Archive for the ‘Work-Life Balance’ category

How To Apply Emotional Intelligence At Your Workplace?

March 1, 2009

Many trainings, coachings and meetings have taken place over the past few weeks. They come in at a faster pace than I can write about them. Fully packed weeks I must say. In my deepest of heart, I consider it a bonus being able to reach out to so many people within these few short weeks. And these are definitely the perks of being a public speaker and trainer. The honor is definitely mine.

One of the most intensive trainings I’ve conducted just a week ago was “Emotional Intelligence at Work” for a major government institution. Real issues were presented to me and I took the time to address them, knowing how my comments would affect the participants’ career and lives.

As they shared and generated more interest in human behavior at the workplace, I was impressed by how they could react with the concepts taught. Talk about accelerated learning. After all, when you put in heart into what you are doing, you couldn’t wait to make it work. That was what I witnessed.

When it comes to the workplace, emotions can fly. More often than not, bosses judge the staffs while customers always have to the right to complaint. You can’t underestimate the power of emotion. They will simply overwhelm you when you’re not in-charge of yourself.

Here are some ways you can apply better emotional intelligence to your work:

1. Respect emotions, the power of emotions.

2. Understand your emotions do and will affect others at work.

3. Commit to looking at the useful and productive side of the tasks.

4. Check yourself if your responses and motivations are driven by purposeful emotions.

5. Create a list of emotions that you want to display at work.

6. Insist on making yourself a positive influence with your colleagues.

7. Let yourself immerse in the joy of creative juice with your tasks.

(Source: wekie.com)

7 Practical Ways To Increase Your Emotional Intelligence And Mental Dexterity

January 16, 2009

For these couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a number of courses that are coming up for the year. A significant time was also spent on customizing them to fit into clients’ demands. In addition, the training and coaching sessions have also be rather packed. A very fruitful start for this New Year indeed.

The past 3 days were spent conducting the highly intensive training on “Emotional Intelligence at Work”. As the training is customized for a major government institution, I highlighted specific examples where the participants could display Emotional Intelligence (EI) for themselves as well as in their daily dealings with their bosses, colleagues and customers (BCC). Through the sharing and discussions, I was extremely pleased to know that the participants found even more ways to apply emotional intelligence beyond what was taught. Now that’s empowerment for them!

Leading on, here are some of the practical things you can do to raise your Emotional Intelligence as well as the agility of your mind:

1. Appreciating others for the effort done in the projects, irregardless of the extend of the success.

2. Have daily greetings to your fellow colleagues, and mean what you say.

3. Think positively empowering thoughts and be solution-oriented to maintain your mental health.

4. Harness the quick learning from every task for future improvements.

5. Reflect on your own behavior and the outcome of your action.

6. Work on mending the differences with others instead of harboring animosity.

7. Give yourself a reason to arrive at work with enthusiastic energy each day.

(Source: wekie.com)

From A Time Of Birthday Reflection To A Year Of Growth

December 24, 2008

As I sit here in the middle of the night typing out my thoughts, I can’t help taking a quick glance at my organizer. Flipping the dogged-ear pages back and forth brought back a sense of sweet nostalgic feelings. I remembered just a year ago, on my Birthday; I made my annual reflective recollection in my own quiet time.

It brought to mind how thankful I was for the year’s encounters. I also remembered the friends I’ve made in my talks, trainings as well as those who had engaged me as their personal coach. The contributions they’ve allowed me to make in their lives had helped in my grand appreciation of the world at large.

These fuelled my realization of how complex the entire human race can be, yet how simple the solutions can turn out to become.

Paradoxical, perhaps? Yes, indeed.

And you’ll be surprised how much an irony life can turn out to be.

Nonetheless, to me, it simply means how clear cut I can see the answers to the problems are. These insights now merge into an experience and discovery I’ve deeply treasured in my personal capacity as a citizen of my community and of the entire universe. Hence, I strive to add these values and learning into my work as a speaker and trainer.

