What is Emotional Sigma?
Emotional Sigma is an 8 step process to emotionally intelligent leadership. Within this context, it is a: measurement, protocol to emotional discovery, and a strategy to improve communication, collaboration and leadership.
As a measurement, Emotional Sigma is a measure of emotional intelligence. As a process to emotional discovery, it helps us improve our emotional disposition. As a strategy to improve leadership, it facilitates communication and collaboration. These are two critical factors that help support better business decisions and efficient outcomes.
I developed Emotional Sigma about 15 years ago. It leverages the discipline of Six Sigma to define, measure and analyze emotions objectively. It then uses that objectivity to improve and control behavioral intentions. This in turn, enhances leadership and fosters a positive business culture. Such an environment improves communication, collaboration and leads to better business outcomes – faster!
Emotional Sigma as a Measure of Emotional Intelligence
We define Emotional Intelligence using four traits: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The traits, self-awareness and self-management describe personal competencies. While social awareness and relationship management, together, describe social competencies.
Self-awareness is a trait that has us acknowledge and precisely define an emotion as it occurs. Self-management is a trait that helps us direct our behavior positively as a result of being self-aware. Social awareness is a trait that helps us observe and understand what people think and feel. Finally, Relationship Management leverages that awareness of others, and us, to manage behaviors positively.
Measuring these emotional traits we can report the personal and social competency scores of a person. Furthermore, we can pool the results across the population of users and report an Emotional Sigma value. Such a value helps us view our level of achievement against a population of peers.
Emotional Sigma as a Process to Emotional Discovery
We can think of emotions as an abstract equation. If the episode “E” causes “X” to occur, the effect is the observed emotion “Y.” Framing emotions as a cause and effect model implies emotions are the result of some root cause “X”. Using such a framework implies we can objectively analyze emotions in a scientific manner. The info-graphic presents Emotional Sigma as an 8 step process that helps us deal with emotions in a thoughtful manner.
Use Emotional Sigma as your personal coach and learn how to:
• Recognize the symptoms that suggest positive or negative behavior
• Define emotions that create the desired or undesired state
• Measure the consequence of acting on emotions
• Analyze emotional episodes objectively
• Improve the current emotional state
• Control emotional outcomes in a positive way
• Standardize methods used to manage future emotional episodes
• Integrate emotional lessons into the leadership coaching cycle
Let’s face it – driving initiatives that yield positive business outcomes – faster – is the goal of every leader. Unfortunately, initiatives don’t drive themselves. Leaders must communicate goals, get buy-in, form strong teams and manage people well. To do so, Leaders must use sophisticated skills to understand how people think and feel. They must be emotionally intelligent observers and practitioners.
The Next Frontier in Continuous Improvement is Human Behavior!
Over the years, I have worked with many Six Sigma practitioners. So much so, that I began to notice success attributes that distinguished Six Sigma candidates from one another.
In my early days, I picked Six Sigma candidates based on their technical competencies. But, for unknown reasons, some candidates completed theirs projects faster while others took longer. In all cases, each six sigma candidate completed their projects and saved money. But some took way to long! During many post project review sessions, I sought to learn why projects took so long to complete. During a large Six Sigma deployment, I accumulated many responses to my inquiries. The comments from one deployment appear below.
- “My team members were not up to the challenge.”
- “Management failed to respond to my complaints about this project.”
- “This project requires too many resources not wanting to contribute.”
- “The team leader does no work and takes all the credit.”
- “This guy is only interested in self-promotion not the interests of the team.”
Now contrast these comments with those from successful projects.
- “I had a great team. It was a pleasure working with everyone.”
- “I can’t wait to work with this team again.”
- “I never had so much fun.”
- “I learned an enormous amount and was able to share and discover how other departments operate.”
Comparing the remarks you can sense there is an emotional difference. Why did one group experience problems while the other did not? I searched for something that was different between the groups. Soon, I discovered the issue was not the scope of the project or the six sigma training people received. In all cases, these Six Sigma candidates were doing their regular jobs and worked for the same company. The issue came down to the people themselves. Little did I know that I was about to take a 15 year journey into the next frontier of continuous improvement! Going forward, I see Six Sigma practitioners improving business processes and human behavior. Emotional Sigma is the first book that uses an 8 step process to decompose emotional episodes objectively. It leads us to thoughtful analysis and helps improve our response to such episodes. This results in positive behavioral intentions, improves communication, collaboration and leadership.
Years of research suggests emotions do matter. There are studies that show the emotional state of a group contributes to efficient or inefficient outcomes. One research study examined two teams. The first and the second team included members high and low in emotional intelligence. Both teams completed their respective assignments. But, the team high in emotional intelligence got the job done in an efficient way. The team with low emotional intelligence achieved the same outcome, but at the cost of lost productivity and hundreds of worker hours.
By 2005, I discovered that effective Six Sigma practitioners shared a common trait. They all demonstrated a high degree of emotional intelligence. This is not to say that technical competency was not important. Rather, it was an entry-level need if Six Sigma practitioners would become successful.
People that aspire to Six Sigma certification must complete training, pass a test and complete a project. But, a successful Six Sigma practitioner is someone that completes projects efficiently. And completing projects efficiently takes a lot of emotional skill. It takes effective communication, collaboration and leadership. Some of us are naturals and others are not. The good news is this – you can learn this skill. I knew if I was to become a successful Six Sigma practitioner, I needed to become a better leader. Today, I am glad to say, I think I have done well and I owe my new found skills to Emotional Sigma. I trust you will take the time to read the book, refine the methods and make it even better. The next frontier to continuous improvement is upon us! Now let’s go and apply our skills to improve the relationships!
What is Emotional Sigma? It is an 8 step process to emotionally intelligent leadership. It uses the discipline of Six Sigma to improve emotional intelligence and enhance leadership!
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