Leading with Emotional Intelligence: It’s more important now than ever

This is a guest post written by Jennie Yelvington, Program Manager, HR Organization and Professional Development

In these uncertain times, many are struggling to find their footing and feel confident in the new normal. Demonstrating compassion and self-awareness, and effectively navigating emotions (yours and others) are priority skills for leaders at this unique time. It is also important to remember that anyone can be a leader regardless of title, and the current situation provides an opportunity to demonstrate just that.

In the Daniel Goleman book Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, we learn that “while IQ and technical skills may help you get a foot in the leadership door, it’s emotional intelligence (EQ) that is often the stronger predictor of exceptional leadership. Goleman defines emotional intelligence as a set of skills that enables us to understand emotions—what they are, what they mean, and how they can affect others.”

Fortunately, Emotional Intelligence is something that can be learned, and we have many resources in elevateU to help you do just that, including the following:

  • To get a basic understanding of emotional intelligence, you can view the following brief videos from author Travis Bradberry: Emotional Intelligence Defined and Emotional Intelligence can be Learned
  • In the course Leveraging Emotional Intelligence you’ll learn from bestselling author Marcus Buckingham and others about the components of EQ, why it is particularly important for leaders, and how to build related competencies.
  • The Harvard Business Review audio book Power & Impact: Emotional Intelligence explains “how wielding power affects your emotions and decision making and helps you avoid the traps that lead to negative consequences. With the latest psychological research and practical advice from leading experts, you’ll learn how to use soft power to persuade others, fix unhealthy power dynamics in your team, use compassion to connect better with others, and remain ethical in your choices and actions.”
  • If you like learning with more of a gaming component, check out the Challenge Series exercise Emotional Intelligence at Work. You will be placed in the role of product manager and will need to make choices as to how to respond to different scenarios.
  • Last but not least, don’t miss the Live Event offered through elevateU on Thursday, April 23rd, titled The Power of Insight: How Self-Awareness Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life. Organizational Psychologist and best-selling author Tasha Eurich, whose research reveals that when leaders make the brave decision to improve their self-awareness, they become empowered to bust through barriers, make better decisions, and engage and motivate their teams.

These are just a few of the options available on this topic through elevateU. To see a more complete list, type “emotional intelligence” in the search bar on the home page.

Whether you are in a formal leadership role, aspire to be, or are interested in leading from wherever you work, strengthening your emotional intelligence can boost your career, facilitate team functioning, and strengthen the organization.

Leading Through Uncertain, Rapidly Changing Times

This is a guest post written by Jennie Yelvington, Program Manager, HR Organization and Professional Development

March brought unprecedented change to this large, often slow-moving organization, and it is easy to see why it might feel overwhelming at times. Each day brings new information and impactful changes that leaders must influence and enact without much warning. Additionally, each of us must manage adjustments in our personal lives. Making a proactive effort to take care of yourself will be critical to handling these times effectively with your staff. Staying calm, forward-thinking and encouraging requires you to not allow yourself to become depleted.

You know what this involves: get enough sleep, eat nourishing food,  exercise, and do other things that help to sustain you. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll have no capacity to take care of your team and the organization. I am confident that this upheaval in our daily routine will change us in ways we can’t yet imagine and perhaps for the better. Creativity and innovation are often born out of times when we can no longer do “business as usual.” In addition to doing the work of the day, don’t forget to bring humanness to your leadership with these tips for success:

  • Be patient with yourself and others as we navigate this new terrain and recognize gains made, however small.
  • Acknowledge and grieve losses, sharing empathy and compassion as we find our way through.
  • Strengthening our connections is more critical now than ever, so help each other to learn new technology and overcome barriers. Share knowledge and seek help from your peers across the organization.
  • Make an extra effort to connect with your team. Utilize Microsoft Teams to hold daily virtual meetings, share information and provide encouragement. Or just pick up the phone.
  • Learn something new as a team. Have team members “host” the ideas.
  • Stay connected with people who cannot work remotely. They are important to the overall success of your organization and when things get back to normal, you will need them. Think about how you can stay connected in new ways. Try mailing letters or cards.
  • If you are a higher-level leader, providing support for your Chairs and front-line supervisors is critical. Make sure you are connecting with them on a regular basis.
  • Create structured meetings for all and consider one-on-one meetings and small project/team meetings to enhance communication. It’s OK to just “talk.” It is vital, more than ever, to increase positive interactions.

