Be a Leader – Increase Your EI

Do you want to be a Leader, a good one? Emotional Intelligence (EI) is essential for success and should be in your development plan.  There are a few who see the word emotion and begin to roll their eyes.  Who wants to add emotions to the professional realm?  Guess what? A leader should. This isn’t gender based. After all, who is more likely to succeed, someone who responds to stress with shouting and impulsive decisions, or one who can calmly and firmly assess the situation and manage the circumstances?
Diagram of emotional intelligence

EI is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you.  It’s not manipulation, it’s understanding and caring. Those with a high skill set of EI know what they’re feeling. They understand what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people, and they apply that understanding to those around them.

How do you develop your EI? Firstly, be emotionally aware. Make an effort to pay attention to your emotions and behaviors, your actions and reactions. Consider how they affect you and those around you. This isn’t easy especially in the middle of a meeting when bad news is delivered. Take a pause and evaluate your reactions in front of others. Govern your responses.

Hold yourself accountable. Being in control of your emotions and moods is a basic responsibility, especially as a leader. When you can regulate your responses, you avoid making knee jerk decisions in the heat of the moment. This becomes easier the more you allow for pauses and in turn you control your state of mind.

Lastly, be confident in yourself and your team. In tough situations if your doubting you and/or your team it shows. Master the inner critic, be decisive while empowering your team in that same manner. Those with strong EI are typically respectful of others. Rather than focusing on your own success, help others develop and shine by respecting their strengths and talents. Remember that to give respect is to get respect.

People with high EI are usually successful in most things they do. Why? Because they have a deep understanding of self and they make others feel good about themselves. Building strong EI will not only impact your leadership skill set, it will add value to your life. Don’t strip emotion away for the sake of an ideal of what is ‘professional’, it’s a balance, after all we’re all human and to be human is to be emotional.

What are you going to do to up your EI over the next week?
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Dear Sexy Awesome You

UnknownIt was one year ago, when I had a conversation with my sister when she suggested I start blogging.  I don’t remember the conversation as vividly as I would have in my youth, but it was something to the effect of “Get out there”.

Then the question was, what I am going to blog about.  The initial idea came because of my writing.  I am a book lover and in turn began an adventure in writing several years ago.  I have been taking classes and learning more about the craft but not really putting myself out there until this blog.

What do I ‘professionally’ know about writing and what could I give out there that would be helpful to others?

Then it hit me, lightening struck.  I do know a lot about Project Management and Leadership.  This is my day job, has been for almost a decade and guess what, some would say I am quite good at it.  Therein my platform for blogging was born.  I was going to write a little about me and my southern roots, writing, project management and leadership.

The gauntlet was thrown.  Now what the heck to name this blog?

This is where my lovely husband got involved and through our brainstorming ‘My Etch-A-Sketch Life’ was born.  It summed it up well for me.  We have lived many places, our lives taking many courses and through it all it’s been an adventure in which I continue to seek new experiences.  It’s frightening and exhilarating all at the same time, which explains my love of roller coasters.

Then my sister said get on twitter!  Social media this and link it all up was her comment to me.  Let me say, twitter was intimating at first, but that medium is addictive to me now.  I love twitter.  It’s pop culture with opinions and content in a brief format that for those with attention disorders or those in a hurry (like me) can pursue and enjoy quickly.

Gosh, that little sister of mine has really taught this old gal some new things!

So here I am one year later and evolving, and boy, you can tell from post to post.  I am updating my web page for my blog, adding more pages of content and having a great time doing it and connecting with all of you.  I love to read all the blogs I link back to, some for kicks and giggles, others for learning more about the things I enjoy.  My hope is you continue to check in from time to time and enjoy this blog as the evolution continues over 2013.

My ideas are over flowing and I hope to venture further and take you with me – stay tuned! This ride is just beginning.

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

Muwha, ya all.

Muwha

Act Like You’ve Been Here Before

Archery World Cup
Archery World Cup (Photo credit: IntelGuy)

As a new writer, I get that inner critic talking trash in my head.  Those inner critics are evil little demons whether its writing, management or sports.  I read a great book, Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield (www.stevenpressfield.com), and it’s the most influential book I’ve read in a long time!  This book is one I will re-read and just pick up when I need a little reminder and mental kick in the ass.

The book is about the journey of being an amateur to becoming a professional, i.e., Pro.  It’s a mental switch flip that is free to everyone.  When I began my management career, I had a beloved manager mentor me, who didn’t say ‘Fake It Until You Make It’  he said “You know this… Show It and Believe It.”  That took me pretty far.  Next thing I knew I had junior managers looking to me for support, questioning themselves.  My hope is that I’m passing along this wise legacy that is clearly about Turning Pro.

