Archives for EI/EQ

How to Support Emotions at Work

A recent loss is inspiring me to shine a spotlight on mental health. There’s no knowing what, if anything, might have kept him here longer, but I know many of us at this time who knew and loved him are wondering what we could have done more.

These thoughts, while part of the natural process of grief, are tortuous. Yet there are so many suffering with these thoughts after similar losses, which feel so senseless and preventable.

This is my best effort at this time to implore employers and caring coworkers to implement preventive and mental health maintenance measures. It’s what I know I can do to help at a time that I feel helpless.

In order to de-stigmatize mental illness, we also have to de-stigmatize emotions. We have to de-stigmatize therapy and normalize healthy outlets, like yoga, meditation, journaling, walking, boxing, etc.

Eliminate the words “woo woo” and “new age” in the context of these practices. There is enough science at this point to substantiate their efficacy, so using those words just makes you seem ignorant, insensitive, and obsolete.

Additionally, it’s time the workplace was encouraging, even accommodating, of these outlets.

If an employer assumes that employees are taking care of their emotional and mental health needs outside of work hours, it’s a dangerous assumption.

Every manager and leader needs to be trained on how to create a conducive environment to have and process emotions, whether privately or with you. As individuals, we have to know how to take care of these needs on our own, but as a leader, you should be able to uncover these needs and know where to refer employees for the care of these needs.

What about physical wellness? Science has proven a link between mental health and physical health. Read more about the links and the costs of this in our Mindfulness and EI training report.

What do you do as an individual experiencing emotions at work?

Firstly, do not apologize!

Secondly, fight your inclination to hide or suppress these emotions. Call them out by name. “I’m feeling _______. I need a moment.”

You don’t have to decide anything else at this moment – what to do next, what to say, whether to go home or stay, who you’re inconveniencing, etc.

You can leave the room, or stay there. I find it easier to be with my emotions when I’m alone, at least at first. So, I would likely leave the room. I would head outside if I could, or toward any kind of nature – even opening a window would help.

Just allow it. Think of emotion as Energy in Motion – E-motion. It needs to flow. Breathing helps move the emotion through your body. It’s so easy to forget to breathe in the middle of intense emotion!

Be in it. Tune into your body – where are you experiencing this emotion physically? Your head? Your chest? Shoulders and neck?

Even during “normal” circumstances, nothing impacts your results in life more than how well you are feeling. Do whatever you can to adjust your lifestyle and schedule to incorporate alternative methods of achieving a calm mind, strong heart, clear lungs, and a positive outlook.

Even though we need connection, some of us are already emotionally fragile and need more uplifting versus more gloom and doom. Be careful not to impose your anxiety (which is justified, just not helpful) onto others. So, if you are feeling anxious before a scheduled call or outreach e-mail, take some time to exercise to get endorphins flowing or meditate to achieve a calm state of mind.

Incorporate time in your schedule to be alone and engage in activities that raise your vibration while limiting activities that induce stress. Be aware of any inclination to pick up your phone or device to check for constant updates. Recognize if looking for updates becomes a compulsion that isn’t serving your state of mind. You can find a helpful mini-hypnosis session on overcoming social media addiction, as well as some other helpful videos on this Facebook page.

If you feel like a victim, start processing all that happened to inspire these feelings. Have a pity party. Write down all of the events and feelings. Get them out into the open where you can refer back to them post-processing and sort out what is real, what is truth, what is story, what is assumption, and what is a product of your insecurities and limiting beliefs.

The time it takes to move through the emotion decreases as you get better at being with your pain.

At first, you may need a good 30 minutes, especially if an event was severe or historical. (If a reaction is hysterical, the cause is historical!)

What other possibilities exist?

What is in your control?

What outcome do you want? The desired outcome is not a necessary component of processing emotions, however, once your emotions are processed, you will have better logical judgment about what you want to happen next – if you need to go home, if you need to speak with someone, or if you are ready to face your co-workers and boss again.

You are under NO obligation to explain anything or apologize to anyone if you have dealt with your emotions healthfully. However, if someone was caught in the crossfire before you were able to process your emotion, you will have to decide if an apology is necessary to restore your integrity or your relationships. Depending on the severity of the blow, you may need to do much more than apologize and there may be irreversible consequences.

Learn from these consequences, prevent them in the future, and do not define yourself by these human moments.

