I wrote a measly 17 posts last year – falling far short of my own expectations of one a week! That brings the total to 72 since I started it in 2010.
This is partly because I was enamoured with tweeting and because I also write a leadership & management blog amongst others. As with all my blogs most of the pictures I use are ones I have taken on my travels so I hope you liked them as well.
My readers come from 75 different countries; mostly the UK but with the USA and Canada not far behind.
In reverse order:
My 5th most read post was: “Can you recognise emotions?” from November 2011
My 4th most read post was: “No country for grey-haired men” from January 2011, which was in second place last year.
My 3rd most read post was: “Moral judgements & decision-making under the influence” from October 2010, which was also in third place last year
My 2nd most read post was: “Emotional Intelligence, self-control and those marshmallows” from May 2010, which was in fourth place last year
And my most read post was: “The four agreements – shamanic emotional intelligence” from August 2010. This has been in first place for 3 years running.
So 4 out of 5 posts were also in my list last year. Must do better with new material next year!
Thank you for reading, liking, and following. All my posts are tweeted at @bizpsycho which you can follow or you can subscribe on this site
A study reported last year from Illinois State University found almost the opposite.
Impulsivity was linked to more examples of organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB), discretionary acts that promote the organisation, across a range of industries. Impulsive colleagues are more likely to help out colleagues even at the expense of their own work assignments than more cautious diligent employees.
This reflected what the researchers called a “can do” attitude. In this study they didn’t find any evidence that impulsivity led to more deviant behaviours. Other studies have shown that impulsivity but also optimism and cognitive ability can predict deviant behaviours so recruiters beware!
A far as emotional intelligence (EI) is concerned they didn’t find it linked to OCBs but more linked to deviant behaviours. People with high EI can easily figure out how to influence others and get away with self-interested behaviour such as fiddling receipts (does this remind you of the dark side?).
Other recent research at the University of Leuven in Belgium found that self-serving leaders could still be effective even if they weren’t emotionally intelligent? (It was assume that the more narcissistic self-serving leaders would have lower levels of EI).
It seems it depends on the level of distributive justice (e.g. are employees getting what they deserve?)
When distributive justice was perceived as low, then self-serving leaders were seen in a negative light. But when these leaders keep their staff happy e.g. by promotions and other rewards, the staff saw them in a more favourable light (perhaps unsurprisingly).
If anything this kind of research shows that we need to be careful not to make broad assumptions about the positive value of these personal attributes. Don’t forget narcissists and psychopaths can be charming (and manipulative).
And that’s not bad for someone who has business and law degrees but is a self-taught psychologist.
She is described as an extreme leadership guru who uses neuroshaping or “playing chemist with your own brain” to help people become more charismatic and persuasive.
Like other top end coaches she offers shadowing and video analysis and concedes that the charisma label is just a hook she uses to attract clients.
Starting off by offering free charisma courses to students at MIT she soon developed programmes for Harvard, Yale and the UN. She says she still does pro bono work for charities and refuses to work with politicians.
She is adamant that charisma is not just a genetic gift bestowed on people like Bill Clinton but is mostly learnt. Cabane also says that there are different kinds of charisma e.g. a warm likeable charisma (think Tony Blair at his peak and Bill Clinton) or a colder uncompromising style such as personified by Steve Jobs.
Mmm .. I’ve used a model borrowed from actors which suggests that charisma is a combination of warmth and status. Think of Gordon Brown as high status but hardly warm and cuddly. And that model ties in with US research on charismatic Fire Chiefs who score high on the Big 5 factor of Agreeableness.
Despite the reference to “neuroshaping” (which hints at he current interest in neuroscience) it seems much of what she teaches clients is about assertiveness and the use of NVC (she mentions the MIT research I’ve posted about previously). She also uses visualisation and anchoring techniques used by sports psychologists and NLP practitioners.
Here are the 5 steps outlined in the Times article
Stand like a big gorilla and take up as much space as possible. This is a technique well known to actors and is an example of demonstrating high status
Don’t wave your head about or nod as it indicates low status and confidence. Especially important for women who tend to move their heads to the side when theys peak. This is more a courtship/flirting signal
Make good eye contact but with warmth. Again a sign of confidence.
Lean back rather than froward when closing a deal as this suggests high confidence. In the past people were trained to lean forward and invade personal space to intimidate people.
