Showing posts with label Emotional Intelligence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emotional Intelligence. Show all posts

July 6, 2019

Arrogance And A Messy Head

While sometimes children behave like "know-it-alls"...

Often an attempt to showcase what they've learned or to build their self-confidence. Sometimes, it's also to bully others.  

More unusual though is to find an adult that thinks and actually says they know it all. 

But sure enough, I ran into someone who told me (about technology):
"I know everything!"

And they said it with a straight face. 

Literally, they told me how they came up through the ranks and knew EVERYTHING with emphasis!

Moreover, they told me that if I didn't know something, I should go ahead and ask them because they would most definitely know it.

So I respect all people and certainly admire those who are knowledgable and talented in their fields. 

But something felt very wrong about an adult who feels that they have to go around bragging about the depth of their knowledge--and that their knowledge is apparently infinite (at least that's what they espoused). 

I wondered to myself--is the person arrogant and a big mouth or the opposite--lacking in self confidence and therefore needing to boast and show off to compensate for their inadequacies?

When they were talking, it seemed like their head was getting so big and full of themself that it would just explode!

Most adults with emotional intelligence realize how little they know, and the older they get the more they realize that they don't know in life. 

Especially, people of faith recognize that G-d is all-knowing and all-powerful, and we are but mere "flesh and blood" and truly just a speck of dust in the universe.

So truly smart people are humble and they look to learn from others, rather than preach and teach in a monologue of hubris.

Like many people that get too big for the britches, G-d usually brings them back down to Earth and their head to size.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 17, 2019

You Can't See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 

But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can't see yourself. 

It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 

And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 

When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  

No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it's like a ghost out there--we are blind to it. 

To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 

That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 

To change, learn, grow--to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  

You can't see yourself until you can.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 13, 2019

Colleagues That Care

I loved this from a colleague the other day.

When things got a little tough in the office, I came in the next day to 6 smiley faces lined up on my desk. 

This is something that I really appreciate from some people:

Their HUMANITY.

Even though my colleague faced the same tough day, she was thoughtful of others and the impact on them (not herself). 

There are some amazing people out there, and I thank G-d for putting them in my orbit. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 12, 2018

The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.

I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:

- Communication - needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.

- Trust - must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 

- Collaboration - must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 

If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.

Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 

No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2018

Sexual Harassment No, No, No

So I took this training about sexual harassment etc. 

There were some good general tips for managers confronting these challenging situations:

1) Address it quickly
2) Discuss it privately
3) Specify the problem behaviors
4) Get commitment that it won't happen again
5) Document what occurred

It's not rocket science, but thought this was useful guidance. 

Unfortunately, people don't always behave appropriately, but hopefully, individuals and society as a whole can learn to do much better.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 18, 2018

Listen Better, Empathize More

So I am working on myself to improve and be a better person.

Recently, I had a number of experiences with people telling me of some very trying circumstances.

And at first, I found myself listening and talking to them about it, but then my mind started to get distracted by other things going on and other problems in my life that I needed to deal with.

So after we finished speaking about their respective family, work, and even health problems, I felt that I may have cut off some of these conversations too early or without enough empathy. 

After clearing my head, I thought to myself, I really want to listen better and empathize more. 

And so I went back and did just that. 

I found each person (in person, by phone, or email), and I said that I felt sorry for what they were going through, and I asked more questions and tried to really just be in the moment and there for them.

They seemed to each really appreciate me taking the time and effort to come speak with them and that I cared. 

I know that I am human and make mistakes, but I want to continually grow and do better in life. 

In this case, listening better and empathizing more--it felt great and I learned to listen to my conscience and do more when I think it's right! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 17, 2018

Nothing Personal

There's this funny line that some managers use with their employees.

It's when they harshly criticize, pick on, or even bully their hard working and good people.  

What do they say when they do it:
"It's nothing personal."

Ha, that's sort of funny, but really it's sad. 

I asked an executive colleague about this and this is what they profoundly said:
"It's my favorite line when the boss says it's nothing personal. Of course it's personal. Is there anyone else in the room!"

When people misuse/abuse their power to hurt others whether at work or even in other situations like with small children or anyone else in a subordinate position:

- That's not business.

- That's not professional.

- That's not being a good human being.