The following paradoxes outlined in the article Leadership Confidence in Times of Uncertainty by Dave Ulrich may be helpful to consider:

  • Avoid the extremes of either over-reacting or under-reacting or as a thoughtful sage once said, “run with patience.”
  • Care for both the individual and the organization.
  • Balance the need for decisive action (be bold) and the need for thoughtful value-based decisions (be calm).
  • Respond to the short-term challenges of the moment and anticipate and plan for the long-term implications.

Along with the obvious challenges, this is also a time of great opportunity if we can remain open. In the Forbes article, Leading In Times Of Uncertainty: How To Engage Optimism And Focus When Nothing Seems Predictable, H.V. MacArthur reminds us that we have a number of options that uniquely present themselves at this time, including:

  • The ability of your team to experience the flexibility that comes from using remote work options.
  • Opportunity for team members to catch up on work and upcoming deadlines.
  • Time for your business to do proactive planning and strategic thinking.
  • An opening for up-skilling team members through training and development.

Eventually, this crisis will pass, and we will move to another new normal. Focusing now on how we are taking care of ourselves, each other and the organization will influence how we come out on the other side. We have been encouraged by the compassion and determination expressed by our colleagues across the organization—continue that good work. While you’re at it, consider sending us your thoughts and suggestions on what is working well so we can share them more broadly at ProDev@hr.msu.edu.

Sources:

MacArthur, H. V. (2020, March 17). Leading In Times Of Uncertainty: How To Engage Optimism And Focus When Nothing Seems Predictable. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/hvmacarthur/2020/03/16/leading-in-times-of-uncertainty-how-to-engage-optimism-and-focus-when-nothing-seems-predictable/#5ebb3fed47e2

Ulrich, D. (2020, March 12). Leadership Confidence in Times of Uncertainty. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-confidence-times-uncertainty-dave-ulrich/?trackingId=2Xa4HAlp8xcOpEp3RFH/DQ==

Coronavirus: MSU Benefit Resources Round-Up

As the situation and details regarding the coronavirus and its impact continue to unfold and change, we want to make sure you’re aware of various benefit-related resources to help you and your family. Here’s a breakdown of what’s available:

Health Care Resources

  • Teladoc for Online Medical Care: employees and their dependents currently enrolled in an MSU health plan have 24/7 access to a health care professional via web, phone or mobile app. Teladoc is an ideal tool if you’d like to have a doctor evaluate and treat symptoms while minimizing in-person contact. Teladoc doctors are equipped to answer questions about the coronavirus, evaluate your risk, and advise on next steps. MSU employees most commonly get help with cold/flu, bronchitis, allergies, pink eye, dermatology and more. Employees and their dependents who are over the age of 18 can also receive medical care for behavioral health (depression, anxiety, etc.). Learn more about Teladoc and how to sign up.
  • Prescription Refills and Delivery to Your Home: MSU’s prescription drug plan is administered through CVS Caremark, and MSU Pharmacy on campus is a CVS-preferred pharmacy. To help you and your family during this time, CVS Pharmacy and MSU Pharmacy are offering free prescription delivery to your home. Additionally, MSU Pharmacy offers a 90-supply on prescriptions and CVS Pharmacy is waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications at any in-network pharmacy. Learn more about prescription resources.
  • Livongo for Free, Unlimited Diabetes Supplies Delivered to Your Home: Livongo is a diabetes management program completely free to MSU employees, their spouse and dependents. After you sign up, you will be shipped the Livongo Welcome Kit that includes the Livongo meter and all the supplies you need to check your blood glucose. This is an ideal tool to help you receive necessary medical supplies for free without leaving your home. Learn more about Livongo and how to sign up.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) Care Resources: BCBSM is offering different ways to see a health care professional from the comfort of your home, so you can keep yourself and others safe. Their 24-Hour Nurse Line allows you to speak to a registered nurse if you have questions about the coronavirus or would like free health care advice. Blue Cross Online Visits allows you to have a face-to-face, virtual visit with a doctor 24/7. Options available are based on the MSU health plan you’re enrolled in – find out more here.
  • Employee Assistance Program and MSU Health4U for Counseling: The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential counseling service provided at no cost to MSU staff, faculty, retirees, graduate student employees, and their families. The EAP and MSU Health4U are now offering counseling services by either video conferencing or phone. Learn more about counseling services.
  • Food and Nutrition Appointment with MSU Health4U: MSU Health4U is now exclusively offering telehealth video conferencing appointments for their food and nutrition services. Learn more about scheduling a food and nutrition appointment.
  • Tips for Taking Care of Yourself in Times of Uncertainty: the WorkLife Office understands the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is likely causing stress about the unknown and how best to move forward. Consider these WorkLife Office self-care tips.