What I find interesting is my solidarity in my management background but not in writing and other vocations/activities.  I am guessing there are several of us out there.  As Steven writes, Turning Pro demands sacrifice but the pay off is grand.

It gives us our voice, our confidence, our  self-respect.

Turning Pro takes work and commitment.  I can’t become a Pilot without training just because I mentally say I am.  I’ll have to have lessons and air time and take the craft seriously.

We are into the New Year where many will make resolutions.  Statistics on the local news indicate that 30% of these resolutions will be broken by end of January and 75% by end of March.  That certainly doesn’t lend to Turning Pro.  So before you make half hearted resolutions…

What do you need in your life or mental switch flip to turn pro? 

What are you going to do to get there?  

 Are you committed or will you become a statistic?

Share your answers, thoughts, comments…

3 Commenters, in random drawing, will receive a copy of Turning Pro by January 30, 2013, it’s my way of paying it forward!

A PM skill set ‘CHANGE MANAGEMENT’ for Writers

I have worked for the last 10 years as a Project Management (PM) professional in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry where I have spent 18 years of my professional career.  In my personal life, I am discovering and challenging myself in fiction writing, a personal passion.  I have been taking courses in various writing mediums to learn, absorb and practice.  What I am finding is that the PM and Writing skillsets are not that different in techniques.  Below are a few change management skill sets adapted for my fellow Writers to help you in your writing process from beginning to end.

BRAIN STORM

Sounds simple enough, but many of us don’t do this effectively when writing (or planning our Projects).  Brain storming takes practice and experience, the more you do the better you become.  Get the ideas flowing and spend time on it, Rome was not built in a day.  Is it a topic and situation you want to address, a feeling or emotion?  Outline the story, it doesn’t have to be formal it can be triggers that can be developed later.  A house can’t be built without a blueprint and neither can a story or project.  I am a big fan of the white board and dry erase markers, but anything will do from good ol’ pen and paper to dictation software.

  WHO’s in CHARGE

Once the need for change is identified, who is in charge of the process? Is it the editor, the author, the publisher? Know what your role is in the change.  If you feel strongly against the change you need to ensure you are communicating this with solid rationale and references as to why a change would be detrimental to your story.  Stand up for what you believe, and be prepared to defend.  Remember not all team members are cheerleaders, but you certainly want your team rooting for you in the game.

RECOGNIZING THE NEED

Many writing projects fail because of those not willing to recognize a need for change or ignore it all together.  For example if your editor, publisher or writing friend/group presents the need for an alternation to your story and you dismiss it as an author first hand without listening you are indeed failing to recognize the need.  Ultimately, as the author it’s your choice to decide if the element is really necessary and if retooling is needed, but failing to listen at all is detrimental to your writing (or Project).  The great thing about being the author is you are the judge and jury creatively, ensure you listen to the lawyers they have points to make and are skilled too.

   RESISTANCE

Are people simply defiant to change?  I often think we like to mimic that we are all for change, but deep down its work, and most of us don’t want to go backwards to go forward.  We want everything done and completed yesterday.  It takes practice to be impervious to change and criticism for that matter.  How to do this is to step away from your writing and really see it from an outsiders view (i.e., this is similar to ‘recognizing the need’).

  ROLE PLAY

Much like brain storming this can be an effective way to ensure you overcome common obstacles to change.  For example, you decide to change an element in your story half-way through and this modification will affect other sub-plots.  Role play this in an outline first, you’ll be able to see the kinks and address them before rolling out to full scale.  This is a practice in lessening the modification risk in a project.  Test the water temperature before you dive in.  Does it really make the story better?

KNOW WHEN YOU’RE DONE

This may seem obvious but often it’s not.  Change in any form involves the human element and it can be unpredictable.  You’ll find hurdles along the way – doubters, chaotic atmospheres, skeptics.  Heck, sometimes you will be the one contributing to these hurdles.  The key to stopping is the end of the story all elements are wrapped up to satisfaction.  You have not only drafted but completed the edit process several times.  You may only be done when your story is published, if that is your deliverable to the end.  The secret is not to continue working on a job that is finished, be done!

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I certainly have an appreciation for writing and the process as I am doing this more and more.   It’s become second nature for me to loop in my PM skill sets to my budding Writing skills.   I hope this small insight to project management is helpful and rings true for my fellow writers/bloggers.

Please feel free to comment and share.  Look forward to hearing from you!