What do you do as a leader when a team member is experiencing emotions?

Firstly, always validate emotions. Many managers and leaders do not want to be the recipient of anger, but this is a manifestation of ego, not empathy. So, even if the anger is directed at you, affirm that the person has a “right” to feel how they feel.

Ask them if they would like time to be alone or if they want to talk to you or with anyone else.

Be wary of pulling in human resources if human resources in your company is more inclined to react disciplinarily rather than resourcefully. At their best, human resources professionals are quite experienced and trained in serving in some counseling capacity, but there is too often a conflict of interest in processing events in compliance with policies and being fully emotionally available. There are also varying levels of severity that would certainly exceed the normal skill sets of human resources. If there is not a dedicated, licensed counselor or coach on staff, the best practice for HR is to refer the employee to other resources.

If you become the confidant. just listen. Don’t advise. Give your employees space to speak and process their emotions. Don’t try to fix anything, if there is anything for you as a leader to fix, until emotions have equalized. The message they need most is that you are committed to creating a safe place for them to share their emotions. You will have your own emotions about it, and you are justified in having those, too, but in this moment, just focus on listening. Eventually, it might be necessary to put your compassion into action. Allow yourself to process your own emotions before making any determinations, however.

If you and your company really want to demonstrate that you care and are willing to invest in the mental and emotional wellness of your team, allocate a room just for their emotional wellness.

What kinds of things would an emotional wellness room include?

A variety of tools to express a variety of emotions, from sadness to fear to anger.

  • Privacy
  • A box of tissues
  • Plants
  • A punching bag
  • A small table with chairs in case someone wants to talk it out
  • Papers and pens
  • Coloring books
  • Music/speakers
  • Pillows to scream into
  • Stuffed animals to squeeze or throw
  • A help button
  • A reference list for hotlines and guided meditations
  • A trampoline
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise mats
  • A water fountain

Additional concerns I have that require additional research, perhaps research that has not yet been conducted, include finding out at what rate corporate leaders are medicated for mental illness. How does that impact their centers of empathy in the brain and their ability to make conscious decisions? I am sure there are instances in which the medication enhances their ability to handle stressful situations, but I wonder about the situations that are people-related.

I am not anti-medication generally, and no – I absolutely do not want to stigmatize taking medication. The side effects of many of these medications seem sometimes worse than the condition, and I do worry that drugs are too frequently prescribed when there are other therapies, coping mechanisms, and non-prescription solutions that would present better long-term options for enhanced mental health. I know many people who have found healthier alternatives to pharmaceuticals, are able to come off their prescribed medicines (under a doctor’s care), and then realize just how numb they had been. Numb is the most often used word.

I wonder how much more challenging it is to be empathetic when you are numb.

If you have a personal story about this, I would love to hear it.

How were you taught to deal with your emotions?

How were you taught to deal with other people’s emotions?

Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up (ft. Kate Bush)

The official Don’t Give Up video. Directed by Godley and Creme.A standout track from Peter’s fifth studio album and the first one to have a proper title: S…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

5 Habits That Distinguish Leaders From Bosses

Now that my daughters are on sports teams, I am teaching them what it means to be an athlete. They’re not new to sports; between the two of them, they’ve tried just about everything: swimming, soccer, volleyball, field hockey, horseback riding, basketball, gymnastics, and on and on. Officially now, they are on teams with uniforms and games. They have teammates relying on them to perform. It’s a big step up from the casual effort they have been used to making.

I might have considered myself an athlete at some point in my life, particularly my senior year playing varsity softball and the first year I played rugby when I did some intense physical training. I realized when I met my husband that I was athletic, but not an athlete. He took it way more seriously than I ever did, and, go figure, he went all the way to world championships and the Junior Olympics. He didn’t even start until 6th grade, but to catch up with his friends who were further ahead, he put the time and commitment in. That drive became the foundation for strong habits to support his continual improvement, and probably what he can thank for his athletic scholarship and his college degree.