In the course of this year I’ve been receiving an increasing amount of speaking, coaching and training engagements. They are often packed back to back, at times running for a series of days. Hence a nearly continuous standing up of 8 to 11 hours a day makes my legs demand that I treat them to a warm massage and a deep healing rub. Despite their lamentations, I carried on “mis-treating” them. But, it’s all worth it.

It’s an emotional high whenever I speak or train! No joke. I’ve never been as serious as now. 🙂

Therefore, this is what makes me grow. I’ve discovered that: When I’m doing what I truly love, it’s all worth it!

Ok, I know some people will exclaim, “But I’m not doing what I love?!!”

Then, my friend, it’s time for you to reflect, and find a reason to love what you do. And you’ll start to grow too.

Complex problem, simple solution.

Merry Christmas to you!

(Source: wekie.com)

If You Are Happy, You Are Worth At Least $20,000

December 8, 2008

Suppose you were given the choice of hanging around with happy hearty people or slugging it out with the depressed gloomy grouches, which will you choose? And why?

Well, chances are, most people do prefer the smiling faces with that sincere joyous mood than to see the frowns on the facials.

It’s little wonder that we are so driven to want to be happy. Perhaps the journey towards happiness might be a bit mystical and obscure, with the unpredictable climate of changes in different life dimensions. However, being around happy people do seem to help alleviate those drowsy blues.

According to Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, who has just recently concluded a study on happiness and its interactive results, he said, “Your happiness depends not just on your choices and actions, but also on the choices and actions of people you don’t even know who are one, two and three degrees removed from you,”

Hailing from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Christakis, a trained physician and social scientist, affirmed that, “Emotions have a collective existence — they are not just an individual phenomenon.”

The study by his team of researchers had analyzed data, statistics and information ranging from 1983 to 2003. It was based on the happiness of 4,739 people as well as their social connections. These included their spouses, relatives, close friends, neighbors and co-workers.

It emerged with evidence that the more happy people you know and surround yourself with, the more likely you will be happier yourself. Hence, happiness is contagious, it gets “spread”.

Co-researcher, Associate Professor of Political Science, James H. Fowler from The University of California, San Diego said their research discovered the link that “if your friend’s friend’s friend becomes happy, that has a bigger impact on you being happy than putting an extra $5,000 in your pocket.”

Drawing from further data, they determined that your neighbor’s joyfulness and delight can improve your own happiness by 34 percent. Your happy network and contacts will increase your joy by 15 percent, while your friend’s happy friend or your closed one’s elated friend adds 10 percent to your chances of being happy.

Finally, your friend’s friend’s friend, the 3rd degree contact, will add 6 percent to your personal joyfulness level. Be with any additional unhappy person, and you become unhappier by 7 percent concurrently as each negative person enter your contact.

This means that your happiness level is able to affect people around you and your close acquaintances.

A note to add, the researches are not advising that you change all melancholy your friends, but strive to work together for an improved relationship.

Extending from other previous studies, they asserted that an extra $5,000 improved your chances of happiness by 2 percent. This, Dr. Christakis, would imply that “a happy friend is worth about US $20,000”

That’s what I call a golden smile. 🙂

(Source: wekie.com)

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Brain “Malfunctions” Whenever You Need It To Work Most

November 3, 2008

You’ve been through this before. It was crunch time. Your future depended on it. Your happiness came down to this crucial moment. The turning point of your life beckoned. It’s make it or break it time, do or die…

Yet as you cleared your throat to speak, nothing came out. It’s not that you’ve lost your ability to articulate. But your mind just went blank. Nothing came out of your mouth. Try as you might, your brain simply refused to conjure up the next piece of sensible information. It went on strike, right on the dot.

And it couldn’t pick a better time; especially when you are attempting that 10-points examination question to graduate, bracing yourself for that love confession sentence which you’re dying to utter, and of course, the moments of awkward public speech silence. It was still on strike.

Yes, your brain left you to hang… high and dry.

