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February 14, 2012

Written by: Joseph D'Allesandro

Did you ever meet someone who was absolutely brilliant; knows everything about their particular craft or field and yet doesn’t seem to have gone as far with their career as they should have by now? Have you ever worked for a multiunit leader or executive who consistently achieved their goals and made it look easy?

In both cases emotional intelligence or “EI” made the difference.

According to Emotional Intelligence 2.0, EI measures four areas:
• Self-awareness – your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations
• Self-management – your ability to use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively
• Social Awareness – your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on with them
• Relationship Management – your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully

Why work on your EI?
Leadership requires a higher level of EI. If you aspire to grow into a multiunit or executive position, you have to polish your “soft skills” as well as your expertise in operations, financial performance, human resources, marketing and compliance. Soft skills are tied to your emotional behavior and include attitude, communication skills, finesse, candidate selection skills, flexibility, ability to accept criticism, self-confidence, ability to work on or lead teams, humility, time management, and many more.

True leaders are always improving. Even though our habits, personality, and the way we processes thoughts become generally set by the time we exit puberty, we can change aspects of our behavior through a willful modification of habits.

In the last decade, I have seen a steady and dramatic increase in the use of pre-employment assessments in the hiring process in the hospitality sector. These used to be reserved for middle management and executive-level applicants; maybe a high volume general manager or executive chef with a progressive company. Now these assessments are part of the online application process for every level from the boardroom to hourly crew for hotels and QSR restaurants.

When asked your “opportunities” or “areas of improvement” during an interview, having a plan to overcome your behavioral weaknesses as well as your business acumen will demonstrate your commitment to self-improvement, a great leadership trait. Astute interviewers see great value in a person who is self-aware and committed to self-improvement.

Two Easy Steps
I suggest two assessments and a 15 minute per week time investment. Changes will not, and should not, happen overnight.

First, take the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 assessment. This small investment of $20 and 10 minutes will give you an instant read of your EI, and provide a couple simple ways to make changes. You can also retake the assessment several months later to check your progress.

Second, take the DiSC assessment which measures your behavior and personality based on four areas: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. The DiSC is really valuable because it provides detailed insight into your behavioral preferences and inclinations. In addition, you learn how to identify the behavior of others, and methods to make communication and interaction more successful. The investment is greater than the EI, and so is the return.

Joleen Goronkin, veteran restaurant human resources executive and past president of the Council of Hotel & Restaurant Trainers (ChaRT), is the ideal resource for you to take and understand the DiSC profile. She is an expert not only on workplace behavior, but also within the restaurant and hospitality sectors. Contact Joleen at People and Performance Strategies to schedule your assessment and debrief.

Understanding your behavior and the behavior of others is a very valuable asset, and a big piece of your set of soft skills. To commit to improvement and periodic reassessment is to commit to becoming a great leader!

 


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