Boost a Team’s Emotional Intelligence for Better Business Results

Our friends at CCL got it right again.  More on emotional intelligence….

When emotional intelligence is mentioned, there may be agreement that it’s indeed a great thing for someone to be more relatable, more self- aware and better at controlling impulsive behavior.
But does the emotional intelligence of a team really have bottom-line consequences?

While a strong consensus may not have existed before, that is changing as more companies recognize the value of EQ. Many organizations are now hiring for emotional intelligence (EQ) and evidence is mounting that EQ pays off in higher sales and productivity, and lower turnover.

Consider, for example:

A large cosmetics company that now hires for EQ have on average sold $91,000 more than salespeople who were not hired before the new system was set up.

The International Journal of Organizational Analysis finds that EQ competencies were positively linked to team cohesiveness.

Manufacturing supervisors who received EQ training cut lost-time accidents by half and formal grievances by 20%. Plant productivity improved $250,000 over set goals.

Firms with high EQ managers found 34% higher growth profits.

Emotional intelligence really is the secret sauce,” says James A. Runde, author of “Unequaled: Tips for Building a Successful Career Through Emotional Intelligence,” and a special advisor and a former Vice-Chairman of Morgan Stanley.

Runde says that too many employees don’t realize that “brains and hard work are not enough” to give them a successful career, and too many leaders don’t understand how the lack of team EQ skills hurt performance for the team and for the organization.

“In the era of artificial intelligence and virtual reality and robots and drones – all those things are wonderful and productive, but for people trying to succeed in a solutions business, you’ve got to have people who can relate to other people,” he says.

According to psychologist Daniel Goldman, there are five elements that define EQ:

  1. Self-awareness. Those who are aware of their emotions don’t let them get out of control and are honest with themselves about their strengths and weaknesses. They work to improve and become better performers.
  2. Self-regulation. As they are aware of their emotions, these people don’t let themselves get too angry or jealous and don’t make impulsive decisions. They show thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity and the ability to say no.
  3. Motivation. Those with high EQ are very productive, love a challenge and are effective in whatever they do. They know the importance of working for long-term success.
  4. Empathy. They are adept at recognizing the feelings of others, even when they’re not obvious. They’re good listeners, honest, don’t stereotype others or rush to judgment.
  5. Social skills. People with high EQ are easy to talk to and are eager to focus on helping others be successful. They are team players who are good communicators, help resolve disputes and are relationship builders. 

Marian Ruderman, senior fellow and director of Research Horizons at the Center for Creative Leadership, is also an associate member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence.

“You may have the smartest, best idea, but you won’t be able to execute it if you can’t relate to people,” she says.

Ruderman says that she doesn’t believe leaders pay enough attention to EQ on their teams, partly because they may lack the “vocabulary” to discuss EQ and its implications. She says that as more organizations focus on processes and not just tasks, EQ will become a much more important part of the success equation.

“I think people used to be more homogenous in the way they worked, but now we must all work together and it’s much more diverse and we must all find ways of working together,” she says. “That means teams must embrace EQ.”

It’s also important to realize that just because a team has emotionally intelligent members does not mean it will automatically lead to an emotionally intelligent group, points out research in Harvard Business Review from Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff.

Further, building team EQ can be more complicated because teams interact at more levels, both as a group and individually, they say.

The most effective teams have the “emotional capacity” to face difficult situations and seek feedback on processes, progress and performance and set up norms to respond effectively to the emotional challenges a group confronts daily. They have a “can-do attitude,” they say, and are optimistic, positive and create an affirmative environment.

Are you confronting the emotional challenges that manual processes have inflicted on you or your teams? Download the Process Improvement Playbook: Overcoming the Hurdles of Manual Processes in the Workplace.

Ruderman suggests that any leader trying to get teams to develop greater EQ is to begin with “why it’s important.”

One of the ways to do that is by making the business case of how EQ can bring greater bottom-line results now and in the future, Runde says.

“People might think that books on EQ belong in the psychology section of a bookstore, but they really belong in the business section,” Runde says.

He adds that if organizations don’t prioritize EQ, “then you will be just a run-of-the-mill service provider,” he says. “Sure you’ll get business, but you’ll never become a trusted advisor. You’ll never be the company a client calls before they call anyone else.”

