Becoming a Chief Emotions Officer

How are your people feeling? Does it matter? Before you answer those questions, check out these three essential points.  For a more comprehensive explanation of emotional intelligence, view Joshua Freedman’s lesson with ExecSense, How CEOs Can Increase their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to Lead More Effectively, where you’ll learn how to increase your emotional quotient to become an effective leader by making emotional intelligence a priority.

1. People Are Not Logical

While it might be easier if people would just be rational, it’s irrational to treat them that way. Three decades of neuroscience makes the picture abundantly clear: People are just not logical.

2. People Are Stressed

Numerous research studies show stress is increasing. At work, at home, and in between, people are feeling pushed. Unfortunately, when chronic stress goes up, people are less creative and less able to innovate because they are focused on seeking safety.

3. When People Feel Connected ... Profits Go Up

In organizations where people feel connected, supported, and involved, profits are higher, it’s easier to retain top talent, costs are lower, and the employee experience improves. We’ve seen around 55% of the variation in these outcomes predicted by the organizational climate – how people feel about coming to work.

The data on the value of emotions is increasingly compelling, which is why leaders from companies as diverse as Google, FedEx, Hitachi, Qatar Airlines are making this a priority. “Isn’t this an HR responsibility”? As a CEO, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate, so it might seem like an impossibility to deal with this too. “Isn’t this why we have an HR department“? Unfortunately, a lot of senior execs would actually say, “sure, people matter, so I’m going to hire a chief people officer, but as the CEO, I don’t have time for this emotional crap”. If that’s how you really see it, you desperately need emotional intelligence (but I doubt you’ll believe it).

On the other hand, if you know that “CEO” means “leader”, and recognize that leadership is about people (not just tasks), then you’ll get tremendous value from tuning up your emotional intelligence; Emotional intelligence simply means being smart with feelings. There are specific, learnable, measurable skills you can leverage for yourself and for your people. Six Seconds is a nonprofit research organization that helps translate this science into practical methods and tools. While many people are intimidated by the term “emotional intelligence”, we’ve learned to make it practical and actionable.

The first step to gaining the business value of emotional intelligence is to recognize that emotions matter. While a lot of leaders are saying, “leave emotions out”, it just doesn’t work (because people are emotional). We urgently need emotions at work; we need passion and joy and belonging; We need loyalty and commitment; We need trust. They’re all feelings that contribute to emotional capital: the bottom-line value created, or undermined, by how your people are feeling. Ultimately, the way you handle your own emotions and respond to others’ feeling will create the climate. As a “Chief Emotions Officer”, you can build a climate where great people love coming to work and do their best. This will translate into better products, a better customer experience, better relationships with investors, and you’ll see the results on the bottom line.

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About The Author

Joshua Freedman
CEO, 6 Seconds Network

Joshua Freedman ExecSense

Joshua is one of the world’s preeminent experts in developing emotional intelligence to create positive change. With warmth and authenticity, he translates leading-edge science into practical, applicable terms that improve the quality of relationships to unlock enduring success.

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Freedman is one of a handful of experts in the world with over 15 years of full-time experience in this emerging field. His clients include FedEx, Intel, Etihad Airways, Amazon, Microsoft, the UN, all branches of the US armed services, and numerous organizations around the globe.

Joshua leads the world’s largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers; Six Seconds has offices and representatives in 25 countries. He co-developed Six Seconds’ EQ Certification Training, which he has delivered on five continents as master-trainer to thousands of professionals seeking practical tools for learning and teaching emotional intelligence, and has helped launch emotional intelligence programs and companies in over a dozen countries.

Freedman is the author of At the Heart of Leadership, The Vital Organization, and INSIDE CHANGE: Transforming Your Organization with Emotional Intelligence, plus dozens of cases and articles including, The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence, The Workplace Vitality Report, and A Hope for Change. He is the co-author of six validated psychometric assessments including the EQ Leadership Report and theOrganizational Vital Signs climate measure, as well as several books and training programs including Handle With Care EQ Activity Book, EQ Learning Journal, two volumes of the Self-Science EQ Curriculum, The EQ Leader training, and The Inside Path to Change (used by the US Navy and Marine Corps).

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