The Power & Influence of Emotionally Intelligent Staff Networks

16 Feb 2017

"We define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions." (Salovey and Mayer)

 

Over the course of my career history, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to experience and be part of not one, but three staff networks; within three different industry arenas.  Not only was the experience empowering but it helped to shape and pave the pathway I have taken into the world of Emotional Intelligence (EI).

 

So… what is Emotional Intelligence? 

Dr Hank Clemons, Founder and CEO of the Society of Emotional Intelligence, Tampa Florida, USA says: Emotional Intelligence is being “smart” about our emotions and those of others. 

 

EQ-i 2.0 Model

Emotional Intelligence is at the centre of the  EQ-i 2.0 model with five composite scales and fifteen subscales.  The subscales are the building blocks of EI and the composite scales are the high-level categories that contain the subscales.  All of these work together to impact emotional and social functioning and overall performance, which includes wellbeing or putting it in other terms your Happiness.

 

Okay, okay… I’ve got the model… So… tell me, how does EI synergise with Staff Networks, I hear you ask! Quite seamlessly I hasten to add. 

 

Imagine if progressive organisations were to introduce and embed Emotional Intelligence into their organisational infrastructure; through their staff networks, training, recruitment, selection and induction initiatives.  For organisations to truly nurture and grow equitably, they need to start healing from within their infrastructure at all levels, not leaving anyone out. 

 

This is easier said than done.

 

I remember my first involvement in a staff network was at Ernst & Young (EY).  The EY Black Network (EYBN), as it was known then, was built on three core values Quality, People and Growth; with an overarching mission statement of ‘considering diversity in everything we do’.  The committee members consisted of members of staff from varied levels and industry areas in the organisation bringing with them different aspects of knowledge, skills and expertise but, all of them bringing passion for an inclusive staff network that supported and enabled other BME staff in the organisation to ‘dare to dream’ in their journey to succeed and achieve goals and aspirations.  I was very proud to be part of the network and a committee member.  I remember with fondness some of the great initiatives and events that came out of it also, some of the key people like Trevor Phillips OBE, attending as a guest speaker at one of many EY BME graduate events; this was so inspirational for all the graduates who attended.  I also remember the challenges we faced back then trying to gain a sponsor from the leadership team for support and endorsement for the network.  This was always an uphill struggle.  I remember a comment made by a senior manager that they didn’t think it would be appropriate for them to sanction a Caribbean themed event!!  When I look back to those days, I realised the comments that were made back then, were totally inappropriate, for what we as a staff network, were striving to do to empower and support staff at all levels in career advancement, personal and professional development.  Today, (EY) has a very large and inclusive network infrastructure.

 

Any organisation can heal and grow significantly, if they embrace the concept that they are indeed ill and, in order to grow and progress, they need some intervention to aide healing.

 

By tapping into their Emotional Intelligence (EI), organisations, can empower everyone as leaders, managers and staff; whilst understanding how their ability or capacity as professionals and individuals to not only perceive, assess and manage their own emotions but that of others as well; be it leader, peer or subordinate, would be deemed a core strength within itself.  

 

Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE, author of The Incredible Power of Staff Networks has deep passion, knowledge and understanding of how incredible staff networks are when staff are supported by their organisation, line managers and peers to nurture and grow within the support of the staff network infrastructure. She says: "Effective staff networks, through leadership, performance and delivery can exhibit qualities of Emotional Intelligence. I watched people who were rather apathetic and laissez-faire about the staff network become the strongest supporters and advocates for our work. I witnessed members, who at one point coasted along with nominal membership, become active ambassadors.  I experienced first-hand the attitudinal change from members, managers and others. The staff network, that was once a dying plant, blossomed into a wonderful bouquet fragrant with ideas, creativity, and action. "

 

 I can attest to this. As a former Chair of the staff network at Barts Health NHS Trust and, a HRD Specialist I looked at people development within the trust. Like many other trusts, Barts Health was not exempt from bullying and harassment, discrimination and staff sickness and absenteeism as a result of stress.  We held an event where we invited Roger Kline, Director, NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard to talk to our network members about The Snowy White Peaks of the NHS.  Roger’s talk was followed by three micro workshops where network members could choose a session to join (Snowy White Peaks of the NHS, Critical Race Theory and Resilience in the face of Adversity).  Throughout the whole process, emotional intelligence was taken into consideration and seamlessly interwoven from concept to fruition; realising early on that certain areas of ‘delicacy’ had to be taken into consideration by tapping into the EI composite scales and subscales, i.e., Stress Management, Social Responsibility, Empathy and Decision Making and, knowing that the flyers and emails were not yielding the sign-up we expected, we decided to use another approach and spoke to quite a few staff network members who were very keen to attend but, had not signed up as yet.  We realised very early on in those conversations, that their line managers did not support them coming along to the event, even though these said same managers, had been informed and invited to come along too!  

 

On the day of the event, nearly 40 people turned up to listen to Roger’s presentation and engage in the workshops… even some individuals we least expected to attend, came along too!

 

See… it works!! 

 

Never underestimate the Power and Influence of Emotionally Intelligent Staff Networks! 

 

When organisations really tap into their Emotional Intelligence and start seeing their staff as their best assets, they will invest in them wholeheartedly.  Whether it’s through endorsing and supporting staff networks or, through other People Management initiatives, enabling developmental progression for all staff and success for the organisation.  

 

Dianne Greyson, Director, Equality Champion and Senior HR Executive wrote an article recently about People Management, where she shares her insight into how organisations such as John Lewis Partnership, as a caring organisation, are paving the way and demonstrating inclusivity with their staff by embodying their vision and values and truly showing they care enough about their staff and reward them for their contribution to the success of the organisation.  Here we can clearly see, the organisation is consciously tapping into the realms of Emotional Intelligence around continued staff support, motivation and development.             

So… how can I help you and your organisations tap into your Emotional Intelligence?  Well… you can look out for a future talks and workshops via the Power Hub… watch this space for more details... or, if you want the 'Full EI Experience' you can sign up for my Emotional Intelligence programme incorporating EQ-i 2.0 assessment and feedback. Contact me for more information and costs.

  

Invest in Your Emotional Intelligence… you owe it to yourself!

#EmpoweringAll #EI4U #SS

 

About the Author:
 

Jacqueline Hinds is a certified Emotional Intelligence Coach and Leadership Consultant with over 25 years of knowledge, skills and expertise within the Human Resource Development arena of key corporate and public sector organisations.  She is passionate about people… and helping them to realise, unlock and release their true potential to be the best that they can possibly be; whether it’s through 1:1 coaching, personal development or emotional intelligence training and/or coaching.  Her diverse skills and abilities enable her to provide bespoke training, tailored specifically for the clients’ needs.  Jacqueline is contactable via email on: info@wilsonhindsconsulting.com

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