My husband is still on the wall of fame at the high school, so it was assumed my daughters would follow in his footsteps. We didn’t apply pressure to do anything but try and stay active. It took many years of trying many things, but they finally decided to choose something more serious – lacrosse and softball. Before I paid the fees, I made sure they understood the following:

  • If they don’t understand something, it’s their duty to their teammates to ask their coach for help.
  • Once you join the team, practice and games come before social engagements and most family engagements.
  • Besides the two days of practice, they have to practice what they learn in between at least 2 additional days per week (and more if they need it).
  • They have to be able to keep their current obligations to school and other activities, like show choir, band, and orchestra.
  • They have to start owning their health – build up their stamina and balance outside of practice and EAT HEALTHFULLY plenty of fruits and veggies, plus making protein a staple of every meal.
  • They have to start being mindful of their self-talk and experimenting with self-talk that makes them feel stronger and more capable.
  • They are responsible for taking care of, keeping track of, and bringing all equipment they need.

Once they agreed, life felt like it picked up speed by 10x, but after a year of little to do (safely), it’s been great, though tricky, to have a full calendar again. It has taken some adjustment for me to coach them through new habits so that they can keep the above commitments, but we are finally achieving a flow.

Just as discipline is the difference between playing sports and being an athlete, discipline also makes a difference between being a boss and being a leader.

So, I want to ask you:
  • Did anyone have a similar talk with someone before leadership was hoisted upon you?
  • Did someone explain that implied in leadership is the commitment to continually elevate your consciousness?
  • Did they show you how to elevate your consciousness?
  • Did they help onboard you into new habits to support this?

If your answer is yes, you are one of too few, and very fortunate.

Some leaders figure this out on their own, sometimes as a result of having poor leaders and sometimes as a result of having great leaders.

Still, forming habits conventionally is challenging just based on the anatomy and function of our brain. The hard-wiring of our survival brain sometimes inhibits our evolved brain when it comes to practicing conscious leadership as well as forming habits.

One way to overcome this natural barrier is to schedule your future habit as a ritual on your calendar.

There are 5 simple daily habits you can develop in 10-15 minutes each day that will exponentially and consistently expand your consciousness as a leader. They will also have multiple benefits to many other realms of your life.

These simple habits are:
  1. Mindfulness
  2. Upskilling
  3. Heart-centered communications
  4. Reflection
  5. Fitness (mind, body, and soul)

You could delegate a power hour every day to do them all, but that can be overwhelming and overwhelm itself can be inhibitive of starting and sustaining a habit. , even if being successful is really about cutting an hour of a less helpful habit, like scrolling social media.

Instead, I invite you to designate a day for each habit, and feel free to use the weekend how you like. If there is a day you love so much you want to repeat it, do that. You may be already doing one or a few of these. In that case, it’s just a matter of seeing these activities as part of your overall consciousness elevation strategy and you might want to make some tweaks accordingly. For instance, if you already spend some time upskilling each week, choose to upskill in breakthroughs in behavioral science, neuroscience, and performance optimization.

I’d like to suggest the following designations:

Monday Mindfulness

Tuesday Upskilling

Wednesday Heart-centered Communication

Thursday Reflection

Friday Fitness

You can feel free to re-arrange these as you see fit, based on how your energy or your calendar trend.

This schedule is based on my natural rhythms, because when it comes to forming a new habit, I like to give myself every advantage. I won’t schedule a high-energy activity when I’m low energy.

Monday – Mindfulness

Many people mistake mindfulness for meditation. Both have amazing benefits for your consciousness and beyond, but mindfulness is a practice where you take moments as frequently as possible throughout the day to just notice and be. Rather than trying to clear your mind, fill your senses by taking in every detail, from how your clothes feel on your body and how the air smells to the fine weaves of a fabric or the fractal design of a flower. Surely, designating a day for this will lead to you taking more mindful moments all around. Mindfulness helps you learn how to create calm in the midst of chaos and clarity in the midst of confusion. When you have to make high-stakes decisions as a leader, being able to do this is absolutely critical. It will also help you enhance your EQ and empathy so that you can be a more effective communicator.

Tuesday – Upskilling

I also call it “Learnin’ Tuesday,” but I’ve upgraded it to reflect that upskilling is also about applying what you learn, so make time for that, too.

If you were working on a certification, this would certainly apply, and, in that case, you might want to designate more than 15 minutes or integrate it into more than one day. However, just 15 minutes of watching a TED Talk, listening to a podcast, reading your favorite organization’s newsletter, a business journal, or a good old book will ensure that you are continually expanding your ability to consciously lead. It will also keep you on the forefront of impactful breakthroughs.