Be aware of how you are feeling. Be in the moment. Mindfulness is very popular now and anything like it will help you relax and concentrate.
Good emotional intelligence and empathy will also be invaluable.
This was even though fewer than half had actually succeeded in maintaining goals they had set the previous year
Most goals were health-or finance-related. When asked what obstacles they faced 1 in 4 said lack of willpower although 70% optimistically thought it could be improved.
Building on the work of Walter Mischel (famous for the marshmallow experiments) and Roy Baumeister among others, the APA’s report on the research makes the case that willpower is ike a muscle. Short-term demands weaken it but using it more leads to better self-control in the long run.
Baumeister says that behavioural change needs three components: the motivation to change, monitoring change, and willpower, whilst Mischel’s experiments highlight the need to plan ahead and avoid temptation.
The report also recommends ways of developing willpower including keeping your blood sugar levels balanced through eating and snacking healthily as some research suggests low glucose level weaken self-control. Other research found it was merely necessary to wash your mouth out with an energy drink to boost self-conrol i.e. the carbohydrates boost willpower through affecting motivation not nutrition levels.
Another method is using IF – THEN statements: if I’m offered a cupcake then I’ll eat a raw carrot, or if I’m offered a glass of beer then I’ll have a fruit juice instead.
The APA’s CEO said; “it’s reassuring to know that even though people view a lack of willpower as a hurdle in their quest to live healthier lives they believe that they can learn the skills they need to change their lifestyles”.
Research shows that setting goals, monitoring progress, and seeking support can be very effective in helping people increase their self-control and lead healthier lives.
It also has implications in work and management. Baumeister’s model is not too dissimilar to Beckhard’s change management equation and self-control is a key element in developing emotional intelligence (EI).
Charles Darwin’s early experiments on recognising what he called the Cardinal Emotions ie universally recognised expressions of emotions, have been recreated using the original 11 photographs.
Darwin’s original research was to prove that humans shared expressions with animals thus supporting his theory of evolution.
The results were published in his 1872 book “The Expression of Emotion in Human and Animals”.
Now you can go on-line to make your own judgments about which emotion is being expressed.
Paul Ekman, the expert in body language and micro-expressions on whom the TV series “Lie to Me” was based, followed up Darwin’s work in the 1960s travelling round pre-industrial cultures to see if there really were universal emotional expressions. His findings broadly supported Darwin’s hypothesis.
His company currently trains people to recognise emotional expressions and is also believed to be involved in training Homeland Security and security experts in the UK to develop face-reading skills.
Cambridge University has updated the experiment using video and you can contribute to their research by assessing online video clips.
Recognising emotional expressions is important in variety of research areas such as autism, where sufferers find it difficult to recognise emotional expressions.
Botox users also find it difficult to express emotions through facial expressions, thus making it more difficult for others to read them, and it has been suggested that it actually reduces their level of empathy.
Empathy is one of the cornerstones of emotional intelligence. Being able to recognise other people’s emotional state through non-verbal signs is an important element of EI.
Read the full BBC news story
Latest research from New Zealand demonstrates that childhood levels of self-control are clearly linked with outcomes later in life.
1,000 NZ children were assessed at 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 years of age and then interviewed at age 22.
Participants with poor self-control were more likely to become one-parent families, more likely to have credit and health problems, and more likely to have a criminal conviction. This was true even allowing for the effects of intelligence and social class.
- In the top fifth – in terms of childhood self-control – 11% had serious adult health problems compared to 27% in the bottom fifth.
- 13% of the top fifth were involved in a criminal offence compared with 43% of the bottom fifth.
Terrie Moffitt and her colleagues argue that this is a strong case for introducing universal self-control training into schools for children and adolescents. This would not carry the stigma of one-to-one interventions and would benefit everybody in society.
Source: February 2011 Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences
NB Marshmallows refers to Mischel’s famous experiment often cited in connection with emotional intelligence.
Here is another article about self-control with an embedded video showing 4-year olds using distraction to avoid eating the marshmallows.
GQ is based on John Gray’s best-selling books comparing men and women to Mars and Venus.
Recent research suggests that men and women aren’t actually that much different after all (although men tend to have bigger brains than women).
But the test/quiz purports to tell you how much you know about gender differences so that you can be more effective when working with men and women, especially when selling to them.
Of course it’s a pitch for their sales training but it makes you think so it’s worth having a go by clicking here.
