Browsing Category

Teamwork

article Career communication skills Corporate emotional expression Goal Setting happiness Mental Health and Wellness problem-solving Success Teamwork Work Work-Life Balance Working Mom

Your Emotional Intelligence Quotient is Key to Your Success Equation

Inspired by this week’s episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast with Brenda Lee, Emotional Intelligence Expert, who believes in the power of identifying our perspective and pushing through our conditional gaps to tap into our mind’s subconscious.


Part of the human experience is suffering.  And sadly many of us have experienced that suffering at the hands of another person in our lives, whether it’s the negative comments made by our father-in-law brushed off as ‘just his personality’, a boss who always asks us to stay late making our work-life balance that much harder to attain, or a poorly timed “friendly reminder” from the HOA about the state of our lawn, all of this suffering is imposed by and met with an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (or in the case of suffering’s worst offenders, the lack thereof).  And while we all know the old adage rings uncomfortably true, that we can’t control others, only ourselves, by improving our own EI (Emotional Intelligence) we will change our own perceptions of, and approaches to suffering, and model, for the less emotionally intelligent, the common denominator in the happiness and success equation.


The theory of EI was brought to the forefront of American psychology by Daniel Goleman in the 1990s.  While the concept was widely accepted in the field of psychology, employers were reluctant to embrace EI in the workplace.  Now, however, research has found that emotional intelligence is not only foundational to achieving personal happiness and success, but that it is also the strongest predictor of workplace effectiveness.

Here are the five key components of Emotional Intelligence, how to improve your skill set in each, and how each component, when put into practice, can benefit your personal and professional life.

Self-awareness

Individuals who are self-aware can identify their emotions and the impact of those emotions on their thoughts and behavior; they know their strengths and weaknesses and have self-confidence.

  • Keep a journal— Journals help to improve your self-awareness. Spending just a few minutes each day recording your thoughts can begin to move you toward greater self-awareness.
  • + The pay-off: Your mental health. Uncontrolled and unaddressed emotions and stress can take a toll on your mental health.  Learning to understand, identify and get comfortable with your emotions in order to manage them will help you to improve both your relationship with yourself and others, thereby leaving you feeling less lonely and isolated.

Self-regulation

Individuals who are able to self-regulate can manage their emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments and adapt to changing circumstances; they can control impulsive feelings and behaviors.

  • Hold yourself accountable— Easier said than done, but if you have a tendency to blame shift, it’s time to take some ownership. Make a commitment to, and a habit of, admitting your mistakes, and accepting the consequences.  You will have more respect for yourself, and quickly earn the respect of those around you.
  • + The pay-off: When you understand your emotions and you are capable of controlling them, you’re better able to express how you feel and to understand how others are feeling. This improves your communication and will allow you to establish stronger relationships both at work and at home.

Motivation

Individuals who are self-motivated work consistently toward their goals and have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.

Empathy

Individuals who have a strong capacity for empathy understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of others; they pick up on emotional cues.

  • Pay attention to your body language— An often underrated, but hugely important facet of how others perceive us, perceiving them, is our body language. Learn to control your own body language to prove you are someone who is truly empathetic and open, and learn to read others’ body language to get an accurate read of how someone truly feels.
  • + The pay-off: By investing time and effort to really pay attention to others, you’ll actually gain insight into your own emotional state as well as your values and beliefs. When we pay attention to others, their needs, and their overall well-being, we foster safety and establish trust in our relationship.

Social Skills

Individuals who possess strong social skills can maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team and manage conflict; they recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.

  • Learn conflict resolution— No one likes conflict, but it is inevitable. Knowing how to manage conflict and to successfully resolve it is essential to honing your social skills and finding success in both your personal and professional endeavors.
  • + The pay-off: When you are in tune with your emotions you are better able to connect to other people and the world around you. Your emotional intelligence directly correlates to your social intelligence; the greater your social intelligence the more your stress will be reduced and the more balanced your nervous system will be through social communication leaving you feeling loved and happy.

