01/29/16

Assessing Emotional Intelligence – The Results Are In

For the past two weeks I have been writing about emotional intelligence and its role in family business. From the many responses I have received, it is clear that this topic has struck a chord with readers.

This week I want to briefly show the value of applying emotional intelligence assessment within a family business. The case is presented by author Ernesto Poza in the 4th Edition of “Family Business,” published by South Western Cengage Learning. I use this text in my Family Business Management class in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York.

Poza writes about a family with challenging dynamics. They wished to create an environment of engaged conversation while ensuring all stakeholders were sufficiently respected. Following an assessment of the family’s facility for emotional intelligence they developed a Family Rules of Conduct. The rules they agreed to were:

  1. Focus on the future, not the past.
  2. Be a good listener.
  3. Put yourself in the other’s shoes.
  4. Stay focused on principles, not personalities.
  5. Make “I” not “You” statements.
  6. Say “Got it” whenever speech-making blocks progress.
  7. Disagreements are okay, as long as we are committed to arriving at an improved final decision.

What do these rules tell you about the family’s overall level of emotional intelligence?

Do you think the application of emotional-intelligence assessment tools was useful in this case?

01/22/16

Emotional Intelligence – Do We Have Two Minds?

Last week I wrote about why family businesses are particularly susceptible to the impact of emotional triggers. I observed that, well-directed, emotions can be useful. Successful business families blend cognitive perspectives–thinking, understanding, learning, remembering–with the energy of emotions. At the intersection where these “two minds” meet, the capacity for cooperation, innovation, growth and longevity is born.

The term ’emotional intelligence’ (EI), became popularized in the book by that title by psychologist Daniel Goleman. Also called ’emotional quotient’ (EQ), the idea can be stated as consisting of four capability factors present in differing degrees in each individual:

  1. The ability to recognize one’s own emotions;
  2. To recognize the emotions of others;
  3. To discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately;
  4. To use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence

There are tools for assessing emotional intelligence factors such as empathy, relationship skills, family relations, social dynamics at work, job performance, leadership and more. With these tools you can identify your own and your team members’ emotional intelligence quotients. While individuals are often found to be stronger in some areas and weaker in others, the good news is that EQ levels can be increased.

Next week I will present how a family integrated principles of emotional intelligence into their family-business model.

01/17/16

You Are So Emotional!

Yes, I am emotional. l am your sister, brother, son, daughter, mother, father, another family member. We not only work together, we grew up in the same family. We share common experiences and emotional history–ingrained touch points that can trigger easily. Because of this familiarity, emotions can spill over into a family business much more often than would be acceptable in a non-family business.

In themselves emotions are not bad; they are valuable. Their energy drives the human psyche; they serve as social signals. When funneled properly emotional energy can be used to achieve significant positive outcomes. Unbridled, emotions can cause untold devastation.

Denying one’s emotions or discrediting those of others is destructive. It is important to cultivate an emotional intelligence to recognize our own and other people’s emotions; to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately. We are then better equipped to manage our thinking and behavior to maintain harmony in our families and success in our family enterprises, especially during times of increased stress.

Emotional intelligence is so vital to the success of family businesses that as part of my Family Business Management class at Baruch College, City University of New York, I have students assess their own level of emotional intelligence, and – since we can increase our capacity for emotional intelligence – develop a plan for doing so for themselves.