Runde says leaders must help team members understand they have to:

  • Turn client relationships into revenue. While it’s important to build relationships, employees must understand that relationships are assets that are only worth something if they are turned into revenue. Employees need to build relationships, learn to look for new business, ask for the order and then get the transaction.
  • Be an advisor, not a vendor. When making a pitch to a client, don’t focus mostly on your company’s credentials and a bunch of charts and graphs. Instead, craft a “can do” pitch that addresses the positive outcome the client wants rather than a bunch of technicalities or the “plumbing” that will be required, he says. “Subtly shape the selection criteria to fit your strategies,” he says.
  • Don’t push too hard. Competitors may exaggerate the truth, beefing up their own capabilities and promising big outcomes or deeply discounted prices. That’s why it’s critical for leaders to encourage employees to not be “pushy” with clients so that the clients feel they’re being rushed into a decision. Personal connections are still important even when dealing with tough competitors.
  • Be good listeners. “Some people listen to respond, and some listen to listen,” he says. “It’s the people who listen to listen who learn the most and establish trust.” Only when clients believe your team has their best interest at heart will they trust enough to reveal their goals and issues. Once that is understood, then a range of options can be crafted for the client. “You are not a used car salesperson simply pushing to close this deal,” he says. “You want a loyal client who will come back again and again with their problems.”
  • Stay in touch. Once a deal is closed or a project is finished, maintain open communications with the client and be alert to how stakeholders are reacting to the finished deal. Changing markets may mean the project needs to be fine-tuned over time – or even redone. Creating long-term client relationships requires “a significant investment in time and cost,” but can even lead to a client calling your organization to implement a deal originally pitched by a competitor, he says. “That’s because you’ve put in the time with these people and they trust you,” he says.
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Giving the gift of feedback

3 FEEDBACK STEPS THAT WON’T CRUSH YOUR TEAM – insights from our friends at CCL…

3 Feedback Steps That Won’t Crush Your Team

Giving feedback is one of the most important—and most challenging—tasks all managers face.

For first-time managers, it can be especially difficult.
No longer a peer to coworkers, new leaders take on the role of “boss.”
Instead of focusing solely on their own career and development, they must develop their teams and work toward achieving broader company goals.
One of the best ways to help a team improve is to provide frequent, effective feedback. But what exactly is feedback? And how can first-time managers deliver criticism without isolating their team?

Three key points to remember about feedback are:

  • It should be specific and fact-based.
  • It should be “wise” and focus on employee development.
  • It should be ongoing and not a one-time event.

What Is Feedback?

Feedback can be in the form of one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, or a simple conversation at the coffee maker.
Feedback can be positive or negative, but the common theme is that it is actionable information about how someone is doing in meeting specific goals.
“We all know receiving feedback can be awkward or painful at times,” says William Gentry, author of Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work for: A Guide for New Leaders. “Delivering it can be just as awkward and painful. But providing positive and negative feedback to your direct reports, staff, or team is the only way they will know how they are performing well, or if they are not, how they can become better.”
In other words, giving feedback means holding employees accountable for their responsibilities. Without feedback, teams won’t know when they are performing well and when they are not.
Helpful feedback guides employees; that’s why giving it is crucial to being a successful manager.
Just the Facts, Please!

Confronting employees with negative feedback can be uncomfortable, especially for first-time managers.
Telling a former coworker, and possibly friend, that they are not doing something well isn’t easy. Emotions can run high. That’s why it’s important to stick to the facts.
Gentry’s book offers a simple, three-step model for giving nonjudgmental feedback—SBI: Situation, Behavior, Impact.
As the book explains, this process can be a tool for giving both positive and negative feedback.

SBI Model

1. Situation–Describe the specific situation in which the behavior occurred. For example, “This morning at the 11 a.m. team meeting …”
Avoid generalities, such as “one morning last week,” as they can lead to confusion.

2. Behavior–Describe the actual, observable behavior being discussed. Keep to the facts. Don’t insert opinions or judgments.
For example, say, “You interrupted me while I was telling the team about the monthly budget,” instead of “You were rude.”