And here’s why your precious brain decides to leave for a short tea-break or ‘vacation’ whenever you need it to report for work:

1. You don’t understand or know your own natural biorhythm. I call this your PPPs, “Peak Performance Period”.

2. You’ve yet to learn how to focus on what motivates. As a result you give in to distractions, internally and environmentally.

3. Your own physical body does not acquire the sufficient or suitable nutrition to keep your brain working healthily.

4. You don’t have the right motivation and driving desire to propel yourself.

5. The lack of energy and rest makes us too tired for intensive mental work.

6. You got overwhelmed by the tasks and challenges that face you. You felt too ‘microscopically and atomically small’ for such a gigantic glorious mission that might change the history of mankind and the surface of the earth.

7. Anxiety, worry, frustrations, fear took over your mind and imagination instead of you being relaxed. The stress you experienced made your mind went ‘blank’

8. It’s the result of poor thinking and working habits you’ve, intentionally or un-wittedly, adopted over the years.

9. You have yet to master your mind to a reasonable, applicable level. The techniques of mind mastery and brain power continue to lie undiscovered for you.

10. You’ve never “wanted it to work” in the first place. You saw the act as a need and as an obligation instead of an all-inspiring purpose. Hence it’s because of your attitude towards the work.

(Source: wekie.com)

Do Dedicated Parents Make Better Managers And Leaders?

September 22, 2008

Moving back to the work week, we see people hurrying to their office. The bulk of this workforce will consist of staffs and managers who are parents. Being parents usually signify the demand of time and energy to take care of their children. Hence, the direct questions is, do dedicated parents imply that they will become better managers or leaders?

In Today’s paper, Marian Ruderman, a director of the Center for Creative Leadership, certainly think so. She cited studies that conclude that family-focused workers can make better managers.

The following is her article on this issue:

Dedicated Parents, Better Mangers?

PARENTS across the country can now hold their heads high when heading out of the office to attend a teacher’s conference or coach a football game.

Being a committed parent can enhance managerial ability, according to a study by the Center for Creative Leadership and Clark University.

Child-rearing develops skills that are useful for work, the study found. Being able to manage the demands of raising children and running a household helps people better manage the stress of work instead of adding to it.

Family experiences provide managers with positive feeling that carry over to the workplace and facilitate performance.

They also help managers to develop the ability to see others’ views — a capacity that is critical to supervising others, working in teams or relating to superiors.

The study contradicts conventional wisdom that parents are easily distracted by their responsibilities at home, in particular their children, and are therefore more likely to be ineffective at work.

Published last year in the

Journal of Applied Psychology, the study shows for the first time how raising a family helps develop skills such as negotiating, compromising, conflict resolution and multi-tasking, which are important traits of successful managers.

The study has important implications for employees and organizations alike.

While many organizations have adopted family-friendly policies, most still operate under the assumption that a family focus will detract from performance.

But the research suggests this assumption is wrong. In fact, a family-focused manager may be the leader your company should have.

Life beyond Work

Life outside of work is important for both women and men — and their careers.

Investing time in family relationships, friendships, volunteer work and personal interests has been shown to enhance on-the job performance as well as psychological well-being.

Roles and responsibilities outside of work can serve as creative and supportive sources for learning how to be a more effective manager.

Off-the-job experiences help people to hone interpersonal skills, handle multiple tasks and develop the ability to draw on relevant background and information.

Regular exercise and effective leadership also go hand-in-hand.

Time invested in regular exercise, even if it means spending less time at work, is correlated with higher — not lower — ratings of leadership effectiveness.

Research suggests that leaders who exercise regularly are rated significantly higher by their bosses, peers and direct reports than non-exercisers. It seems a healthy lifestyle can help executives to better cope with the stresses and demands of their positions.

