The four-book Emotional Intelligence series is a great resource to support your emotional well-being and that of your employees. In our review of the first two volumes of "Emotional Intelligence," we explored how incorporating mindfulness into your work life can lead to better decision making and that empathy is a crucial leadership skill.
The series continues by introducing two other concepts essential to professional success and well-being. Resilience explains why bouncing back from inevitable rough patches is crucial for your success — and offers tips for doing just that. And the final volume, Happiness, is a great primer on employee engagement.
Diane Coutu's opening article, "How Resilience Works," frames the concept perfectly: "Why do some people and some companies buckle under pressure? And what makes others bend and ultimately bounce back?" Coutu offers a number of factors that make people and businesses more resilient, including an acceptance of reality (Pollyannas are not resilient, she says), a strong sense of values or meaning, an ability to improvise or be creative, a sense of humor and an ability to form and use connections with others. Coutu describes in researched detail how each factor contributes to our emotional well-being.
The essay "Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure" by Shawn Actor and Michelle Gielan describes resilience as a muscle that gets stronger with daily exercise. The best way to stay resilient? Build "downtime" into your daily routine. When you take time daily to reflect and relax, you strengthen your resilience muscles. Like a distance runner, if you work too hard for too long without recovery, you burn out. "Our brains need a rest as much as our bodies do," according to the article.
Finally, Daniel Goleman helps you understand how "self-talk" — what you tell yourself about what's happening — can be a source of resilience rather than self-doubt. When things go wrong, says Goleman, "Give yourself a cognitive intervention ... Challenge your downbeat thinking, and replace it with a positive outlook." As a whole, the Resilience volume offers plenty of actionable advice like this.
Harvard Business School's Teresa M. Amabile may know more about employee engagement and workplace motivation than anyone. "The Power of Small Wins," written by Amabile with Steven J. Kramer, is perhaps the best piece in the entire "Emotional Intelligence" series. If you want to understand what motivates employees, it's a must-read. Amabile conducted three decades of research with thousands of employees and found that the No. 1 driver of employee motivations is "making progress in meaningful work." Daily "small wins" — a sense of consistent, forward momentum in meaningful work — drives engagement. The article explains how managers can create a workplace climate that fosters employee motivation.
"Creating Sustainable Performance" by Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath is also essential reading. It describes the four steps necessary for supporting thriving employees:
- Give employees some discretion or involvement in making decisions.
- Share relevant information with employees.
- Make sure your workplace culture offers respect and civility to all.
- Offer employees feedback on their performance so they can improve.
Perhaps more importantly, the article shows how your organization can do each of these four things.
The title of Annie McKee's article says it all: "Being Happy at Work Matters". She uses extensive research to show that happy employees are more productive and stay at their jobs longer. Employees will want to work for you if you help give their work meaning beyond profit, treat them well and recognize and reward them for good work.
In summation, the Resilience volume is great for business owners and leaders who need to maintain their energy during tough times, and the Happiness volume is an excellent primer for creating a workplace full of engaged employees. As a whole, the "Emotional Intelligence" series delivers the latest research and great advice on four hugely important topics.
Read about "Emotional Intelligence" Series Volumes 1 & 2 here.
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