Friday, April 10, 2015

On feedback and self-improvement

I recently had an opportunity to participate in a self-improvement survey, focusing on emotional intelligence, or EI (sometimes called EQ, as a reflection of IQ). In his 2004 article from Harvard Business Review, “What Makes a Leader?” Daniel Goleman lists five components of emotional intelligence:
  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skill
Comparing myself to this list, and matching to my own survey results, I consider myself strongest in Motivation and Social Skill. For example, Goleman attributes a socially-skilled leader as persuasive, maintaining an extensive network to influence change. Building a relationship network is an important part of leadership. Relationships are currency; leaders sometimes need to use relationships to make deals, smooth over conflicts, and generally just get things done.

Referencing my Motivation skill, Goleman describes a highly-motivated person as having a passion for work and new challenges, and unflagging energy to improve. I enjoy finding new challenges and opportunities to stand out. Although this needs to be taken in moderation, to avoid overload.

I consider Self-awareness to be my development area. Goleman indicates self-aware people recognize how their feelings affect them, other people and their performance. While I believe I understand how my own feelings affect me, my EI feedback suggests I need to recognize how I affect others.

For example: Before I came to Morris, I worked in the Office of Information Technology at the Twin Cities campus for twelve years. I often leverage that background to inform my decisions. Sometimes in meetings at Morris, I may refer to my experience there by saying “When I was in OIT…” But that phrase sends the wrong message.

My growth opportunity is to be aware of the reputation that precedes me. I am not “OIT” but by continuing to reference OIT in my discussion, I send the message that I am.

Feedback is a gift, and I welcome these gifts. If you observe me using “When I was in OIT…” statements, find a private moment to share that feedback with me.
image: Mark Smiciklas

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