Child and Elder Care Resources

Remote Work Resources

  • MSU Guide to Remote Access: visit remote.msu.edu/working website for the most up-to-date information and resources related to remote work options. Find more details about collaboration tools, connecting remotely, FAQs and more.
  • Work-Related Frequently Asked Questions: these FAQs on the HR website will continue to be supplemented and modified as the situation develops.
  • WorkLife Office Tips for Remote Work: the WorkLife Office is working hard to support you during this time by developing a variety of remote-work resources, including blog posts, webinars, and feedback surveys to assist employees. Learn more on the WorkLife Office website.

Professional Development Resources

  • Use elevateU for professional development: while in-person classes through Organization and Professional Development are currently unavailable, elevateU offers free online resources to MSU employees to help you continue your professional development. Find books, videos, courses and more that cover a variety of topics including leadership, change management, communication skills, project management and more. Learn more about elevateU and how to access it.

Find the most up-to-date information about MSU’s response to the coronavirus at msu.edu/coronavirus. Additionally, MSU employees should check the remote.msu.edu/working website for the most up-to-date information and resources for remote work options.

Managing Remotely: Leading the Way in the “New Normal”

This is a guest post by Jennie Yelvington, Program Manager, HR Organization and Professional Development

As many of us adjust to working remotely, the situation also requires a thoughtful, strategic approach from managers. Communication to and within a team is more critical than ever, especially since the landscape continues to change at a rapid pace. People may be feeling unsure, anxious about using new skills, and not quite up to speed as they juggle home and work responsibilities. This can also lead to team members being on edge with each other. It is critical that managers set a tone of clarity, compassion, patience, cooperation, and problem-solving (versus blame). 

VitalSmarts also recommends the following strategies to help managers keep things on track during this unprecedented time: 

  • Frequent and Consistent Check-ins. Check-in frequently and regularly with remote employees. The cadence of the check-ins can vary from daily to bi-weekly to weekly but should always be consistent and entail a standing meeting or scheduled one-on-one.  
  • Face-to-Face or Voice-to-Voice. Insist on some face time with remote employees. When in-person meetings are not possible, try video conferencing technology or pick up the phone to ensure colleagues occasionally see one another’s face or hear one another’s voice.  
  • Exemplify Solid Communication Skills. You cannot overemphasize the importance of general, stellar communication with remote teams. Be a great listener, communicate trust and respect, inquire about workload and progress without micromanaging, and err on the side of over-communicating. At times it can be ok to have a conversation over the phone, and then email out the details to confirm people are on the same page with you. 
  • Explicit Expectations. When it comes to managing remote teams, be very clear about expectations. This is especially important now, because the “rules” of work have suddenly changed. Never leave people in the dark about projects, roles, deadlines, etc.  
  • Be Accessible. Be available quickly and throughout the day, letting people know when you will not be available. Go above and beyond to maintain an open-door policy for remote employees—keep your calendar up-to-date and use multiple means of technology (Microsoft Teams, email, phone, text, etc.). Remote employees should be able to count on you to respond quickly to pressing concerns.  
  • Mix Up the Tech. Try to use multiple means of communication to connect with your remote workers. Don’t just resort to phone or email but get familiar with video conferencing technologies and a variety of services like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Get skilled at setting up and running meetings using these technologies, as if this was going to be your new reality moving forward.  
  • Prioritize Relationships. Team building and camaraderie are important for any team and remote teams are no exception. I challenge you to go out of your way to form personal bonds with your remote folks. Use check-in time to ask about their personal life, families, and hobbies. Allow team meeting time for “water cooler” conversation so the whole team can create personal connections and strengthen relationships. 