People are not punching bags because someone else is having a bad day. 

We need to rise above the occasion and be better than that. 

It's better to be humane, compassionate, and emotionally intelligent. 

And not just because someday, we are all in that position where someone bigger is facing off against us.

But rather we need to behave kindly to others, because they too are G-d's children and our brothers and sisters, and it is the absolutely the right way to behave--whether it's business or personal. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 20, 2017

Good Face, Ugly Mask

So many faces, so much phoniness. 

Why can't we just deal with genuine people?

Not like the dummies in this picture. 

Everyone seems to put on a face. 

One person comes in the room, puts on a big smile and then drops it like you do your pants in the bathroom (excuse the comparison).

But it's just so wax!

Another person is talking it up, but you can see just under the thin veneer, they are a boiling powder keg ready to go off. 

Faces are for expression--to feel and to share. 

However, they are used to deceive and fool the world around them.  

Is it a face or a mask.

What's behind it--good or evil?

If you don't look past the superficial then you are the real dummy.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 12, 2017

Potty Mouth Award

So I had to laugh when I saw this Potty Mouth "work of art" award. 

And it had a real potty in it too!

It reminded me of some foul-mouthed, but fun-spirited colleagues who actually used to keep a scorecard in the office with tick marks for each occurrence of cursing by person.

Let's just say that there were some clear winners on this account.

In many cases, they did it as a vent for all the frustration at work and also because they thought it was funny. 

I remember my dad who was very religious and he used to say jokingly and with a big smile:
"Don't use that f*ckin language with me!"

Growing up as a Jewish kid even from the Bronx, it was never really an issue for us.

Although even I have to admit that sometimes hearing someone get really angry and spewing off like that--while not appropriate, it does let you know where their head is at--at least for that moment in potty time.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2017

Character Building Day

So I really like this...

A friend told me that when they have a really tough day, they call it:
"A Character Building Day!"

I thought that was pretty astute. 

When people are up against the wall...

And they feel like they practically have their hands and legs tied...

And the world is spinning around them out of control...

And others are throwing tomatoes, darts, arrows, and all types of other sh*t their way...

- We can either just close our eyes, feel powerless, get upset and depressed, and basically give up

OR

- We can see the tough times as challenges--however great--to build our character.

Every situation is a learning and growth opportunity. 

Don't give in--Get up and fight.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

Yes, many days are character building days--it doesn't always feel good--often it feels horrible--but we can approach it with the right attitude and help shape our character and soul for the better.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2017

No Smokestacks Here

So I heard something good about human capital that I wanted to share:

It goes like this:
"There are no smokestacks here, only people!"

We can't treat "human capital" in our organizations the way we treat industrial/capital assets in our factories. 

The industrial revolution--along with the sweatshops and smokestacks--have been overtaken by the service and information age.

G-d has blessed us with an abundance of wonderful material things that can now be largely produced by automation and robotization--letting us focus more than ever on developing our people, nurturing their ideas, and realizing their innovations. 

In our organizations, the human assembly line has given way to thinkers and innovators.

Sure, we have to build things and sustain ourselves, but the people behind the things are what counts and not just the things themselves. 

We've grown from heartless slave labor and sweatshops to emotionally intelligent, compassionate, and thriving humans beings in the workspace--or so we strive for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 12, 2017

Feeling Good Vibes

So what a nice compliment...

I'm talking with someone this week.

They're new, and so I tried to be generally nice and ask about them, show interest, and just be overall friendly and welcoming.  

It was amazing--these little things, and they made someone else feel comfortable and happy. 

They are smiling and go to me:
"I get good vibes from you!"

Wow, good vibes--awesome!  

And now I was happy too. 

I thought to myself, how often we goof and give off the wrong vibes and how easy it really is to just treat most people decently and sincerely, and get a good reaction. 

Yes, not everyone is easy to get along with and not everyone is nice.

But generally, I think it's good to try to be the type of person that others feel good vibes from. 

I'll take that and continue to try and spread the wealth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2017

The CEO and The Janitor

Wow, I heard a powerful story from a colleague that I wanted to share.

The colleague's father was a industrial psychologist and he would go into some relatively big organizations to improve the functioning and culture. 

One of the things that he would do is get the CEO and the janitor in the same room together. 