3. Impact–Describe the results of the behavior. If the effect was positive, words like “happy” or “proud” help underscore the success of the behavior.

For example: “I was impressed when you addressed that issue without being asked.”
If the effect of the employee’s behavior was negative and needs to stop, managers can use words such as “troubled” or “worried.”
For example, “I felt frustrated when you interrupted me because it broke my chain of thoughts.”
Because you are describing exactly what happened and explaining your true feelings—not passing judgment—the employee is more likely to listen and learn.
Someone who has gotten into the habit of interrupting may not have realized the effect of his or her behavior.
An employee who took the initiative on a project may decide, after positive feedback, to continue being proactive.

Give Wise Feedback

Wise feedback is given with the understanding that the ultimate goal is to support and help that employee.
In his book, Gentry suggests using a variation of the following phrase (based on the work of researcher David Yeager) when giving tough feedback: “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations, and I know that you can reach them.”
Such a phrase demonstrates belief in employees and their ability to learn from mistakes or ineffective behavior.
Wise feedback is about teaching and supporting employees; it is never about “fixing” them or implying there is something “wrong” with them.

Keep It Going

The most effective feedback is given more than just once or twice a year at formal performance reviews. It’s timely, meaning that it’s offered soon after the incident, and it’s ongoing.
This allows team members to adjust their behavior, as needed, and then get more input on how they are progressing on their goals.
Keep in mind, however, that in especially emotional or stressful situations, it’s okay to wait to give feedback until both parties have calmed down. Remember SBI, and stick to the facts!
To learn more about what it takes to become a successful manager, see William Gentry’s book, Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work for: A Guide for New Leaders.
  

UTags: communication, feedback, First-time Managers, Leadership Systems & Models, Team Development

@vinceliuzzi

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4 Smart Home Equity Moves

by Vince LiuzziHome equity-160616
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First

If you’re a homeowner, your mailbox is probably piled high with offers to “get the cash you need fast” with a home equity line or loan. It’s easy to understand why; with attractive rates, borrowing flexibility, and tax benefits, home equity borrowing can truly be a smart way to get the affordable money you need to finance life’s expenses.

Yet, even with all those benefits, home equity borrowing may not be the right decision for everyone. The housing recession several years ago was proof of that, as homeowners took out home equity loans only to see the values of their home decline, leaving them underwater and drowning in debt.

If, however, you have equity in your home and you use it wisely, you might be able to use a home equity line or loan to strengthen your financial situation. Here are four smart ways to do this:

Home renovations. The wisest use of home equity credit for home improvements involves renovations that add to the value of your home, such as a kitchen remodel or the addition of a bathroom. It’s important to note, however, that there’s a limit to the value they add, so you want to be conservative in your remodeling efforts. Home improvements that are cosmetic only, such as landscaping or adding a swimming pool, may not increase your home’s value.

Debt consolidation. Are you carrying extra debt, such as high-interest credit card debt?  Consider consolidating your balances with a home equity line or loan, which might allow you to lower your monthly payments and the interest you’ll pay over the life of your debt. If you do this, be careful not to run up new debt with your credit cards.  Otherwise, you could worsen your financial situation and end up putting your home at risk.

Emergency expenses. Life is unpredictable and there may be times when you get hit with unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or costly car repairs. In these situations, having a home equity line of credit can be a smart and more affordable way to handle these expenses.

College financing. With the lower interest rates and potential tax savings, home equity borrowing may also be a more affordable alternative to parent and student loans for financing your child’s education. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t tap the equity in your home for your child’s education if it will put you at greater financial risk later on in life.

Depending on the situation, there may be other smart uses of home equity, such as starting a business or investing in a second home or property. The important thing to remember about home equity is that you should always use it wisely, and not for frivolous purchases of things you don’t really need or can’t afford. Otherwise, your debt could pile up faster than those offers in your mailbox!

Posted in Financial Planning, Home Loans, Personal Finance

7 Easy Ways to Put Yourself in a Better Home Buying Position

by Vince Liuzzi
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First

House for sale-160418

Spring isn’t just the start of baseball season; it’s also the beginning of another big season – the spring home buying season. And just like baseball, the home buying season can be highly competitive, as multiple buyers often compete for the same home.