While suffering is a part of the human experience, it doesn’t have to define it.  When we take the time to invest in our own emotional intelligence, we benefit not only our own happiness and success, but we also become a multiplier in the lives of those around us.  By taking ownership over our own progress at home and in the workplace, we can reduce our own suffering and the suffering experienced and imposed by others.  The work is worth putting in for the reward, as psychologist Travis Bradberry notes, when M.B.A. students received emotional intelligence training (not a usual part of the M.B.A. program), “even after graduating from the program [they] had raised their [emotional intelligence] scores 40 percent.  They had trained their brains.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice make things habitual.”

article Career communication skills emotional expression happiness Life Hack Teamwork Work at Home Work-Life Balance Working Mom

Kindness Deserves a Seat at the Table, Whether in the Kitchen or the Boardroom

Inspired by the Harvard Business Review article, “Don’t Underestimate the Power of Kindness at Work”.

One of the unspoken challenges of working from home, working remotely, or working largely in isolation is the lack of authentic opportunities for social interactions with colleagues, management, and our professional tribe.  Many of us are seeing the lines of our home life and work life blur for the first time due to the pandemic, juggling the demands of childcare and Zoom meetings, and our working hours stretching late into the evening.  Our carefully established boundaries, routines and life as normal have been uprooted and our aptitude for kindness is essentially non-existent, all while our appetite for human connection becomes nearly insatiable.  We turn to social media to replace our face-to-face connections, which only furthers our inner turmoil and loneliness in a culture that seems to value division over unity with Keyboard Karen’s lurking in the shadows ready to add their vindictive two-cents to any, and every, post.  Is it any wonder that we have lost touch with one of the greatest attributes we can embody and the windfall of benefits therein?  It’s time to adapt to our new normal and to begin sprinkling kindness like confetti once again.


The Windfall of Benefits

With opportunities for ‘praise in passing’ limited by the pandemic, it is important to recognize the tangible benefits of kindness in the workplace.  A yearlong compilation of surveys conducted by Gallup found that recognition at work could help to, “reduce employee burnout and absenteeism, and improves employee well-being.”  Decades of research show that seemingly simplistic gestures like offering a compliment, words of recognition, and praise can help individuals to feel, “more fulfilled, boost their self-esteem, improve their self-evaluations, and trigger positive emotions.”  The affirmation offered by praise confirms our self-worth and contributes to our positive view of ourselves.

Next, the act of being kind contributes to our perceived sense of life’s meaningfulness.  When we are kind to others, it confirms our belief that there is more to life than ourselves.  These acts of kindness also change the way we see ourselves, as our reputation and esteem in the mind of others is improved.  We assess ourselves based on our behavior, so when we are kind to others we view ourselves as kind people, and therefore a good person.

Finally, giving to others makes us even happier than receiving from others.  In various studies, participants who complimented one another found that giving the compliment made them even happier than receiving one.  Compliments may seem trite, but the psychological steps taken to construe and offer a compliment are much deeper.  When we give a genuine compliment it requires us to,  “think about someone else—their mental state, behavior, personality, thoughts, and feelings.”  Thinking about others is a necessary step in feeling connected to them.  And this human connection, that we’ve all been desperately seeking throughout the pandemic, can lead to enhanced positivity in relationships ultimately driving our own happiness forward.

Bringing Kindness Back to the Workplace (Even If It’s Remote)

In order to create a culture of generosity and kindness within an organization, it is imperative that leadership leads by example. “By giving compliments and praising their employees, leaders are likely to motivate team members to copy their behavior and create norms of kindness in teams.”

Next, leaders can establish a time during Zoom meetings for a “kindness round”, close a call with an opportunity for employees to acknowledge each other’s work, or encourage a weekly “bright spot” submission in the weekly meeting notes.  Just a few moments taken out of the norm can have significant impacts on moral and social connection.  The key is consistency and an opportunity for peers to recognize one another publicly.

Finally, small spot bonuses, or tokens of appreciation, even if it’s ‘just’ a gift card for coffee or a thoughtful e-mail, can trigger the same psychological benefits of large acts of kindness without significant expense.