And he would say:
"Both of you have vital jobs in the organization and you need to appreciate each other!"

At this point, the CEO and the janitor would be looking around the room super quizzically.

And the psychologist would to the janitor and say:
"The CEO's job is critical, because without the CEO, we wouldn't have the leadership and vision for the organization to be successful, and you wouldn't have a job and salary.

Then he'd turn to the CEO and  explain:
The Janitor's job is critical, because without the janitor, we wouldn't have a clean and functioning building and facilities for everyone to do their jobs and be successful, and you wouldn't be able to come to work ever day."

It's really amazing that despite all the fancy titles, corners offices, and rich compensation packages for some, really everyone in the organization is vital in their own way!

We need to remember that when we deal with others that they are human beings--in the image of G-d--and we need to treat all with the utmost dignity and respect for both who they are and what they contribute. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 5, 2017

The Meaning Of Pain

Wow, I am so impressed with my daughter.

I spoke with her this evening and she has grown into such a smart, mature, and good person. 

We were talking about some hard times.

And she said to me so smartly (and I am so proud of her):
"The reason that we have pain is to avoid more pain."

Wow...think about that for a moment. 

Everyone gets physical, emotional, and even spiritual pain in their lives. 

Even little things like stubbing your toe, getting a small burn, or a paper cut--these things give you a instant or more of pain...but it jolts you into attention of what to avoid and to action how to protect yourself to prevent further and worse pain down the road. 

A little pain now can fortunately save you a lot of pain later!

(Or in the gym they say, "No pain, no gain.")

My father used to say about difficult life lessons:
"Better to cry now than to cry later!"

He was right--bad situations generally don't get better with age. 

Continuing the discussion with my lovely daughter tonight, she said to me:
"A person becomes better when they struggle. I've become better by struggling."

Again, like little pains, even larger struggles in life challenge us to learn, grow, and become better and stronger people. 

I remember as a kid--when we went through those growth spurts--it would actually hurt a little--some muscle aches here and some cramps there--whew, a few inches taller already. 

Growth hurts, but it's kind of a good hurt that only someone with the emotional intelligence to understand maturity and betterment can really grasp. 

No, I'm not advocating for self-flagellation--just that we know when pain and struggle is a defining moment in life--like shaping and sharpening a great sword in fierce fire. 

It's hot, but the heat is healing and necessary sometimes to grow as human and spiritual beings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 2, 2017

It's Just Bling

So sitting in synagogue today, my friend Jacob said something very interesting to me.

He was talking about some very wealthy people with multi-millions and even billions. 

And then he says, you know what the difference is between the rich and everyone else:
"Nothing!"

I asked him what he meant by this.

Then he starts listing off to me like this:
"Well, they live in a home, and you live in a home.
They drive a car, and you drive a car.
They eat food and you eat food."
And it was amazing how smart his words were, and it hit me how right he was. 

It's all sort of just in our minds.

Their homes are bigger and nicer; their cars are more luxurious and fancier; their food is better and tastier...but what difference is any of that really.

We both have a roof over our heads to protect us from the elements and a nice place to sleep. 

We both have a car that gets us from here to there and back again. 

We both have food and drink to fill our bellies and nourish us. 

Isn't the rest just a bunch of bling?

It's branding and marketing and the sense of luxury that some are better and have more than others. 

But beyond the essentials, we really don't need any of that!

What we do need is our relationships--people we care about and love and who love us. 

The ability to have a deep impact on others. 

To influence them and make a difference in their lives--in what they do and how they treat others. 

The ability to help people and society. 

The bling is just bling. 

The ability to love and influence that is true wealth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 1, 2017

From My Cats To Yours

Diversity is a very beautiful thing.

Whether you're an orange, red, or green cat.

It doesn't matter--you are a cat!

All cats gotta get along. 

Might does not make a right in any catfight.

But brotherhood of cats does us all good. 

Does every cat need to stand up for it's daily food?

Sure, but there is more than enough catfood and nip to go around. 

I like to be in a great cat sea purring and frolicking all day long.

Live and let live--and love--all cats and dogs and people and others!

And from the great Martin Luther King Jr. 
"We must learn to live together as brothers 
or 
perish together as fools."

