Corporate Culture 101: What You Need to Get Started: SERIES PART 2: People Skills

Corporate Culture 101

Today we have the second post in a two-part series from our regular contributor, Lindsey Harper Mac. Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree. You can find links to Part 1 and some of her earlier posts at the end of the article

Corporate Culture 101: What You Need to Get Started: SERIES PART 2: People Skills

In Part I of this series, the importance of self-management in the form of an accurate, reliable and engaging LinkedIn profile was emphasized as one of the most important and early tasks for a business management degree graduate to complete. Granted, a LinkedIn profile is never complete and should always be a work in progress, documenting an individual’s accomplishments, new skills or additional education. As a test of self-discipline, however, it serves to delineate the difference between a recent graduate and an experienced job searcher with the added advantage of having today’s most popular means of career promotion initially completed. Now, in Part 2 of this series, the topic turns to the so-called soft skills necessary to retain employment.

Emotional Intelligence

The term “soft skills” is public parlance for the psychological term emotional intelligence. It refers to “the ability of an individual to identify, assess and control the emotions of oneself, others and groups.” Like self-management skills, soft skills are expected to grow with an individual’s maturity level and social experiences. The unfortunately label of “soft” makes it sound as though these particular skills are optional in the workplace, easy to learn and practice and have more to do with “warm and fuzzy” than with the bottom line. Nothing could be further from the truth. Emotional intelligence is necessary to ensure communication, cooperation and collective goals—all absolutely imperative for a business to be successful and grow. Indeed, soft skills may be more difficult to learn, practice and perfect, as there are fewer functional workplace examples to serve as mentors.

Hard Facts About Soft Skills

An online article by Nick Shultz reported that the lack of soft communication skills was so great that many companies had difficulty just finding individuals capable of answering their telephones. A consulting firm cited that over 600,000 jobs in manufacturing went unfilled in 2011 due to a lack of skills. Further investigation as to what these highly technical skills must be, revealed them to be soft skills. “In Manpower’s annual Group “2012 Talent Shortage Survey, nearly 20% of employers cited a lack of soft skills as a key reason they couldn’t hire needed employees.” Among the soft skills specifically identified by Shultz as lacking are:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Motivation
  • Enthusiasm
  • Professionalism
  • Work Ethic
  • Reliability
  • Punctuality.

Why People Really Get Hired

We’ve all heard stories of a less qualified person being hired over someone with the exact experiences and education listed in the job ad. The truth is, interviewers and hiring managers sometimes offer jobs to applicants who they personally like and with whom they feel comfortable. An individual job seeker’s assessed ability to fit in with the corporate culture is also a strong indicator that a job might be tendered.

Finally, hiring managers look for specific traits demonstrated by LinkedIn profiles, employment history or the job seeker’s deportment. These traits include attitude, reliability, attitude, potential, know-how, past performance, work ethic, team skills, humility and lastly, tech ability.

“You’re Hired!”

It seems that a job seeker’s best chance of being offered a position with a particular company would be to fit into the overall company culture and demonstrate good old-fashioned work values. Lastly, they should be able to answer a telephone and turn on a computer.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Also by Lindsey Harper Mac;

Career Development: Corporate Culture 101: What You Need to Get Started SERIES Part 1: Self-Management Skills

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 2—How Is It Demonstrated?

Leadership in the Medical Field: Series Part 1—What It Is & Why It’s Critical

Career Development Part 1 – Why Get An Advanced Degree? The Answer is Obvious

Career Development Part 2: Want a Promotion? Focus on Factors Within your Control

Career Development Part 3: Performance Reviews: Painful or Helpful?

Emotional Intelligence and Your Job Search

Using emotional intelligence really can help you succeed in your job search.

But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it that success in life sometimes seems unrelated to intelligence and how hard you are prepared to work?

It has been said that your IQ can land you a job but your lack of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) can get you fired. However, demonstrating emotional and social intelligence is becoming more and more important in your job search.

Many more recruiters and employers now appreciate that emotional intelligence and social intelligence are great determinants of the success you are likely to achieve at work.  A study from Virginia Commonwealth University  has shown that “high emotional intelligence does have a relationship to strong job performance  — in short, emotionally intelligent people make better workers.”  As a result, companies like Microsoft and Deutsche Bank now use EQ tests in their recruitment processes.

Derren Thompson, Manager, Diversity Recruiting for Sodexo, one of the largest services companies in the world reminds readers in their  blog that the “businesses that will succeed in the 21st century will be the ones that allow employees to bring the whole of their intelligence into the work force – their emotional and intellectual self. Not only does this impact morale, but productivity increases, too.”