While we are busy switching loads of laundry, and prepping dinner between e-mails and Zoom calls, it can be easy to dismiss acts of kindness as frivolous.  But, if we can pencil in one small gesture of kindness a week, or a day for our colleagues, management and professional tribe, the overwhelming minutia of survival mode can begin to look a bit more like thriving for ourselves and others.  Our children are our best examples of unencumbered kindness, offering a hand picked dandelion, a smile to a stranger, or the last bite of their prized dessert.  Let’s become a bit more childlike and a lot less jaded; the world needs more kindness than Karen’s.

Goals Productivity Teamwork

Not taking the easy road.

This week, we had the opportunity to interview Heidi Bartolotta, the founder of Moms Making Six Figures. Heidi is a fantastic mentor and friend, but most importantly, she is a wonderful mother to her beautiful daughters! Heidi has been very successful as an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy road for her. Read on to learn more about her journey!

Why did you start Moms Making Six Figures?

If I’m being honest, my initial motivation was completely selfish; I just wanted to create a corporate level income without the pressure, time commitment and rigid structure of a corporate work environment.  What I found, however, was that my purpose evolved very quickly into a desire to help other women achieve the financial success that I was achieving. I have a deep passion to assist women in figuring out the unique challenges each one of us faces as we strive to create businesses that impact the futures of our respective families in powerful, long-lasting ways.  Every time I see photos of one our “Moms” with her child at a mid-morning school event or early afternoon sporting event, knowing that that photo wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t worked together building her business to “get her home,” I feel an amazing sense of pride and accomplishment!  To help women bridge a financial gap at home or help them be more present in the lives of their loved ones, that is for me, why I continue to push in and enjoy this business.

What was it like to make that leap from corporate life to be an entrepreneur?

It was definitely a struggle at first, and I had doubts as to whether I could really be successful.  Questions like “do I have what it takes,” “can I persevere,” “will people I know think I’m crazy,” “what if I fail;” they all popped into my head on almost a daily basis.  One bad interaction with someone could erase the confidence I had been feeling earlier in the day when several other people had seen the opportunity the way I saw (and still see) it.  Focusing on the positive and pushing out the negative was a skill that took a good bit of time to develop, and it was something that in the beginning had to be a very conscious, intentional, daily practice.  The importance of good time management and organization also increased dramatically in importance.  Just because I could now attend every school or extracurricular activity of my girls didn’t mean I should if I was going to build my business into what I needed it to be.  The difference was that when I worked instead of attending a soccer practice, it was my choice and I did it for the long-term well-being of my family; not because my time belonged to a company.

What are the three most important habits in your life that you can attribute to your success?

In no particular order:

Time management.  This is a discipline that has been critical in building my business.  When I look at it, my calendar “doesn’t lie;” meaning that if I haven’t done the work I know it takes to build my business, it’s right there in black and white (yes, I still like paper, though I’m transitioning to full digital!).  As I mentioned above, we women have so many things in our lives outside of our careers pulling at us from all directions for chunks of our precious time.  Being honest with myself and scheduling my work hours and following through on what I committed to do for my business (sometimes even in the face of missing something I would much rather do or see) is vitally important.  There is just a huge difference between knowing what I need to do and doing what I need to do, and time management is what holds me accountable to myself.

Long-term vision and Grit.  These two are so intertwined with each other that I will talk about them together.  Focusing on my long-term goals has helped me tremendously with regard to not getting knocked off course by short-term setbacks and outright failures.  My success in this business was not a slow, steady climb.  Even when I did everything I was supposed to be doing, following all the training I’d received, putting in the work, developing systems for my team and focusing on the positive, the journey was very akin to a roller-coaster.  In those moments when I would look around and think, “what am I doing wrong, why isn’t this working the way it’s supposed to,” it was my long-term vision that kept me in the game.  The ability to look beyond the obstacle right in front of me and see the financial life I want for me and my family in the distance, reminding myself that this is worth it, has proven invaluable.  And the practical side of the equation; the will to win, to not quit, to not let distractions and short-term desires get in the way of accomplishing my long-term goal, that’s what I mean when I say “grit.”  It’s perseverance, will, “stick-to-it-iveness,” and determination all rolled into one.  Combined with long-term vision, there is very little one can’t accomplish.  Now don’t think I always do what I should and don’t get discouraged from time-to-time, because I absolutely do; but these two traits have helped me consistently stay the course and do what I need to do, which has resulted in a great deal of success.