An organisation’s attitude towards employees’ life outside of work is a factor in retaining them. Whether they are raising young families, preparing for retirement, caring for elderly parents or pursuing personal interests, employees often feel their organisations forget that they have a life outside work. Organisations and leaders can help all generations navigate their need for work-life balance by: Clarifying priorities. People have trouble figuring out their priorities when everything at work is deemed urgent. They struggle to give higher priority to family time when work pressure does not ease up.

Realistic resourcing. People have too much work to be done during normal work hours, so they routinely put in extra hours.

The perception is that their organizations do not care enough about employees to bother resourcing the work appropriately.

Reducing stress. Extreme stress is one reason people leave their jobs or turn down interesting positions.

Some people feel forced to choose between an interesting or challenging job and the kind of life they want to lead.

Creating flexibility. A flexible schedule allows people with children to get more work done and yet enables them to be with their families.

For older people approaching retirement, offering this would be a convenient solution and a sign of the respect the organization has for its employees.

Why Must You Manage Your Emotions Excellently?

September 15, 2008

Today’s training was on “Emotional Intelligence at Work” for the staff of a major ministry in Singapore. We had lots of fun and intense discussions on managing their emotions, both at work and in life.

Here are some reasons why you must truly manage your emotions and make it excellent:

1. It’s an ongoing survival issue. Your emotions provide you the means to react and change in varying situations.

2. It helps in your relationship building process.

3. It matters on your happiness.

4. It generates fulfillment in your life.

5. It creates unity amongst like minded people.

How You Can Step Up To Life’s Changes And Challenges

August 29, 2008

I was with the training group just two days ago, completing the final module for the 2.5 days “Step Up for Change” training. It’s a government initiated nation-wide empowerment training for women in Singapore, helping them to step out of the comfort zone, step up to challenges and step forward to meet life’s changes confidently.

What I dearly liked about the training was the interactively and the sharing of the female participants on issues faced by women in Singapore. Truly there are challenges waiting to be addressed. It hence became evident that the participants had recommitted to work and improve their lives better with the steps they had created.

And to follow on, here are more ways you can help yourself step up to life’s changes and face the challenges:

1. Be willing to change your paradigm.

2. Work on your confidence.

3. Be informed of changes.

4. Manage your finances and resources.

5. Enlist help and seek expert advice.

6. Make positive acquaintances and network.

7. Review your plans regularly for improvement.

I sincerely wish every one of the participants the very best in their lives and may they always Excel Beyond Excellence!

The Formula For Success And Happiness

August 15, 2008

Every visit to a Club brings new learning and discovery. When I was at one of the Clubs that I am mentoring, the Nee Soon East Toastmasters last week, I realized that more new Toastmasters had joined us.

Sankar G. Vyakaranam, while being a new member, had shown unwavering enthusiasm in his journey to become a better speaker. I was impressed by his eloquence and suave mannerism in delivery. Definitely a competent presentor in the making.

He spoke on success and happiness, sharing with us a few tips in the process. And here are his wonderful and practical pointers:

The formula for success and happiness

Introduction:

A few years ago, I developed an interest in knowing my personality and improving it. I was also genuinely interested in finding out what is required to lead a successful and a happy life. With that as my motivation, I have read several personality development books in recent years. Some of the books that I’ve read include “The 7 habits of highly effective people”, “The 8th habit”, “The monk who sold his Ferrari”, “You can win”, “Stumbling on happiness” and “The seven spiritual laws of success”. While reading all these books, I was trying to figure out what is it that all these books are trying to teach? Is there a common pattern? a common message? What is the formula for success and happiness? And then sometime during this process, the answer dawned on to me. It was quite an eye opening experience because I felt that I discovered something very significant. Today I am going to share my discovery with you.

The formula for success and happiness is this – develop good habits and quit the bad ones.

It’s a very simple formula, but very, very powerful.

Now I am going to talk about what a habit is, what it takes to develop good habits and quit the bad ones, which habits should you develop, and some examples.

What is a habit?

