Why HR should get comfortable with the f-word

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If there is one word in business that makes people roll their eyes – it’s the f word! Not the swear word – that’s common and almost welcomed in business – far worse is that dreaded word feelings!

The word that makes many people at work wince and squirm - and feel generally uncomfortable.  The word which often pre-empts illogical, ambiguous, and unpredictable behaviour.  The word most busy people just don’t have time for in this fast paced and competitive world where getting jobs done and products out the door – is hard enough without any other added complications!

The fact is - feelings drive human performance and unless your business is run by robots – human performance drives business performance!  Today technical competence is a given - understanding what makes people tick is the differentiator – and your competitive edge.

The needs of clients, customers and employees have significantly changed and are far more complex than ever before.  The more well off people are – the more complex their needs.  Therefore understanding the wants, needs, motivations and behaviours of people enables you to predict and anticipate far more accurately – what they will do and how they will act.  This is Emotional Intelligence at its best.

A term most people have heard of – but a concept most people misunderstand – or confuse it with something to do with being “warm and fuzzy”.  The fact is nothing could be further from the truth.  Emotional Intelligence is a critical business skill and is not for the faint hearted!  This competence is crucial to innovating, creating and delivering products people will buy, for building cultures where employees are driven to serve and over achieve – and is critical to influencing buying decisions.  So where do we start?

Although there are about 12 core competencies to develop – these are four tips to get you started:

Tip 1 - Develop Self Awareness.

This must always be the starting point. In the words of Socrates, “Know thyself”. Once a person understands what signals, cues, impressions and perceptions they personally give off - only then will they become more attuned to the reasons behind behaviours, reactions and responses in others. The more attuned a person becomes to their own behaviour, the more effective they will be at analysing, trend spotting and pattern identification of these in others.
Tip 2 – Master Self Management.

The ability to override emotions, feelings and reactions which interfere with getting the job done - or undermine relationships. Often the trait that distinguishes an emotionally intelligent person from another. This characteristic requires mental strength to reign in emotions – which enables a person to remain rational in order to make better decisions and solve problems.This skill also enables a person to anticipate tricky situations ahead of time - and subsequently prepare for them reducing knee jerk emotional responses which drive down productivity and moral.
Tip 3 - Activate Your Intuition Skills.

This skill is essential for innovation and creativity and in understanding people - and therefore essential to business sustainability.Most people believe that intuition is a trait - that you either have a predisposition for or not; you were born with it – or not.However intuition more often than not is a result of data analysis, pattern and trend spotting and rational and logical thinking – not a gut feeling - although this does come into it too.Intuition is an aptitude that simply requires a deeper consciousness of what is really going on around you and why.To activate simply start tuning in more by listening, observing and being more curious as to why people do the things they do and behave the way they do!

Tip 4 - Understand the Role of Mindsets.

As a business owner and leader you must understand the impact of mindset on performance.In simple terms a mindset is “a way of thinking that determines a person’s behaviour, outlook and attitude”.As the owner or leader of a business you are the most influential person in driving the high performance mindset of your team.You must consciously and purposefully choose behaviours, actions and activities which directly influence how your people think and feel about the business - and about you as their leader.Remember the quality of their mindsets are a direct reflection of yours. That’s the truth and there’s often nothing warm and fuzzy about that!
About the author 

Anna-Lucia is an award winning educator, speaker and writer in the fields of management and education and is the author of The Four Mindsets – How to Influence, Motivate and Lead a High Performance Team. (Wiley 2015.) Visit www.hcmglobal.biz

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