Encourage team members to help each other with technology and other challenges and be sure to recognize people for their effort. Additionally, remember that benefit-eligible MSU employees have access to elevateU, an online learning resources with courses, videos, books and more. There you will find ideas for group activities (look for the Team Talks link under MSU highlighted programs, then look at the Custom tab), learning related to a variety of content areas that could align with development plans, and thousands of books and videos to accelerate learning. Be sure to share with your team what you are learning as well. Learn more about elevateU for professional development while working remotely.

Online Resources, Toolkits and Courses for Supervisors and Managers

Are you a supervisor or manager looking for opportunities to help you grow in your leadership role? Whether you’re a brand-new supervisor or an experienced manager looking for resources to develop your skills, there are tools available to help you. Information is available in various formats to fit your schedule and learning style including in-person professional development courses, online resources and toolkits on the HR website.

In-Person Professional Development Courses

  • Communication Strategies for Supervisors on March 12
    One of the non-negotiables for successful leadership is being an effective communicator. Many leaders believe they do communicate effectively, but what most leaders do not understand about communicating with their team is that it is not just about what is said. It is about how it is said, when it is said, to whom, did the receiver understand the message in the way it was intended, and on and on. To lead successfully today, leaders must be able to persuade, inspire, listen, articulate the big picture, and create teams of people who buy into and trust the sender. Learn more about the Communication Strategies for Supervisors course.
  • Manager as Coach on March 12
    Successful managers today understand the importance of coaching in the workplace to improve productivity, loyalty, and results. Instead of telling team members what to do, or just expecting them to perform, it is important to guide, discuss and encourage – in other words, coach. Learn more about the Manager as Coach course.
  • Leading Change on March 31
    Effective leadership is imperative in times of transition, regardless of the nature or source of the changes you’re experiencing. This session will enable you to understand the phases of change, deal with resistance, build support for change, and communicate more effectively to reduce resistance and build change adeptness in staff members. Learn more about the Leading Change course.
  • Managing Meetings on April 22
    With company resources tighter than ever, frivolous meetings are simply not an option. Yet they continue to occur more often than ever. And too many unproductive, wasteful meetings create a major drag on staff morale and motivation, thus affecting productivity and turnover. And, if you are the organizer or leader of meetings, you simply cannot afford to look unprofessional. This course will help you better plan, lead, and follow through on your meetings and enhance team productivity, coordination, and cohesion. Learn more about the Managing Meetings course.
  • Building Capacity for Resilience as a Leader on April 23
    Leaders need to be increasingly resilient to the steady stream of challenges, struggles and setbacks that are part of our work. Our success depends on our individual and collective ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned, gain important new knowledge from failures, and respond quickly and effectively when we need to chart a new course. Leaders can dramatically improve their effectiveness by gaining a foundational understanding of healthy psychological functioning and developing practical skills to increase their level of personal and professional resiliency. Learn more about the Building Capacity for Resilience as a Leader course.
  • Everything DiSC: Management on April 28
    The focus of Everything DiSC: Management is a deeper understanding of oneself, as this is the first step to becoming a more effective manager. The DiSC Management profile will help managers understand the preferences they have as a manager, thereby helping them understand when they are a strength, and when those preferences could turn into a bias against other, equally valuable, work styles. The profile also teaches how to observe behaviors in colleagues, employees and clients to recognize their DiSC styles and how managers can adapt their behavior to other DiSC styles in order to manage more effectively. Learn more about the Everything DiSC: Management course.
  • Emotional Intelligence in Leadership on April 29
    A strong leader ignites motivation and unleashes productivity creating an environment in which individuals want to “follow”. A person with high emotional intelligence has mastered self-management and interpersonal dynamics. Combine the two and the result is an emotionally intelligent leader! Attend this seminar and learn the link between leadership and emotional intelligence. Learn more about the Emotional Intelligence in Leadership course.