What has been the greatest reward for you since embarking on this journey?

The financial rewards are great, but they aren’t the greatest.  Building a team of women committed to themselves and each other, helping other women achieve their goals and knowing that the more I do that, the more I help my own business, what a blessing!  Knowing that if I make sure the focus of what I do each day is on helping others is the very thing I need to do to achieve my own success is incredible; no stepping on others to climb some corporate ladder, no glass ceiling, no total sacrifice of all I hold dear to achieve financial success and security.  What a paradigm shift this has been for me, and I am just so grateful that I took that first step to build this business.

 

problem-solving Teamwork Work

Putting the “We” in Team: The Value of Teamwork

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is in the team.” – Phil Jackson

You’ve heard it before, no (wo)man is an island. From the workplace to life in general, the truth is that if you have an “only I can fix it” attitude, you’re just making life more difficult for yourself.

When it comes to solving life’s problems, we as moms may sometimes (ok, most of the time) feel like we can solve everything, but we can solve our problems more quickly and with less stress when we accept others’ help. As hard as it may be to give up total control, you and everyone else around you will be better off if you work as a team.

So, if you have a partner (in business or in life), then you have someone on your team. While building a team may be easy, maintaining it is a whole other story. Here are some skills that are key to putting the “we” in team.

The 3 Cs: Skills for Successful Teamwork

1. Communication

Since you’ll be working together—at work, in business, or in your household—effective communication is the most important skill to master for successful teamwork. Listening to each other helps show support and lets everyone know what page you’re on (hopefully the same one!).

For example, if your husband has an important meeting the following morning, pay attention to his request for help and come up with a solution together. You may have to drop the kids off in the morning, but perhaps your partner can pick them up in the afternoon. If one team member doesn’t listen to the other, there will likely be serious miscommunication, which can lead to unintended mistakes (like leaving the kids stranded at school!).

How you communicate matters just as much. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, how we communicate is the most important factor in determining team success. So, be aware not just of the words you’re using, but also of your body language and the tone of your speech when you’re communicating.

2. Compromise

As long as more than one person is involved in problem-solving, there are bound to be a few conflicts along the way. Compromise in most situations isn’t a bad thing, it’s a necessity—it demonstrates that you’re putting the good of the team ahead of your own wants. So, how do you compromise?

Start by understanding what the other person is trying to say. Put yourself in their shoes and make an effort to understand their point of view. Oftentimes we are simply listening to answer—impatient to get our point across—rather than listening to understand.

For example, when hunting for a new office location, your business partner may want to stay closer to the highway because it’s more convenient for her drive from home; in contrast, you may want your office to be located in the heart of downtown because it’s closer to the business district and better for client meetings. Although there are obvious benefits to both locations, the compromise here could be to choose an office location somewhere that’s not too far of a drive from each of your homes but remains convenient for most of your clients.

3. Cooperation

Don’t you just hate it when you’re in a team at work and there’s that one person who doesn’t pull their weight? Don’t be that person—even with your spouse at home! Actively participate in decision-making and performing tasks, even if it’s just deciding who will take out the trash or run to pick-up the pizza for dinner (yes, we all occasionally revert to pizza night when life is hectic!). This makes you a more valuable team member and earns your partner’s respect.

Even when you’re super busy with work, don’t use it as an excuse to completely tune out at home. Letting your spouse do all the “heavy lifting” at home will only result in resentment, and we all know it’s pretty much downhill from there!

Cooperation may also mean taking turns. For example, you may decide to work full-time while your significant other pursues their education, and then switch when it’s your turn. This way, everyone feels respected.

The Value of Teamwork: Succeed Together

Teamwork is about problem-solving together for the benefit of the team. No one has to lose in order for each individual to win. So, rather than shutting out or excluding other people’s ideas or opinions, be open to other ways of doing things. Try to think positive: Being part of a team means more great ideas, which equal more solutions!

With these 3 skills, you and your team will be well on your way to success together—whatever that looks like for you.