Because webinars and conferences can happen any day of the week, you may opt to schedule your upskilling day on a day that corresponds to a specific event and rearrange the days to dedicate to the other habits accordingly. Be graceful with yourself as you integrate new habits. Eventually, this will all feel like a pull, not a push, and you’ll naturally respond to schedule conflicts by prioritizing your habit.

Wednesday – Heart-centered Communication

If you are having a bit of a stress response to the idea of doing this, number one – you are not alone. Especially after this period of social distancing during such divisive times, we as a society are a bit out of the habit of digging into emotional content constructively. It would also be fair to say that we as a society have been traumatized and stunted in our communications over the past year. However, to be a conscious leader, creating a psychologically safe space for emotions is required. It might bring you some relief to know that heart-centered communication is mostly asking meaningful questions, listening with empathy, and following through with compassion.

You may use this time to build rapport and demonstrate vulnerability by making a confession about yourself. You could make an earnest inquiry with someone for whom you are concerned. We are focusing on the habit itself, so the people with whom you have this communication do not have to be in your professional realm. It’s expected that the better you get at leaning into emotion-filled conversations, the easier it will be to have them when your team members need them. Some professional applications could also be a weekly structured mentorship call, the institution of peer feedback loops, or attendance at a mastermind, so long as you and the other participants remain authentic and transparent about your emotional status.

Thursday – Reflection

Busy leadership schedules chronically fail to allow for ample time to reflect on communications and decisions. If you are like me, you may be criticizing yourself right now for torturing yourself with self-assessments. That’s actually quite common for high achievers, but it’s not really the healthful reflection I am recommending.

In this reflection, you will be suspending your ego and pouring on unconditional self-love. Does that sound contradictory? It might, because we think of our ego as an inflated version of our self-image, however, that is just what our ego does to make up for how small we feel. If we focus on feeling 100% perfectly imperfect just as are, even with our messy emotions, even after our mistakes, and even when our actions create negative consequences for others, we are quicker to take ownership, learn, and grow. We are not so busy maneuvering others’ perceptions to make us not wrong/right. When we stand in self-love, our ego has no job but to observe. Shame, we have learned from Brené Brown, is a very powerful, painful force that we let diminish our self-worth and convince us that we ought not to aspire to do big things since we do not deserve to succeed in them.

In evaluating the week’s decisions and communications, stand in self-love, knowing that no matter what you didn’t do perfectly, all is okay. Take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of all who were impacted by those decisions or communications.

Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Did you have the intended outcome? (Obviously, you want to evaluate the outcome or progress, first or foremost.)
  • What were the undesirable outcomes, if any?
  • Was there anything about your experience you could have improved? What was your emotional state throughout?
  • Did you take in all of the data?
  • What biases may have manifested that would impact others and be detrimental for stakeholders?
  • What were words or actions that triggered emotions?
  • Were the emotions helpful or harmful to your rapport and/or desired outcomes?

I highly recommend that you journal as you reflect. The cathartic exercise of writing can put you into a more perceptive and receptive state of mind, and you may have insights you wouldn’t otherwise have. Seeing your thoughts on paper enables you to use different parts of your brain for reflection which can make your assessment that much more comprehensive.

Determine if there is any unintended harm that you need to own and apologize for. Then make a plan for next week’s heart-centered communication to do just that. Some things may need to be cleaned up right away, but only do it after you have considered carefully what your higher self will say about it, and refrain from letting your ego take control. And only do so right away if it is in the highest good of the other person, not because you want to feel relief from your guilt as soon as possible.

Making a habit of reflection makes self-awareness more automatic and accelerates the switch from ego to higher self, which also further enhances your effectiveness as a communicator and decision-maker.

Friday – Fitness

Fitness in this context refers to mind, body, and spirit. You may opt to tend to all three daily or split them into three of their own separate days. Just be sure to integrate all three because, without all three integrated, you are not holistically healthy and optimized as a conscious leader.

Mind fitness is enhanced by games and puzzles, meditation, yoga, and a good night’s sleep, which obviously is also important for your physical fitness, just as physical fitness is great for your mind fitness, but not enough to have your physical fitness stand alone as both.

Some mind fitness can also cross over into spiritual fitness and vice versa, such as meditation with a spiritual or transcendental element or chanting. Note that being spiritual does not require religion at all. You may just opt to take time honoring the miracle that you are, that your friends, family, and pets are. You can also take some time to recognize the connectedness of everything. These are just some non-secular spiritual ideas. Not all religious practices are spiritual either. The difference is how they make you feel.