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Associate Professor of psychology at Goldsmiths College, University of London recently posted a blog on Psychology Today about IQ and how it is still the best predictor of success in life, including at school, at work, and in health.
He says that many people however associate high IQs with geeks or nerds and don’t accept how useful it is as a predictor of job performance, particularly since the publication of books on emotional and multiple intelligences.
There is also more knowledge about intelligence now, about the effects of interaction with the environment and competition on IQ scores.
He also acknowledges that much of the research has been carried out on traditional types of jobs, albeit requiring different skills and qualifications.
He is therefore interested in people in non-traditional jobs, the self-employed and entrepreneurs, on which there are few if any studies and who will form an increasingly large proportion of the working population in years to come.
So he wants to know how important IQ is in entrepreneurial success and has designed a survey to explore this. If you want to read the background to this in more detail and would like to be part of some research to find out, click here.
If you don’t want to read the Psychology Today blog just go straight to the on-line test and get your free report here.
Updated 19 May 2011: The link above is to Dr Mark’s Business Psychology Blog, one of my favourites, and he has posted another one on “Bottling the Entrepreneurial Spirit”. Well worth reading.
See also: How do you know how intelligent you are?
But it also means there are lots of excellent writers already out there in the blogosphere. So it’s encouraging that so many of you have taken the trouble to read my posts and even added comments which I welcome and appreciate.
These were the 5 most read of my posts in 2010.
An interesting and scary piece of research for its potential in everyday situations at work.
At number 4: So many “friends” yet still lonely
A re-blog from Mike the Psych, where it was the 3rd most popular post, setting out the downside of Facebook.
At number 3: How do you know how intelligent you are?
Food for thought and a chance to test yourself and contribute to a scientific experiment.
At number 2: Stressful Days are here again
Re-blogged by SGandA, where it was joint 4th most popular post, it does seem that the recession is having an effect. So time to learn how to be more resilient.
And by far the most popular post, with 4 times more viewers than the second placed one: The Four Agreements – shamanic emotional intelligence
An alternative take on many of the ideas from Emotional Intelligence , CBT and NLP, and one which is a regular in my top posts.
So thanks for reading my posts and encouraging me and here’s wishing you an emotionally intelligent 2011!
So say Drs Brown and Fenske, regular contributors to the Harvard Business Review, in their book “The Winner’s Brain”.
They also believe that the brain retains the capacity to change throughout adulthood (also see “Old doesn’t mean stupid“).
They say if you put in the work you can enhance brain function which in turn will help you become more self-aware, more resilient and with better control over attention and emotional responses (some of the key aspects of emotional intelligence).
Using neuro-imaging techniques researchers can now see which parts of the brain are active when people are engaged in specific tasks and also what impact certain activities have on those areas. They believe that those functions can be enhanced – literally fine-tuning the brain.
They suggest a number of strategies to help us perform better.
- Meditation for stress relief can affect visible changes in areas of the brain which in turn have an impact on our ability to control attention and our emotional response
- The bigger the task the more likely you are to procrastinate. Therefore you nedd to reframe the problem and break it into small, concrete steps (bite size chunks as trainers might say). It is the ability to change the way you look at a task or problem that is important and the more you do it the more success you have.
- Brain functions that provide focus break down when you are multi-tasking or have distractions. To work optimally you can’t multi-task because the brain has limitations when doing multiple things (see “Multi-tasking makes you stupider than smoking pot“). So eliminate distractions but not all of them. To be at your best you may need to reduce activity in parts of the brain involved in self-monitoring and self-criticism. So us a gentle distraction like background music or ambient sounds just enough to keep your critical self-conscious occupied so you can focus and work more easily. But avoid abrupt distractions like phone calls or e-mail alerts.
Source: HBR September 2010
Updated 5 November 2010: Neuroscientists at the University of Oxford have discovered that passing electricity through the brain, from the right parietal lobe to the left, improves mathematical ability. If you pass the current in the opposite direction however it reduces your ability.
The research was looking for ways of treating dyscalculia, the numerical equivalent of dyslexia, which is thought to affect 6% of the population. Such a treatment might also be useful for people who have suffered a stroke or brain injury.
Of course there would be nothing to stop people with normal ability in maths using such a treatment to improve their ability eg when taking exams. This could replace the smart drugs such as Ritalin and Provigil used by some people as cognitive enhancers by improving attention and alertness. (See my earlier post; “Keeping up with speed“).