Online Resources with elevateU

The elevateU portal is full of online resources including eBooks, videos, courses and more – all available to you for free 24/7. Want to learn more about optimizing team performance, cultivating creativity or processing change? You’ll find resources on these topics and much more in the elevateU portal. Use these tools to help you build your own skillset as a leader or share these resources with your team to help them reach their professional goals. Learn more about elevateU and access here.

Toolkits on the HR Website

The HR website contains a wealth of information useful to those in a supervisory role, including toolkits for various processes. Whether you have questions about how to hire support staff, want an overview of benefits options or need to know deadlines for payroll processing, these toolkits are available to assist you.  Find toolkits for supervisors on the HR website.

Utilize these discounts for spring break!

Are you planning a trip for this spring break? Before you head out for vacation, check out some of these deals and discounts! As an MSU benefits-eligible employee, you have access to discounts through MSU Benefits Plus. Save money on hotels, theme parks, shows and more! 

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-in by clicking on the Log In link in the top right corner of the page. First-time users will need to sign up for an account using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge or you can find the number in EBS). Use a capital “Z” when putting in your ZPID number.

Check out some of the deals you can find through MSU Benefits Plus:

  • Disneyland – A favorite spring break destination for kids and adults alike! Save on multi-day tickets at Disneyland Resort in California. Discounts are automatically applied through this link
  • Hotels.com – Are you traveling for vacay and need a place to stay? Save an ADDITIONAL 8% off most bookings at hotels.com with code CORESTREAM8. Find your destination at Hotels.com.
  • SeaWorld – Receive up to 45% off select SeaWorld tickets for fun the whole family can enjoy! Discover the available discounts for SeaWorld here.
  • National Car Rental – Need to get around during your trip? Enjoy up to 20% off your reservation rate when booking through this link. The discount is automatically applied through the link.
  • Expedia – Escape to Latin America and beyond! Expedia offers up to 20% off hotels in favorite destinations. Discounts are automatically applied using this link.

For more information on discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Celebrating HR Women Leaders on International Women’s Day!

March 8 is International Women’s Day. Recognized globally, this momentous day is intended to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women (internationalwomensday.com). This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #EachforEqual, to encourage that collectively each one of us can help to create a gender-equal world.

In 2018, women made up nearly half the U.S. labor force and held more than half of all management, professional, and related occupations. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). We have come a long way, and there’s still more to be accomplished. Here at MSU Human Resources, we have women occupying five executive positions. We have asked each woman HR executive to share a career tip for career success:

Sharon Butler, Associate Vice President:

“Think and behave in a manner that sends the message you are competent, curious, intelligent, and an independent thinker who is willing to work collaboratively with your colleagues.”

Donna Donovan, Chief of Staff and Director of HR Administration Services:

“Take on new challenges. Don’t be afraid to say yes to a new project or opportunity that excites or interests you, even if you feel you aren’t ready.  This is how we grow, gain perspective and get experience.”

Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director of Organization and Professional Development:

“Take a wide view of career success – a non-linear one. Consider positions that are lateral or even lower level if it offers a chance to learn new skills or lead a different team. Be willing to take on jobs and projects that are new to you. Find leaders who can facilitate that kind of empowerment and run from those who cannot. Finally, think ‘connecting’. Connecting people who have a mutual need or idea can create magic.”

Reneé Rivard, Director of Compensation and Benefits:

“Talk less and listen more. It’s surprising what you actually hear when not talking or thinking about what your response will be.”