The difference between a boss or a leader is similar to the difference between playing sports and being an athlete, and that difference is discipline. It will be up to you, conscious leader, to establish boundaries that enable you to keep these commitments to yourself. Statistically, only a small portion of the population is really good at self-accountability for self-driven goals. If this isn’t you, engage a coach, an accountability partner, or keep your reasons visible to inspire you every day.

If you seek a coaching program that will help you establish these habits for the rest of your life, introduce you to the most cutting edge conscious leadership breakthroughs, and provide you with a peer support systems that will keep you inspired and motivated, find out if you are a candidate for the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint.

What are your conscious leadership habits? What is your why for having them?

The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

This is Track 09 of the Who’s album – Who’s next. First recorded (then rejected) in New York on March 16, 1971, this became the first song to be worked on wi…

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Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. She is an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) where some of her students won the 2018 national YEA competition, were named Ernst & Young’s America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Have You Ever Cried at Work?

Have you ever cried at work? Whether personal or work-related?

How about on the playing field?

What were you taught to do with that emotion?

Suppress it? Fight it? Hide it? Turn it off?

Did anyone ever tell you to just sit with it? Let it out? Journal about it?

Do those methods work, and even if they work in the short-term, what are the long-term impacts?

How many people, let alone leaders, are taught how to process emotion?

How many people have turned to medication or self-medication not as a last resort, but as a go-to to not deal with emotion?

What has toxic masculinity, rugged individualism, and toxic positivity done to contribute to the prevalence of mental illness in adults and those entering adulthood – the generation with the highest rates of mental illness (even pre-COVID) ever?

Or, has it been the increased stimulation and distraction that has led to the increase? Has it been the increase in expectations from our young people to thrive academically and athletically without allowing and accommodating room for our youth to just be still?

The prevalence of mental illness and high-profile mass shootings and bombings has forced some of these questions to the forefront, but what place do these questions have in the workplace?

I am thankful that I started therapy young – in the 5th grade. It was the first time someone told me it was okay to have feelings – to have MY feelings.  Still, it has taken a lifetime to make peace with the intensity of my emotions.

In order to de-stigmatize mental illness, we also have to de-stigmatize emotions. We have to de-stigmatize therapy and normalize healthy outlets, like yoga, meditation, journaling, walking, boxing, etc.

Eliminate the words “woo woo” and “new age” in the context of these practices. There is enough science at this point to substantiate their efficacy, so using those words just makes you seem ignorant, insensitive, and obsolete.

Additionally, it’s time the workplace was encouraging, even accommodating, of these outlets.

If an employer assumes that employees are taking care of their emotional and mental health needs outside of work hours, it’s a dangerous assumption.

Every manager and leader needs to be trained on how to create a conducive environment to have and process emotions, whether privately or with you. As individuals, we have to know how to take care of these needs on our own, but as a leader, you should be able to uncover these needs and know where to refer employees for the care of these needs.

What about physical wellness? Science has proven a link between mental health and physical health. Read more about the links and the costs of this in our Mindfulness and EI training report.

What do you do as an individual experiencing emotions at work?

Firstly, do not apologize!

Secondly, fight your inclination to hide or suppress these emotions. Call them out by name. “I’m feeling _______________. I need a moment.”

You don’t have to decide anything else in this moment – what to do next, what to say, whether to go home or stay, who you’re inconveniencing, etc.

You can leave the room, or stay there. I find it easier to be with my emotions when I’m alone, at least at first. So, I would likely leave the room. I would head outside if I could, or toward any kind of nature – even opening a window would help.

Just allow it. Think of emotion as Energy in Motion – E-motion. It needs to flow. Breathing helps move the emotion through your body. It’s so easy to forget to breathe in the middle of intense emotion!

Be in it. Tune into your body – where are you experiencing this emotion physically? Your head? Your chest? Shoulders and neck?

If you feel like a victim, start processing all that happened to inspire these feelings. Have a pity party. Write down all of the events and feelings. Get them out into the open where you can refer back to them post-processing and sort out what is real, what is truth, what is story, what is assumption, and what is a product of your insecurities and limiting beliefs.

The time it takes to move through the emotion decreases as you get better at being with your pain.

At first, you may need a good 30 minutes, especially if an event was severe or historical. (If a reaction is hysterical, the cause is historical!)

What other possibilities exist?