What can you do to put yourself in better position to get the home you want – and get a leg up on your competition? Here are seven smart moves you can make:

  1. Tend to your credit. Good credit is key to obtaining a mortgage and the best possible rate, yet many borrowers don’t deal with their credit until they apply for a mortgage. Before you begin shopping for a home, get a copy of your credit report to ensure it’s accurate and to rectify any problems.
  2. Get pre-approved. One of the most important steps you can take to improve your negotiating power with a seller is to get a pre-approval from a lender. A pre-approval is a conditional approval from a lender that demonstrates that you’re a qualified buyer, giving you an advantage with sellers over your non-pre-approved competition.
  3. Set a budget. Determine how much you can afford before you start shopping for a home. You may be pre-approved for a higher mortgage amount, but you may not feel comfortable making higher payments. Review your debt payments and the amount you will put up for a down payment.
  4. Treat your home as an investment. Your home may very well be the largest investment you make in your lifetime. As such, you’ll want to make sure that you’re investing your money wisely. You wouldn’t want to overpay for a home that’s in need of significant repairs. That’s why it’s important to do your homework to determine how much the home is really worth.
  5. Connect with the seller. Many sellers are passionate about their homes and want to know that the new buyers will take good care of the home. One way to forge a personal connection with the sellers is to include a letter with your offer to tell them about yourself and why you love the home.
  6. Get a buyer’s agent. An agent can help you with the paperwork and give you valuable advice on how to make the best offer for your situation.
  7. Prioritize home features. Most of us would love to find a home that meets all of our qualifications, but those who have gone through the process know that you sometimes have to make concessions. Determine the features you absolutely require in a home and prioritize them.

By taking these simple steps, you just might gain a negotiating advantage and score that perfect house.

Posted in Financial Planning, Home Loans, Personal Finance

Shedding the Weight of Credit Card Debt

by Vince Liuzzi
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First

 

160304With spring just around the corner and summer not far behind, many people are focused on getting into shape. While it’s always important to focus on our physical health, it’s equally important to focus on our financial health. And now is the perfect time for those carrying “extra weight” from debt to shape up.

It’s estimated that in 2015, the average amount of credit card debt in America was more than $16,000 per household. And, according to data from the Federal Reserve, total credit card debt in America as of August 2015 was $918.5 billion.

A smart way to shed added interest
So if you’re carrying the weight of extra debt, what can you do? If you’re a homeowner, you might consider one possible solution – a home equity loan or line. With competitive rates, potential tax savings (be sure to consult your tax advisor), and the flexibility to borrow money for any purpose, a home equity line or loan can be a great way to consolidate credit card and other high-interest debt.

Keep in mind, however, that if you decide to consolidate credit card debt with a home equity loan or line, you’ll be securing that debt with a second mortgage on your home, so be sure to make all your payments in a timely manner.

Put your debt situation to the test
Before you make any decisions on home equity debt consolidation, you should analyze your current debt situation to see how much you’re paying in interest. You’ll want to consider the following questions:

Do you have enough equity in your home?

How much will you save on interest?

Will consolidating debt improve your cash flow? Or help you pay off the debt more quickly?

Will you be disciplined enough not to run up your credit card balances again if you pay them off?

We can help you determine if home equity borrowing is a smart way for you to trim down your excess debt. As for the other “weight” you may be carrying, the forecast calls for beautiful running and cycling weather in the weeks ahead!

Posted in Home Loans, Personal Finance

Be Mortgage-Ready in 2016

Mortgage-160129by Vince Liuzzi
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First

 

It’s that time of year again; the time to think about the goals you’d like to accomplish over the next 12 months. If one of those goals is owning a home, there are some important steps you can take to put yourself in the best position to get the mortgage you’ll need to make it happen:

  • Do your homework. Before you start shopping for a home, take some time to study the real estate market and the prices of houses in your target area. Real estate websites, such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com make it easy for you to browse by area and price ranges.
  • Determine how much you can afford. Once you get a sense of home prices, figure out how much of a mortgage you can afford. With a conventional mortgage, lenders generally require that your housing expense not exceed 28% of your income. This number is slightly higher for non-conventional loans, such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. You can do a quick analysis of how much you can afford by calculating and comparing your income and expenses.
  • Know your credit score. One of the most important factors in determining your creditworthiness, or your ability to qualify for a mortgage, is your credit score. A good credit score will not only help you qualify for a mortgage, but also help you earn a better interest rate, thereby saving you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Your credit score is actually determined from the information on your credit report, so it’s important to request a copy of your credit report to review your credit history and to ensure no errors have been made. You can obtain your credit report from any one of three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
  • Do some credit cleanup. By getting a copy of your credit report, you’ll be able to determine what, if any, areas you need to clean up to improve your credit score. Here are some basic steps you can take:
    • Address any errors. Credit report errors are very common, so if you see something that may be inaccurate, be sure to dispute it. Ignoring an error could end up getting you a higher interest rate, which could cost you significantly.
    • Get current on any debt. If you have delinquent accounts, be sure to make good on any overdue payments as soon as you can. If you can’t afford to pay the entire balance, contact the creditor and work out a payment plan. Don’t ignore what you owe, as inaction could cost you greatly.
    • Pay all your bills on time. Get into the habit of paying every bill you have on time.
    • Limit new debt. While it may be tempting to save 20% on your purchase at a department store if you open a charge card, doing so could hurt your credit score. Try to limit the amount of credit lines you have.
  • Get pre-approved. Before you start shopping for a home, you should obtain a pre-approval from a lender. A pre-approval offers several advantages. It will let you know how much you can afford, allowing you to focus on homes in your price range. Plus, it will give you a negotiating edge with sellers, informing them that you’re a serious and qualified buyer.

So, as you can see, putting yourself in a better position to obtain a mortgage isn’t rocket science. However, if you follow these steps, you can get the best rate and be over the moon in 2016.

 

Posted in Banking, Home Loans, Personal Finance

5 Cool Reasons to Use Your Credit Card

Credit card-151214by Vince Liuzzi
Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer, DNB First

 

Credit cards. We’ve all been warned about the dangers of using them. Some experts advise you to cut them up. Others offer creative suggestions to discourage usage and avoid temptation, including putting your credit cards on ice.

Before you do anything drastic, freeze.

A credit card can be a very useful tool to help manage your finances. Here are five smart reasons to use one:

  1. Expense tracking. One of the biggest financial mistakes people make is not knowing how they spend their money. That’s why one of the first recommendations financial experts make is to determine your expenses and set up a monthly budget. If you pay your bills using a credit card, you’ll be able to easily track expenses. And if your credit card offers a year-end summary of purchases, you can make annual income tax preparation a whole lot easier.
  2. Credit building. If you’re starting out and plan to buy a home or car someday, you’ll need to establish a credit history. Credit cards are a great way to do this. Keep in mind, however, that to maintain a strong history, you’ll need to make payments on time and limit the amount you borrow.
  3. Savings. Most credit card issuers, including DNB First, offer credit cards with rewards for the purchases you make. You may be able to earn cash back or enjoy savings on travel, merchandise, and other goods and services.
  4. Protection and peace of mind. Credit cards often offer travel benefits, including emergency assistance and travel accident insurance. Your credit card also comes with another level of protection, purchase protection, which covers you if you have a problem with something you purchase or if someone makes unauthorized purchases with your card.
  5. Emergency money. Life is unpredictable and there may be times when you encounter financial emergencies. With a credit card, you can easily access the money you need. If you’re traveling, it’s always wise to bring along a credit card, which offers worldwide acceptance.

Use credit cards wisely.

Despite the advantages of using credit cards, they still present risks if not used wisely. Here are some ways to ensure you avoid credit card trouble:

  • Pay off your balances in full each month to avoid interest charges.
  • Don’t charge anything if you don’t have the money to pay for it.
  • Make your credit card payments on time. Every time.
  • Avoid opening too many credit card accounts, including department store cards.
  • Review your statements and activity to ensure no unauthorized purchases have been made.

With the holiday season upon us, now is a great time to be disciplined with credit card usage. The last thing you want to do is charge more than you can afford – and well… lose your cool.

Posted in Banking, Personal Finance