Shabbat shalom and happy Labor Day holiday weekend!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 18, 2017

The Nature of Good and Evil


Like in the Bible...

When our forefather Itzchak was about to bless his son Jacob and he said the words (are good) like Jacob, but the hands (deeds) feel like Esau.

Words are cheap, and actions speak volumes louder!

Good deeds mean something, but words are easily manipulated.

We can all spot good deeds, and that is what must guide our judgement of people and situations--that is where the truth rests.

Like my father and grandfather always taught me--some people are good and some are not so good.  ;-)

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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February 15, 2017

Compromise Preferred


Sometimes we may feel that we are right and that's it.

Our inclination is perhaps to just do what we think and hold the line. 

But if we can take a step back and listen to the concerns of others then we can be the bigger for it. 

That sweet spot of compromise is where we keep both our integrity intact and still find a middle ground that's acceptable to the many. 

Compromise is better than just giving someone the proverbial finger and telling them where to go and how to get there. 

Strength is peace...and peace is strength.

When that doesn't work, then there still always the alternative for good to overcome evil in this world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 16, 2016

Make People and Time Count

So there was an article in Slate about how kids think these days.

And it's a reflection of the adults, of course. 

When 10,000 middle and high school students from 33 schools across the country were asked, what's more important--80% chose high achievement or happiness as their top priority vs just 20% who picked caring for others.

The kids who chose their happiness and achievement over helping others tended to score low on empathy and were at greater risk of being "cruel, disrespectful, and dishonest."

Bottom line is that these are our values that we impart when we recognize and reward our children for things like good grades and extra-curriculars, but not for helping or caring about others. 

Pretty much, I think parents worry that their kids should be able to support and care for themselves, because that's what's considered our primary responsibility as parents--to make sure the next generation survives and can go on physically and materially once we are gone. 

In a way, it's Darwinism and survival of the species and of the fittest. 

The problem is survival of our physical manifestation is not equivalent to the thriving of the spiritual being inside all of us. 

It's not enough to live, but we have to live a good and descent life.

Our bodies wither and die, but our souls learn, grow, and go on to the afterlife. 

Yesterday, I had this freakish accident, going through the turnstiles on the Metro in Washington, DC.

The person before me went right through the gates as they opened, but when I put my pass down and went through, the gates had a glitz and closed suddenly right on my legs (and my artificial hips) and I went tumbling forward hard to the floor. 

Amazingly, two wonderful bystanders (not the Metro employees who didn't even flinch or care) came rushing over to me, and literally lifted me up by the arms and handed me my wallet and glasses which had fallen to the side. 

One of the people that helped was especially nice to me, and he asked me how I was and really seemed to care that I was alright--imagine that a complete stranger in the Metro! 

The two people who stopped to help could've literally hopped right over me to rush for the train at the end of the day like everyone else, but they didn't.

To them, caring was more important than their own time. 

Maybe I got the 20% yesterday, but it made me realize AGAIN how terrific some people are and they truly make time count--by making people count--like unfortunately many others may never ever bother to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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October 21, 2016

Integrity is Priority #1

So I was speaking with some leaders about what is most important to them in their organization. 

And what was fascinating to me is that they didn't describe the usual things...

- Leadership 

- Innovation 

- Emotional Intelligence

- Technical skills

And so on. 

Instead and in all seriousness, they spoke with me about integrity.

Integrity is what I call, doing the right thing, always!

And I was so impressed how these leaders understood that integrity is integral to their organizational culture, and is the cornerstone to it's ultimate success in everything else it does. 

If everyone does the right thing, then the organization will do the right thing!

In the bible, we repeatedly learn the importance of following one's moral compass. 

- In Ecclesiastes (7:1), "A good name is better than fine perfume." 

- In Proverbs (22:1), "A good name is more desired than great wealth."

And as in the photo above from a local synagogue, "A good name endures forever."

What is new here though is that a good name and the integrity it takes to build that name for yourself is not just critical to your self development, but ultimately is really congruent and even synonymous with your organization's success. 

If unfortunately some are not doing "the right thing," we need to know about it, so we can course correct.

What we do matters not only to ourselves, but to the larger organization and community that we live in. 

Good is contagious, and it inspires more good, and this is what we want to be successful. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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