Tag Archives: Emotional Intelligence

Can intrinsic motivation be taught?


This is part 2 in a series on how to create the perfect team.

Part 1 of this series was about collecting and cultivating a culture of emotional intelligence. While emotional intelligence is HUGELY important, there are other factors that lead to success – one of which is manifesting a community that is intrinsically motivated towards success.

So what is intrinsic motivation? To understand this best, let’s take a step back. Motivation is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a force or influence that causes someone to do something.” However, there are two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic Motivation – Pertains to outside forces and factors that motivate a person to do something. Examples may be a paycheck and material rewards.

Intrinsic Motivation – Pertains to internal forces and factors that motivate a person to do something. Examples may be the feeling of achieving and moral obligations.

For a long time, businesses considered extrinsic motivation to be worthwhile (and perhaps it was at one point). However, times and culture have changed, and there is a myriad of research available now that shows that extrinsically motivated people can do well in spurts but intrinsically motivated people are leaders, consistent, and the most successful. It’s a bit like musicians; Musicians making music solely for moneary reward often burn out quickly or are terrible (think New Kids on the Block) – but musicians making music to express an internal feeling or experience will write music that more often has an impact on others (think Nirvana). Intrinsic motivation feels different and looks different.

So how can we influence others to be more intrinsically motivated?

1. Define success. Some people don’t even know what success looks like. Having clear expectations allows a person to know what they need to do to succeed.

2. Create a way for a person to keep score of their performance. Intrinsic motivation involves an element of understanding if someone is doing well or not. Keeping score can refer to displaying metrics (a scoresheet) or supplying people with inventories that allow them to qualitatively rate themselves on your defined standards of success.

3. Be good to others. I once worked for a boss who treated his employees amazingly well. Every single person in that office worked hard for him because we wanted him to be proud of us.

4. Give feedback. Parnter with the people around you and let them know that you care about their success and the job they’re doing. Being noticed by another person is a powerful feeling of affirmation and perpetuates positive behavior.

5. Create a culture of intrinsically motivated success. Encourage those around you who “get it” to spread the wealth. The power of cultural majority and peer pressure is an amazingly powerful force that ought be harnessed.

Imagine coming to work and being surrounded by people who truly want to do a great job in everything they do. This is possible when we inspire others to develop intrinsic motivation.

What are some other ideas you have on influencing this shift?



Filed under leadership, motivation

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?


This is part 1 in a series on how to create the perfect team.

One of the fastest growing areas in business psychology and sociology right now is emotional intelligence. EI refers to a person’s ability to observe, relate to, and accurately discern the social and situational cues around them – and to react to and utilize those variables constructively. If this is a new term for you and you are actively in the business and/or leadership development business (and honestly – who isn’t?!), you need to spend some time learning about EI! Many leading experts on EI – such as Daniel Goleman – have linked EI to a person’s social, professional, and leadership success.

Forward-thinking businesses are beginning to actively seek out employees who have a high EQ. This can be done through group interviews (versus more traditional individual interviews), scenario-based questions, and active coaching around EI traits. Almost gone are the days where someone could achieve a position in a company based solely on their academic prowess…which brings me to the purpose of this article.

Many people are beginning to ask “Can EI be taught.” And – if so – how can we increase this in the people around and underneath us? The NY Times has recently published a very respectable article on this. 

Clearly EI is a big deal and is something we all need in order to succeed. What do you think? Can EI be taught? And, if so, how?


Filed under business, communication, leadership, observation

How to Be A Not-PO’d-Leader


Leaders have egos and therefore have some awesome emotions. Sometimes these emotions are positive but sometimes they can be negative. As you can imagine, leaders need to keep these emotions in check.

Daniel Goleman recently wrote an article about how to do this. I recommend giving this a read:

Emotional hijacks – this priming, this mechanism, which is usually so positive in evolution – can take us over. During these hijacks we can become very angry. When the dust settles we often think, “Oh, why did I say that?”

I spoke with Paul Ekman for my Wired to Connect CD Knowing our Emotions, Improving Our World, about how to identify emotional triggers. One of his recommendations: simply keep a record of your hijacked moments. Here’s what he had to say.

You know I have ambivalent feelings about the term hijack because in some sense it absolves us of responsibility. If someone hijacks us, “Well, it’s not my fault.” Okay, but it is. It is our responsibility to learn to become emotionally intelligent. These are skills, they’re not easy, nature didn’t give them to us – we have to learn them.

I recommend in my book Emotions Revealed that people keep a log of regrettable angry episodes. Write down just what it was about, how it happened, what set you off, and what did you do that you think you shouldn’t have done.

After you’ve got 30 or 40 of them, try to see the commonality in the triggers and responses. You’ll usually find a particular script that underlies what’s causing you to have a particular perception on certain situations, to cast people into roles that they really aren’t in, and to try to replay a plot that doesn’t really fit.”

How do you recognize and manage triggers? Share your advice in the comments below.

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Filed under leadership, motivation

5 Questions with Matt Wheat




Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week we meet Matt Wheat.

Name: Matt Wheat

Position: Retail Store Manager

Place: Oxnard, CA

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

The leaders who have most influenced me have done so by building on a foundation of personal investment.  Whether it was a challenge, recognition, coaching, or feedback, they engaged me on a personal level. Their emotional intelligence allowed them to select the right tonality and language that most resonated with me.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

I find micro-management intolerable.  It is the absence of empowerment and trust.

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

The ability to connect with a diverse population while remaining transparently true to themselves.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

It is my intention to motivate by creating an environment where the innate skills and strengths of an individual are allowed/encouraged to flourish on a daily basis.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

Bob Dylan said you gotta serve somebody. I would challenge any leader to keep asking who they are serving.

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I want to be emotionally intelligent… (video)

“IQ will get you hired but EQ will get you promoted.” Check it out below – this is important!

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