What is in your control?

What outcome do you want? The desired outcome is not a necessary component of processing emotions, however, once your emotions are processed, you will have better logical judgment about what you want to happen next – if you need to go home, if you need to speak with someone, or if you are ready to face your co-workers and boss again.

You are under NO obligation to explain anything or apologize to anyone if you have dealt with your emotions healthfully. However, if someone was caught in the crossfire before you were able to process your emotion, you will have to decide if an apology is necessary to restore your integrity or your relationships. Depending on the severity of the blow, you may need to do much more than apologize and there may be irreversible consequences.

Learn from these consequences, prevent them in the future, and do not define yourself by these human moments.

What do you do as a leader when a team member is experiencing emotions?

Firstly, always validate emotions. Many managers and leaders do not want to be the recipient of anger, but this is a manifestation of ego, not empathy. So, even if the anger is directed at you, affirm that the person has a “right” to feel how they feel.

Ask them if they would like time to be alone or if they want to talk to you or with anyone else.

Be wary of pulling in human resources if human resources in your company is more inclined to react disciplinarily rather than resourcefully. At their best, human resources professionals are quite experienced and trained in serving in some counseling capacity, but there is too often a conflict of interest in processing events in compliance with policies and being fully emotionally available. There are also varying levels of severity that would certainly exceed the normal skill sets of human resources. If there is not a dedicated, licensed counselor or coach on staff, the best practice for HR is to refer the employee to other resources.

If you become the confidant. just listen. Don’t advise. Give the employee space to speak and process their emotions. Don’t try to fix anything, if there is anything for you as a leader to fix, until emotions have equalized. The message they need most is that you are committed to creating a safe place for them to share their emotions. You will have your own emotions about it, and you are justified in having those, too, but in this moment, just focus on listening. Eventually, it might be necessary to put your compassion into action. Allow yourself to process your own emotions before making any determinations, however.

If you and your company really want to demonstrate that you care and are willing to invest in the mental and emotional wellness of your team, allocate a room just for their emotional wellness.

What kinds of things would an emotional wellness room include?

A variety of tools to express a variety of emotions, from sadness to fear to anger.

  • Privacy
  • A box of tissues
  • Plants
  • A punching bag
  • A small table with chairs in case someone wants to talk it out
  • Papers and pens
  • Coloring books
  • Music/speakers
  • Pillows to scream into
  • Stuffed animals to squeeze or throw
  • A help button
  • A reference list for hotlines and guided meditations
  • A trampoline
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise mats
  • A water fountain

Additional concerns I have that require additional research, perhaps research that has not yet been conducted, include finding out at what rate corporate leaders are medicated for mental illness. How does that impact their centers of empathy in the brain and their ability to make conscious decisions? I am sure there are instances in which the medication enhances their ability to handle stressful situations, but I wonder about the situations that are people-related.

I am not anti-medication generally, and no – I absolutely do not want to stigmatize taking medication. The side effects of many of these medications seem sometimes worse than the condition, and I do worry that drugs are too frequently prescribed when there are other therapies, coping mechanisms, and non-prescription solutions that would present better long-term options for enhanced mental health. I know many people who have found healthier alternatives to pharmaceuticals, are able to come off their prescribed medicines (under a doctor’s care), and then realize just how numb they had been. Numb is the most often used word.

I wonder how much more challenging it is to be empathetic when you are numb.

I hope for answers someday, and have been looking lately into pursuing a Ph.D. to dig into this deeper, among other research. If you have knowledge of any resources and/or research on this topic, please connect with me on social media. If you have a personal story about this, I would love to hear it.

How were you taught to deal with your emotions?

How were you taught to deal with other people’s emotions?

Guns N’ Roses – Don’t Cry

Music video by Guns N’ Roses performing Don’t Cry (Original Version). (C) 1991 Guns N’ Roses under exclusive license to Geffen Records

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

What We Can Learn From the Success of L’Oreal’s Mindfulness Program

Yesterday I attended an online L’Oreal mindfulness case study hosted by the Institute for Organizational Mindfulness and facilitated by Andy Lee, former Chief Mindfulness Officer at Aetna/current Senior Consultant for the Potential Project.

Jade Ku Sonlin, Assistant Vice President of People Development and Learning at L’Oreal, spent the hour talking about her personal mindfulness journey. She described how she went about gradually getting the C-level on board for a pilot, the success of that pilot, and how the pilot grew into a wellness program. She then expressed the continued impact on those who are now participating in that wellness program across the organization.