Recognizing the significance of this, means you can use emotional intelligence to help you succeed in your job search.

But what is emotional intelligence?

In 1996 Daniel Goleman wrote his groundbreaking book “Emotional Intelligence“. His exhaustive research had confirmed that success in life is based more on our ability to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capability or our physical strength.

According to Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist, “Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,”

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and manage your own emotions, the emotions of others and also group emotions. It can also be a way of engaging with others that draws them to you.

EQ requires four capabilities;

  1. Self-awareness,
  2. Self-management,
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship management.

But EQ can do more for you in your job search than just impress a potential employer, it can help you decide what kind of role to go for.

One way to begin is to ask yourself two questions:

  • First, when do you feel excited or curious? This will help you be clear about your interests and passions.
  • Second,  work out what makes you upset, depressed and angry, and why? This helps you identify your core values and that often makes the difference in whether a job or career will be the right fit for you.

Understanding your emotions can also help you maintain your optimism and cope with stress during a long job search – it can help you stay positive while you find the right role for you.

If you would like to know more about emotional intelligence and how it can help you at work as a manager and leader, go to our sister site WiseWolf Talking– Leadership, Management, Career and Personal Development.  If you would like to know what emotional intelligence might mean for you in your life outside work then please visit WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.

If you would like to read Dr Goleman’s book click on the picture link below and if you would like to try out an EQ test try this link

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. You can email her or ring ++44(0)2084610114 



Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Using emotional intelligence can help you succeed as a leader. But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it that success in life sometimes seems unrelated to intelligence and how hard you are prepared to work?

In 1996 Daniel Goleman wrote his groundbreaking book “Emotional Intelligence“. His exhaustive research had confirmed that success in life is based more on our ability to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capability or our physical strength.

Dr Goleman describes five main elements of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

The ability to call on these five qualities can help you to succeed as a leader.

  1. Self-awareness means you are in touch with your own feelings and emotions. You understand how they affect your behaviour and how they influence those around you.  You can strengthen your self-awareness by keeping a daily journal where you record how you feel each day and then reflect on what you have written.  Take time during the day to monitor yourself, your feelings and how you are reacting to things.
  2. Self-regulation means you don’t let fly with negative emotions or make rushed judgments about things or people.  Successful leaders stay in control of themselves and they are prepared to be flexible while being accountable. To help you do this, you need know your values and where you are not prepared to compromise. Spend some time thinking about what really matters to you.  Make a commitment to be accountable for what you do and practice staying calm. A relaxation technique can help – try this technique on our sister site WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.
  3. Motivated leaders have a clear vision and work consistently towards their goals. Do you have that clear vision and is it still appropriate to you and your organization?  Find out more about developing the right vision at this link. If you get to the point where you are responding to events, rather than being proactive, then take action because your lack of motivation could put your organization at risk.
  4. For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful organization or a successful team.  Empathy means you can put yourself in someone else’s situation. Leaders with empathy help develop their teams as they develop themselves. They make sure that people are treated fairly, and they listen.  As a result they earn respect and loyalty. Practice imagining yourself in someone else’s shoes – put yourself in their position.  Listen carefully to what people say and pay attention to body language – respond to feelings!
  5. Leaders with social skills are good communicators – they communicate well and often. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news!  Leaders who have good social skills have the confidence to resolve conflicts before they threaten the team or the organization. Learn to talk to your team and if necessary do some formal training in communication skills and conflict resolution.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions, and those of the people you lead.   Having a high EQ means  knowing what you are feeling, what this means, and how your emotions can affect other people. For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. Take time to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.  They will certainly help ensure that you succeed as a leader.

If you would like to know more about emotional intelligence and how it can help you in job search go to our sister site WiseWolf Leaving the Public Sector.  If you would like to know what emotional intelligence might mean for you in your life outside work then please visit WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.

If you would like to read Dr Goleman’s book click on the picture link below

You can try out an EQ test at this link

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. You can email her or ring ++44(0)2084610114 

Leaders on the front line – taking criticism

As a leader you stand out from the crowd and, guess what, none of us are perfect.

When you are under the spotlight – even when the light is being shone by your own relatively small group – sometimes, you will receive criticism!

Some of it will be fair and some not.

If you learn to deal with it positively you will soon be able to stand back, see what is valid, and ignore the rest.

You will be able to use it to your advantage and that of your group!

There are characteristics that make us better and worse at dealing with criticism.

