Senge’s portion of The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education.
triple focus

Image: TEDxKids Brussels

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