Sonlin started at L’Oreal in Marketing after burning out in LA agency life and adopting mindfulness as a practice.  Her marketing background proved very valuable in gaining buy-in and funding for this pilot (they outsourced to MindFresh.) Below are ways she applied her marketing know-how to eventually gain the approval and funds to move forward with a pilot.

Meet them where they are at

People are practicing mindfulness at some level, whether they know it or not. When you engage in activities in which you find yourself “in the flow,” take in all the details of something, and that moment before you do something that requires physical acuity when you take a breath you are practicing mindfulness. Sonlin’s boss is a mountaineer. He had some resistance to not just mindfulness, but also to the idea of dedicating time at work to it. So, Sonlin asked how he gets focused when he’s on a mountain in a precarious spot. He breathes. That was merely a seed planted that she could water later. More importantly, she now knew a way to frame mindfulness in a way that had relevance and resonance to him.

Throughout the pilot, they gathered feedback to continue to tap into messaging that would make the training more palatable, for instance eliminating names for yoga poses that weren’t understood by a non-yogi.

She also made sure the program was clearly named for what it was and dispelled some common myths, such as mindfulness is all about being still, or being still for long periods of time. In fact, there are various ways that you can practice mindfulness, and many take under 3 minutes!

Change is a marathon, not a sprint

Time is a precious commodity for anyone, but employers literally commoditize it. That’s why it’s not an easy sell to ask a company to spare any of it. The Aetna case study, which I had included in an accredited training that I did at an HR summit for my local SHRM chapter, proved that investing time in meditation creates … more time. (Read my Mindfulness and EI training report to find out more.)

Does that make people jump on board? Well, as Sonlin shared, mindfulness is a practice. This was repeated frequently throughout the training. So, not only is mindfulness training an investment of time, but something that must be practiced ongoingly in order to produce the ongoing benefits. You’re not just asking people to spare some time, but to accommodate something new permanently. That can feel overwhelming, especially for people currently experiencing burn out. This will likely cause resistance.

It is best implemented in stages for sustained longevity. First, it’s just about trying and learning. Then it’s noticing that trying and learning is making a difference. Then, it’s getting the brain to crave that difference and draw you into the practice, and that’s when you find yourself in a habit, or practice. The more social proof you can offer, the easier it becomes to enroll new people.

It starts with a ripple.

Offer evidence

Sonlin did a deep dive to find evidence that the investment of time and money would have business payoffs.  There are various case studies, some of which I’ve written about before. Since “because Google does it” is losing its luster as a compelling enough reason to try something, it’s thankfully really easy to point to the science.

The report I wrote a few years ago could have really come in handy for Sonlin since it lays out the science-based business case of mindfulness (and emotional intelligence) training.

L’Oreal’s mindfulness program was initiated in 2016, and Sonlin credits this program for L’Oreal employees sustaining productivity and morale during COVID.

Here are some other self-reported results from L’Oreal’s pilot participants:

  • 100% reported improved clarity
  • 96% reported increased patience
  • 95% reported it had a positive impact on their work
  • 84% discovered a technique that can use to de-stress

I have started to compile a curation of case studies to help you as a supplement to the Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Training report.

Mindfulness isn’t just a trend; it’s a breakthrough technology that will help forward-thinking leaders solve today’s and tomorrow’s problems. Read more about this in the report, and let me know if you want help promoting this to your company.

New Radicals – You Get What You Give (Original)

New Radicals Song Get What You Give…Ultimate 90’s Song!!I Claim NO Ownership Of This Song, All Credit Goes To New Radicals And Universal Music Group!!I Wis…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

What Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness Training ISN’T

By Bruce Mars

Woman_mirror

Why is emotional intelligence suddenly so touted as a major leadership skill?

Because we know a lot more about what makes people tick, what motivates them, and what inspires top performance than we ever did before. HINT: It’s not the old dominant intimidation model that helped the moguls of the past become monopolists (Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie.)

Industry was built by men during a time when being a man meant being tough, not showing weakness (by ways of emotions,) making decisions and demanding compliance, or else. The line between respect and fear was very thin.

Research done in 2005 proves that greedy entrepreneurs have less customer and employee satisfaction.

