Today’s workplace is ever changing. Emotional Intelligence is at the forefront of the conversation and its turning the management world upside down. Companies are heavily investing in training programs which help their managers become better tuned to deal with people’s emotions. This then creates spaces for these employees to perform to the best of their ability, driving employee engagement to new highs.We had the pleasure to host a group of amazing panellists that provided us with amazing insights about the uses of emotional intelligence as a driver for high performance.
- Lamya Alaoui, Managing Director at CoachMya
- Sarah Mills-Krutilek, Sr. Recruiter, Marketing and Communications at Dropbox
- Lynnea Brinkerhoff, Executive Coach, Conflict Resolutionist, Cultural Strategist at Brinkerhoff Consulting
- Allan Hall, Ast. Vice President at Heffernan Insurance Brokers.
- Christopher Westcott, VP of Culture and Employee Experience at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
“If you’re in the business of innovation and you’re in the business of creativity, then you’re in the business of emotional intelligence and psychological safety” – Christopher Westcott
Christopher spoke about how the Federal Reserve has so many groups of people which have different, and separate interests and how he had to appeal to them all. The answer he found was in research into the neuroscience of emotional intelligence. He outlined how we our brains are hardwired to scan our environments for threats, or possible threats, all the time. He then dove into the research that shows that we do out best creative work, when we feel that the space we are in is safe, and only then do we become the best employees we can be.
“Once you fulfil all the steps, and you get to the top, that’s where you want your workforce. This is where you get self-actualization, and that’s where you get your best work done.” – Allan Hall
Allan spoke about how benefits help people become the best employees that they can be. This, he put from the perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. On the basic level, one must be paid enough and have their health and food covered because, if they do not, they will spend their brain power doing so. This deters people from being their most effective selves. He then covered how to achieve and unlock each step in the pyramid, so that an employee will reach the last point, in which, they become the best employee they can be.
“For each stone, there is a statue inside of it. It is the job of the manager to find that sculpture” – Lamya Alaoui
Lamya spoke of the potential each and every employee has within themselves. She spoke about her experiences and failures and what shes learned from it. This was very powerful message. She also spoke about how you, as a manager, cannot make someone motivated on the long term using external rewards. For intrinsic motivation to foster, a successful manager must create a safe environment in which it can grow and flourish. This can be achieved by leading with the head, but also with the heart.
“Our work as people developers is to assist our leaders in closing the gap between what they say is important, and what is actually built.” – Lynnea Brinkerhoff
Lynnea talked about how one would go about solving the gap of different strategic priorities between managers and employees in a 5 step plan. This plan included creating a culture in which people understand that nobody is wrong and nobody is right. This is easier said than done for several reasons, and will take large amounts of practice. One of the most important takeaways of the talk, was that for progress to occur, there has to be mutual respect when people are face to face, and also when they are not.
“We value humility over technical skills, and what you end up having is an organization with tons of humble individuals.” – Sarah Mills-Krutilek
Sarah spoke about the importance of cultural add, rather than cultural fit. This was done masterfully with many examples of the difference between the two with personal anecdotes. She later dove into the streamlined hiring process she was able to implement in Dropbox which was done while still maintaining the integrity of the hiring process. She then moved on to talking about the unique hiring perspective that the Dropbox culture presents. This being, the matriarchal structure their teams have and the input employees contribute when hiring people for their teams.
After the speakers answered the prescribed questions, we hosted an activity. In this activity we used the Beaconforce framework as a point of reference for discussion. The attendees were then separated into different groups led by our speakers to come up with a solution to the issues at hand.
After great collaboration and deliberation, the teams came back to share their solutions to the problem presented. The solutions were amazingly thought out, and ranged from approaching the employee with a casual conversation to a two-way conversation where the employee themselves can suggest solutions to her problems. The approach people took was extremely cautious, but at the same time very firm. This was due to the topics of conversation that the speakers brought up during the panel, which made all participants of the business case think outside the box and put their Emotional Intelligence skills practice.
Lisa Paredes, Brand and Community Manager at Beaconforce | Lisa joined Beaconforce's early days to be a part of its mission to create work environments that allow people to be the best versions of themselves. Her passion for business and people led her to join Beaconforce's San Francisco team and help create a world where every single person wakes up in the morning and can't wait to go to work.