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.

Winter Is Here, but Have No Fear! Home and Auto Tips for the Wintertime.

Colder temperatures and snowfall are among us. Have you taken steps to ensure your comfort and safety this winter season? With just a few suggested adjustments, including home and auto insurance coverage through Liberty Mutual and MetLife, you’ll be prepared to handle any weather that comes your way.

Winter Driving Tips:

Have you ever been in a slippery situation? Wintertime driving can leave us feeling like we’re on thin ice—literally! Poor driving conditions account for almost half a million car accidents during the winter months (Federal Highway Administration, 2018). Adjusting your driving in the event of inclement weather can not only save you money, but more importantly your life. Here are five winter driving tips to help keep your money and yourself safe this snowy season:

  1. Make sure your vehicle is insured. MSU offers eligible employees auto insurance plans through Liberty Mutual and MetLife. Enjoy the convenience of having your auto insurance payroll deducted.
  2. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. This can help to prevent your vehicle from losing traction and you losing control of your vehicle in potentially slippery conditions.
  3. Maintain a following distance. During winter months, increase your following distance about eight to 10 seconds, as driving further back allows for additional stopping time. 
  4. Invest in winter tires. Different from your standard tires, winter tires are designed for increased traction on ice and snow. The average cost is about $120; however, that is a small fraction of what you would spend in the event of an accident.
  5. Leave early and drive slowly. One of the key factors of driving safe during the winter season is simply just to slow your driving down entirely. Plan to leave your home much earlier for work and other events to ensure ample time for a safe drive.

Winter Cost Saving Energy Tips for the Home:

It’s no secret that a much colder season is upon us and it can have chilling effects on our wallets. With winter in full swing, we tend to adapt our everyday lives to ensure optimum comfortability. However, a change in the weather does not have to mean a change in the cost of maintaining your home. Here are five winter cost saving energy tips for the home:

  1. Take advantage of homeowner’s insurance. MSU offers eligible employees home insurance plans through Liberty Mutual and MetLife. Enjoy the convenience of having your home insurance payroll deducted.
  2. Utilize the sun. There isn’t nearly as much daylight during the winter season; however, warmth from sunlight can drastically change the temperature of your home. Open the curtains on the south-facing windows of your home to let in some natural light and warmth.
  3. Find and seal any drafts. Common areas such as the cracks around doors and windows let cool air in, making it harder to keep your home warm. Sealing drafts in could lower annual energy costs up to 30% (U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2019).
  4. Use ceiling fans to circulate air. Place your ceiling fan on its lowest setting to circulate the warm air that rises, leaving your home feeling much warmer.
  5. Make sure all vents are open and uncovered. Do a quick check of every room to ensure there aren’t any items blocking your vents. This allows for maximum heat flow, preventing increased costs to heat your home.

For more information on home and auto insurance through Liberty Mutual or MetLife, visit MSU Benefits Plus. You can get a free quote by contacting Liberty Mutual at 888-860-0316 or MetLife at 877-619-5604.

How to Become a Mentor

This is a guest post written by Kathie Elliott, Sr. HR Professional.

Having a mentor can make a big difference in someone’s career. You may want to consider becoming a mentor if you have experiences and skills to offer. Even if you are early in your career or new to your position, you still have knowledge to share.  Mentorships take many forms, including mentoring up (such as sharing technical or emerging best practices with more experienced employees), peer mentoring (such as onboarding a new teammate), or mentoring a returning or new professional (such as helping a colleague who experienced a break in their career). Many could benefit from your experience, especially at MSU where we work with student employees, emerging faculty and/or researchers, or employees moving between administrative and academic positions.

If you are ready to mentor, consider:

  • Your area(s) of expertise –
    • Distinguish between skills you have used in the past (verify their current applicability today), and those you are confident still represent best practices.
  • What you would like to experience or learn during the mentorship.
  • How much time you can commit, and for what period.
  • How many mentees you would like to work with (individually, or as a group).
  • Whether you already have someone in mind and, if so, how to approach them.
  • Your preferred meeting format (e.g., networking event, activity, shared learning experience, coffee, etc.).
  • How much structure you would like (e.g., a mentorship developed over occasional calls and meetings, a just-in-time mentorship where every contact has a specific and time-sensitive goal, or a highly structured mentorship with a formal arrangement under very specific perimeters ).

No matter your preferences, there are steps to take to be ready when an opportunity arises:

  1. Identify your areas of expertise and ask others for feedback, if necessary.
  2. Model continuous learning. Upgrade your skills and become familiar with different learning styles.
  3. Consider your communication style and how that may help or impede a mentorship.  Are you comfortable sharing your experiences and emotions even though they may be somewhat embarrassing? If not, begin pushing yourself beyond your comfort level so you are able to fully share your experiences and their impact on you professionally and personally.
  4. If you have work habits or professional relationships that could be improved, address them now so you are at your best.
  5. Practice giving feedback and offering advice. Do you sense that, despite your sincere desire to help others, your efforts are misinterpreted? Seek out someone you admire for their people skills and allow them to mentor you in the art of communicating to influence. Consider taking a class such as Crucial Conversations, or reviewing online resources in elevateU.

Mentoring should always involve willing and interested parties with an expectation of discretion, and unrelated to the employee’s work status or position. Those who may influence an employee’s position or wages should not serve as a mentor to that employee.

If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in these previously published articles about mentorship:

Environmental Tips for the Winter Season

With the help from Be Spartan Green, we’ve put together a video of environmental tips for this cold winter season. Here are some of the following ways you can save money and energy this season and help protect our environment, especially when you’ll be leaving the office for holiday breaks.

Top Tips:

-Turn off all unneeded electronic equipment. Unplug all electronics or turn off the surge protector so they don’t use stand-by energy.

-Use plug control equipment such as the Smart Strip available at University Stores.

-Take the time to clean out and defrost refrigerators and freezers to make them more energy efficient.

-Dial down thermostats, especially at night and when you aren’t there. Dress in layers to feel warmer wherever you go.

-Laboratories should keep fume hood sashes closed for energy saving and safety reasons.

To share these tips to your friends and family, you can email or print this flyer.

Other useful links:

Office of Campus Sustainability

Green Certification Information