The more a leader gives freely, the more they will inspire trust and reciprocated financial and emotional rewards. The more they create a climate of lack, the more survival instincts will lead to cut-throat competitiveness that kills collaboration.

I mean, science does tell us this, but common sense might also tell you that starving people of rest, sleep, joy, living wages, and sometimes actual food will inhibit their performance. But that doesn’t mean that it’s common sense to make sure that your employees get ample rest, sleep, food, vacation time, fun, and money. That sounds like common sense, right?

What about starving people from being heard, having a voice, growing in contribution, having and expressing emotions, and being human?

We are learning more about what it means to be human and what it means to be an optimized human. So much has been discovered about the brain and its relationship with the mind, body, and spirit.

Did you know there actually is a part of your brain related to spirit? The insula and anterior cingulate, which also help you process social dilemmas. These are “newer” parts of our brain, evolutionarily. However, they are also parts of the brain we didn’t know much about, especially the implications of its clinical function, when many of today’s leaders were in college. And, these areas don’t fully develop until well into your third decade of life, unless this is accelerated (and development can be with practices that take mere minutes daily.) In fact, while they are the slowest developing parts of our brain, they are critical to helping us with perception, morality, and virtues.

So, it would stand to reason that this type of training certainly benefits everyone, especially younger professionals, and perhaps even students.

However, a major focus is on leaders for obvious top-down reasons, like the fact that a leader is more effective when he or she leads by example, and leaders are expected to set the tone for the culture. But also, science now recognizes that as someone grows in ambition, they may express what is being called situational greed. Greed can contribute to amassing wealth, but can also cause people to act unfairly and selfishly, which will inspire altruistic punishment instead of cooperation and collaboration. It can also lead to full-blown crisis, such as the great recession. It needs to be kept in check, and for that, awareness is necessary. So, emotional intelligence and mindfulness training will also prevent leaders from a well-documented inclination that can lead to decisions that inspire low satisfaction, disengagement, and even sabotage.

On the upside…

What would be possible for your company if all of your employees could be trusted to act in the highest good of the company, its people, and its employees?

What would happen if, instead of having leaders who were able to leverage the strengths of his or her team, you have a team that can leverage each others’ strengths?

If this seems like a pie in the sky outcome, you may need to readjust your expectations of what is possible, and even what’s probable when you focus on enhancing individual self-awareness and empathy.

Think about all of the measures you take now to handle conflicts, ensure compliance, and mitigate human-based risks. You’ve been playing defense. I invite you to see what’s possible when you employ EI/MT (Emotional Intelligence/Mindfulness) training and start playing offense.

Small ripples create big, transformative waves.

What is EI/MT NOT?

It’s not just explaining etiquette. It’s not teaching ethics. It’s not a new way to make some people feel inferior or superior. It’s not going to make your employees “soft.” It’s not suppressing or denying emotions or emotional responses. It’s not a way to avoid conflict.

In fact, it’s going to help your employees become more self-sufficient at facilitating non-judgmental communications and consensus building. They will crave collaboration, think more creatively, and have healthier relationships with their emotions.

I have seen mindfulness be misapplied and misused to discourage people from disputing management decisions that seem to not be in the highest good. I have also seen people employ mindfulness and meditation to escape their emotions. These misuses backfire in big ways. The first is really bordering on mental abuse, and the second will lead to physical symptoms and illness. What we resist persists. Emotions need to be embraced and allowed. What the training does is release emotional bottlenecks and give them a more appropriate and healthful way to flow. It also increases awareness of the emotions so that decision making is done in an enhanced state of mind.

I have also seen those who have the training make others who are struggling emotionally feel like they need fixing. If you have been playing defense, the introduction of these trainings risks imposing these feelings. There is a way to introduce these trainings to your workforce that will help them embrace the changes and get excited about all that is possible for them rather than making them feel like they are joining a woo woo club of spiritual elitists.

Finally, these practices may produce a flow state, but that doesn’t mean that your workforce will suddenly become “soft” and unable or unwilling to deal with pressure. In fact, mindfulness has been proven to increase resilience.

I know a lot has been floating around about trainings of this type, which are not new, but have now at least been proven by small and large organizations to have a positive impact. If your interest is piqued, reach out to schedule a consultation and learn how EI and Mindfulness training can enhance your work experience and outcomes and those of your team.

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I Am

Music video by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians performing What I Am. (C) 1988 Geffen Records

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.