  • Mental Attitude  – Positive people don’t let criticism take a grip. Instead they look on the bright side, try to learn from it and then move on. When you are feeling negative, you can feel it deeply and begin to obsess about it. It can erode your morale and that of your group, so stay positive.
  • Courage – As Winston Churchill said “It takes courage to sit down and listen”. It will disarm your critics if you listen to them attentively and with openness. In those circumstances they are much more likely to give you a balanced view that could provide valuable feedback.
  • Hierarchy – Be prepared to listen and learn from criticism from any part of your organization and from customers and suppliers. It sometimes helps to regard it as free consultancy! You’ll be amazed how much respect you can gain from quite junior members of your team if you are prepared to listen and respond positively to their ideas including their criticisms. Disappointed customers respond well to being given a hearing and an apology for an honest mistake.
  • Emotional Intelligence – Being able to relate with positive emotion to your team is a key ingredient in inspiring them to success. That includes being able to recognise and acknowledge their emotions even when they are mad with you. Recognize it for what it is; empathise with it. Answer it positively and then move on. Have the grace to say sorry if, as a result of your action, someone on your team has found their work more difficult!

As for me, I have always been pretty thin skinned and found criticism quite challenging to deal with. But over the years, I’ve managed to train myself to take a far more balanced view. I would love to know what your experience has been and how you have dealt the criticism you have encountered.

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her or ring ++44(0)7867681439


In managing any change (or indeed in handling life) an understanding of emotional intelligence theory (EQ – Emotional Quotient) is a huge advantage – here is a useful article from on the subject.

Emotional Intelligence – EQ – is a relatively recent behavioural model, rising to prominence with Daniel Goleman’s 1995 Book called ‘Emotional Intelligence’. The early Emotional Intelligence theory was originally developed during the 1970s and 80s by the work and writings of psychologists Howard Gardner (Harvard), Peter Salovey (Yale) and John ‘Jack’ Mayer (New Hampshire). Emotional Intelligence is increasingly relevant to organizational development and developing people, because the EQ principles provide a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential. Emotional Intelligence is an important consideration in human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and selection, management development, customer relations and customer service, and more.

Emotional Intelligence links strongly with concepts of love and spirituality: bringing compassion and humanity to work, and also to ‘Multiple Intelligence’ theory which illustrates and measures the range of capabilities people possess, and the fact that everybody has a value.

The EQ concept argues that IQ, or conventional intelligence, is too narrow; that there are wider areas of Emotional Intelligence that dictate and enable how successful we are. Success requires more than IQ (Intelligence Quotient), which has tended to be the traditional measure of intelligence, ignoring eseential behavioural and character elements. We’ve all met people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially and inter-personally inept. And we know that despite possessing a high IQ rating, success does not automatically follow.

Different approaches and theoretical models have been developed for Emotional Intelligence. This summary article focuses chiefly on the Goleman interpretation. The work of Mayer, Salovey and David Caruso (Yale) is also very significant in the field of Emotional Intelligence, and will in due course be summarised here too.

emotional intelligence – two aspects

This is the essential premise of EQ: to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one’s own emotions, and those of other people. EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence:

  • Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behaviour and all.
  • Understanding others, and their feelings.

emotional intelligence – the five domains

Goleman identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as:

  1. Knowing your emotions.
  2. Managing your own emotions.
  3. Motivating yourself.
  4. Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.
  5. Managing relationships, ie., managing the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence embraces and draws from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Transactional Analysis, and empathy. By developing our Emotional Intelligence in these areas and the five EQ domains we can become more productive and successful at what we do, and help others to be more productive and successful too. The process and outcomes of Emotional Intelligence development also contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organizations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony.

emotional intelligence competence framework, case studies, examples, tools, tests, information and related theory references

The following excellent free Emotional Intelligence materials in pdf file format (Acrobat Reader required to view) are provided with permission of Daniel Goleman on behalf of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence, which is gratefully acknowledged:

The Emotional Competence Framework – a generic EQ competence framework produced by Daniel Goleman and CREI covering in summary:

  • personal competence – self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation
  • social competence – social awareness, social skills

‘Emotional Intelligence: what is it and why it matters’. An excellent information paper by Dr Cary Cherniss originally presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, in New Orleans, April 2000. This is a detailed history and explanation of Emotional Intelligence.

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence – a paper by Dr Cary Cherniss featuring 19 referenced business and organizational case studies demonstrating how Emotional Intelligence contributes to corporate profit performance. The paper is an excellent tool which trainers, HR professionals and visionaries can use to help justify focus, development, assessment, etc., of EQ in organizations.