Alice Smith, Director of Solutions Center:

“Jobs come and go as you move through your career, but your reputation, specifically whether you are known for behaving ethically and with integrity, will stick with you forever. It is THE single most valuable professional asset you have.”

Thank you to our HR executives for providing such valuable insight. We hope that it serves as encouragement to know that all are capable of success. While our careers are just one aspect of life, women have found success in leadership roles and continue to empower one another each day. With #EachforEqual in mind, we must work together towards a gender-equal world today and every day.

Job of the Week – Study Abroad Program Coordinator

This week’s job of the week is a Study Abroad Program Coordinator (#639778) for the Office of International Health and Safety Team in the International Students and Programs department.

This position will support the operational management of international health and safety matters. This includes, in collaboration with the Director of International Health and Safety and the Senior Coordinator for International Health and Safety, overseeing office management, analysis, travel preparedness and plan response strategies to promote and protect the well-being of MSU international travelers. The coordinator will share 24/7 coverage for international emergencies.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a bachelor’s degree in international relations, foreign language, area studies, communication, higher education administration, criminal justice, or a related field; three to five years of experience in a related field such as study abroad, emergency coordination, international travel and security, campus crisis management and/or risk management; international experience such as Peace Corps, nongovernmental or academic; experience living or working abroad; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Job of the Week – Editor/Graphic Designer

This week’s job of the week is an Editor/Graphic Designer (#638552) for MSU Athletics, specifically for the MSU Football Program. This position is seeking an individual to create content, promotional materials, and graphic elements that reflect the mission and image of the MSU Football Program.

The responsibilities for this role include proofreading created content, suggesting design and graphic edits, and maintaining contact with printers, editors, and clients to monitor production deadlines and budgets. Additional responsibilities for this role include maintaining proficiency in design software and word processing programs to train student employees, coordinating the purchase and maintenance of supplies and equipment, monitoring inventories, and consulting with staff members to recommend reprinting, revision, or discontinuance of publications.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year degree program in  Journalism, English, Graphic Design, Public Relations, Marketing, or related Liberal Arts program; three to five years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in reporting, writing, editing, proofing, graphic design, photography, research, public relations; experience with word processing, database, desktop publishing, web, graphics, and presentation software; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Tips to Enhance Savings During America Saves Week!

Today marks the start of America Saves Week, taking place February 24-29, 2020. America Saves Week is a nationally recognized time to encourage individuals and families “to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth” (America Saves, 2018). Saving money is much easier said than done, so MSU’s retirement vendors TIAA and Fidelity have provided tips and tools to make saving for retirement and (life in general) a bit easier.

  • Save just 1% more. If you’re already saving, that’s great! But, did you know that increasing your 401(k) savings by just 1% can cause your savings to grow exponentially? Try the Power of Small Amounts tool by Fidelity to see how a small increase can have big effects on your savings.
  • Utilize a financial goal planner. Reveal your personal financial path in just three steps:

1. Map your income and expenses.

2. Write down each of your goals.

3. Match each goal to a time frame.       

4. Find an in-depth financial goal planner from TIAA here.

  • Try an online webinar. Both Fidelity and TIAA offer a variety of online resources. Fidelity hosts webinars on everything from managing life to saving and investment, to preparing for retirement. Fidelity is offering live webinars for Fidelity members during America Saves Week; if you’re not a member, you can find previous webcasts available any time on the Fidelity website. TIAA offers educational articles on saving, tools for goal setting, a retirement calculator, and free live webinars. You don’t need to be a TIAA member to participate in the live webinars, simply select the “Guest Login” option on their website when signing up for a webinar. You can also give them a call at 800-842-2252.
  • Try to follow the 50/30/20 rule. Allow 50% of your income to go towards necessities, 30% towards discretionary items, and 20% towards savings. Click here to learn more about monthly savings plans and the 50/30/20 rule from TIAA.

Whether you’re looking to save for retirement now or start planning for your future, Fidelity and TIAA can help you plan with webinars, online professional help and financial planners.

For general questions about retirement, contact MSU HR at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434. For questions about your specific retirement plans, please contact your retirement vendor directly.