A habit is simply anything that you do repeatedly. Your habits are actually part of your personality. In other words, your personality is made up of your habits. You cannot separate the habits from the personality. They are one and the same. For example, if you smoke regularly, you are a smoker. If you tend to put off or postpone doing things, then you are a procrastinator. And to take a positive example, if you have the habit of regularly setting goals and achieving them, then you are an achiever. There are two types of habits – physical and mental. Physical habits are habits such as reading, getting up early, exercising, etc and mental habits have to do more with your attitude and character. I’ve give some examples of my own habits later in the speech.

What does it take to develop good habits and quit the bad ones?

The answer to this question is also quite simple – it takes determination, hard work and self-discipline. It takes great effort really and it’s only fair that it should! After all, leading a successful and happy life cannot be easy, otherwise everyone would do it! There is a good analogy for the effort required to establish a good habit – it’s like putting a satellite into orbit. Initially, you require a great amount of force and energy, to thrust the Satellite into space, against gravity. But once the satellite reaches its orbit, it moves effortlessly. Inculcating a good habit is exactly like this – it initially requires a great deal of effort, but once a habit is established, you do it effortlessly.

Which habits should you develop?

This is where the different personality development books differ. Each author recommends a different set of habits. What I’ve realized is that there is no ‘special list’ or ‘master list’ of habits that one MUST develop. In fact the list of good habits is quite long, almost unlimited which is exactly why we have so many personality development books! My suggestion on which habits to develop is this – each of us must introspect and then a) identify our bad habits that we want to quit and b) figure out the good habits we want to inculcate, based on our own goals and priorities. Reading the personality development books does help as it exposes us to the various good habits that some smart people have identified, and the books go on to explain the benefits of the habits they recommend. But even if you don’t read these books, you should be able apply the formula based on your own analysis and common sense.

My own examples:

I’ll share with you a couple habits that I have consciously worked on and developed. Now they are a part of my personality and I benefit from them every day.

One physical habit I’ve developed is this – I don’t watch TV program. On an average, I watch TV programs for less than an hour per week. This is an important habit to me as I believe that watching TV is a waste of time.

Mental habits are harder to develop. A mental habit that I’ve developed is this – I don’t judge people. I think a lot of relationship problems amongst friends and family members can be avoided if we inculcate this powerful habit. The way I look at is, who am I to judge you? Why should I judge you? I am not a judge! Plus I realize that people always feel that they are right and justified in their thoughts, feelings and actions. So, my goal is to understand and not judge the other person. Note that any form of bias or prejudice is nothing but a form of judgment.

Conclusion:

To conclude, today I shared with you my formula for success and happiness – develop good habits and quit the bad ones.

The formula makes sense if you think about it – the best investment which will yield life long returns is in yourself. A good habit is a like a good investment and a bad habit is like a bad investment. Interestingly, I’ve later found that this discovery of mine about habits is nothing new. In fact, it’s age-old wisdom. Aristotle said “we are what we do repeatedly.” And Swami Vivekananda said “Character is repeated habits.” And when I read such quotes, I feel reassured that my thinking is correct, my formula is correct, and that I am on the right path.

6 Steps To Step Up For Change

August 13, 2008

I had just concluded today the very intensive and in two and a half days training for the Step Up For Change program. This is a nation-wide initiative by the Work Development Agency (WDA) and the various Community Development Councils (CDC) to help women become more empowered for positive action and adapt to changes in their lives. In addition to this, I’ve designed this training to further enhance the participants’ ability to handle increasing life challenges, receive better employment opportunities as well as live a more enriching and meaningful life.

Therefore, here are the steps to help you STEP UP for Changes in Your life:

1. Sense what you need to change for the better.

2. Think creatively of ways to make your life work.

3. Energize yourself to charge up your life.

4. Plan your strategies for action.

5. Use resources and tools to aid you.

6. Perform regular review to improve.

Clearly this training is specifically designed to allow the participants to get out of the comfort zone in preparation to excel. And when you choose excel, you must become committed to keep working on it and strive to make it even better.

In this way, you will surely Excel Beyond Excellence!