Guidelines for Promoting Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace – a paper chiefly constructed by Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman featuring 22 guidelines which represent the best current knowledge relating to the promotion of EQ in the workplace, summarised as:

paving the way

  • assess the organization’s needs
  • assessing the individual
  • delivering assessments with care
  • maximising learning choice
  • encouraging participation
  • linking goals and personal values
  • adjusting individual expectations
  • assessing readiness and motivation for EQ development

doing the work of change

  • foster relationships between EQ trainers and learners
  • self-directed chnage and learning
  • setting goals
  • breaking goals down into achievable steps
  • providing opportunities for practice
  • give feedback
  • using experiential methods
  • build in support
  • use models and examples
  • encourage insight and self-awareness

encourage transfer and maintenance of change (sustainable change)

  • encourage application of new learning in jobs
  • develop organizational culture that supports learning

evaluating the change – did it work?

  • evaluate individual and organizational effect

More information about Emotional Intelligence, plus details of EQ tests, EQ training and EQ development in general are available at the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations.

tips on how to explain emotional intelligence – perspectives and examples

As mentioned above, Daniel Goleman’s approach to Emotional Intelligence is not the only one. The work of Mayer, Salovey and Caruso is also very significant in the field of Emotional Intelligence and can be explored further on John Meyer’s Emotional Intelligence website.

When teaching or explaining Emotional Intelligence it can be helpful to the teacher and learners to look at other concepts and methodologies, many of which contain EQ elements and examples.

Emotional Intelligence tests/activities/exercises books – for young people ostensibly, but just as relevant to grown-ups – provide interesting and useful exercises, examples, theory, etc., for presentations and participative experience if you are explaining EQ or teaching a group. For example ’50 Activities For Teaching Emotional Intelligence’ by Dianne Schilling – my copy was published by Innerchoice Publishing – ISBN 1-56499-37-0, if you can find it. Otherwise look at Amazon and search for ‘activities for teaching emotional intelligence’).

There’s a very strong link between EQ and TA (Transactional Analysis). To understand and explain EQ you can refer to the ‘adult’ aspect of the TA model (for example, we are less emotional intelligent/mature when slipping into negative child or parent modes). In this way we can see that one’s strength in EQ is certainly linked to personal experience, especially formative years.

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is very relevant to EQ, as is Multiple Intelligences Theory.

Ethical business and socially responsible leadership are strongly connected to EQ.

So is the concept of love and spirituality in organisations. Compassion and humanity are fundamental life-forces; our Emotional Intelligence enables us to appreciate and develop these vital connections between self, others, purpose, meaning, existence, life and the world as a whole, and to help others do the same.

People with strong EQ have less emotional ‘baggage’, and conversely people with low EQ tend to have personal unresolved issues which either act as triggers (see Freud/Penfield TA roots explanation) or are constants in personality make-up.

Cherie Carter-Scott’s ‘If Life Is Game’ and Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements’ also provide excellent additional EQ reference perspectives.

Empathy and active interpretive modes of listening are also very relevant to EQ.

Ingham and Luft’s Johari Window and associated exercises on the free team building games section also help explain another perspective. That is, as a rule, the higher a person’s EQ, the less insecurity is likely to be present, and the more openness will be tolerated.

High EQ = low insecurity = more openness.

A person’s preparedness to expose their feelings, vulnerabilities, thoughts, etc., is a feature of EQ. Again the converse applies. Johari illustrates this very well (see the Johari Window diagram pdf also).

Maslow’ theory is also relevant to Emotional Intelligence. Self-actualizers naturally have stronger EQ. People struggling to meet lower order needs – and arguably even middle order needs such as esteem needs – tend to have lower EQ than self-actualisers. The original 5 stage Hierarchy of Needs explains that all needs other than self-actualisation are deficiency drivers, which suggest, in other words, some EQ development potential or weakness.

There is a strong thread of EQ running through Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits.

In fact, most theories involving communications and behaviour become more powerful and meaningful when related to Emotional Intelligence, for example:


Buying Facilitation®

Benziger Thinking Styles and Assessment Model

McGregor XY Theory

The use of this material is free provided copyright (see below) is acknowledged and reference or link is made to the website. This material may not be sold, or published in any form. Disclaimer: Reliance on information, material, advice, or other linked or recommended resources, received from Alan Chapman, shall be at your sole risk, and Alan Chapman assumes no responsibility for any errors, omissions, or damages arising. Users of this website are encouraged to confirm information received with other sources, and to seek local qualified advice if embarking on any actions that could carry personal or organisational liabilities. Managing people and relationships are sensitive activities; the free material and advice available via this website do not provide all necessary safeguards and checks. Please retain this notice on all copies.

© alan chapman 2000-2009, based on Daniel Goleman’s EQ concept.