Mindfulness: cuando enfoque significa realizar una sola tarea .- Daniel Goleman

concentracion-laboral

Alexander Graham Bell, se dio cuenta de que los sayos del Sol pueden prender en llamas un papel cuando se enfocan en un solo lugar, y así aconsejaba: “Concentra todos tus pensamientos en el trabajo a realizar”. No obstante, nuestra atención ordinaria divaga, presa de una multitud de distractores que aparecen en nuestro camino –especialmente cuando nuestro Inbox de correo nos ofrece constantes distracciones que aparecen a nosotros como urgentes, pero no son tan importantes.

Además, está el “multitasking” (la multi tarea), que en realidad significa cambiar de un enfoque estrecho a otro – la mente no puede sostener más de un enfoque a la vez en lo que se denomina “memoria de trabajo” (working memory). Así es que interrumpir una tarea con otra puede significar perder muchos minutos para regresar a la velocidad original de tu enfoque.

El opuesto del “multitask” es “la uni tarea” (single-tasking), que es la habilidad de traer nuestro enfoque completo a lo que estamos haciendo. Esto viene a nosotros de forma natural en los momentos de urgencia (“to-do-or-die times), cuando un tiempo de entrega límite nos fuerza a enfocarnos completamente. Pero cómo podemos obtener esta concentración total durante el resto de nuestro tiempo de trabajo – o en nuestra vida en general.

Mindfulness es una respuesta. Cuando estamos atentos (mindful) traemos una atención completa a cualquier cosa que hagamos. Esto nos da el poder de mover nuestra concentración de un lugar a otro, según nos movemos durante el día – terminar un reporte, disfrutar de una comida, amar a un pequeño.

Mindfulness nos da la capacidad de darnos cuenta cuando el mar de distracciones en el que nadamos durante cualquier día, nos ha llevado a: aquí estoy otra vez, escaneando mi Inbox, en lugar de terminar lo que quiero hacer. Mindfulness fortalece nuestra meta-conciencia, la habilidad de rastrear a dónde va nuestra atención.

Nos encontramos atrapados en nuestro Inbox en lugar de hacer esa otra tarea importante, pero podemos tener un segundo pensamiento – No necesito hacer esto ahora – y regresar nuestra atención a lo que tenemos que estar haciendo. Una atención concentrada nos ofrece el antídoto para el multi-tasking “desatento” (mindless). Podemos hacer una cosa a la vez.

El número de compañías va en aumento, desde Google hasta General Mills, que ofrecen a sus empleados entrenamientos basados en mindfulness. Y Jon Kabat-Zinn, un viejo amigo y pionero en introducir mindfulness en sus aplicaciones más pragmáticas, recién publicó una versión actualizada de su libro “Full Catastrophy Living”, incluyendo nuevos descubrimientos científicos de los beneficios de mindfulnesss.

El cuanto al programa de Google, que ahora ofrece Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, estudios realizados en Stanford demuestran que aumenta la auto-conciencia y la empatía, además mejora el auto-control de emociones difíciles y mejora la escucha.

Esto suena como una mejora (“up grade”) en inteligencia emocional, para mí.

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What Makes a Leader?

What Makes a Leader?
What Makes a Leader?

It was Daniel Goleman who first brought the term “emotional intelligence” to a wide audience with his 1995 book of that name, and it was Goleman who first applied the concept to business with his 1998 HBR article, reprinted here. In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that while the qualities traditionally associated with leadership—such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision—are required for success, they are insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.

These qualities may sound “soft” and unbusinesslike, but Goleman found direct ties between emotional intelligence and measurable business results. While emotional intelligence’s relevance to business has continued to spark debate over the past six years, Goleman’s article remains the definitive reference on the subject, with a description of each component of emotional intelligence and a detailed discussion of how to recognize it in potential leaders, how and why it connects to performance, and how it can be learned.

Every businessperson knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid—but not extraordinary—intellectual abilities and technical skills who was promoted into a similar position and then soared.

Such anecdotes support the widespread belief that identifying individuals with the “right stuff” to be leaders is more art than science. After all, the personal styles of superb leaders vary: Some leaders are subdued and analytical; others shout their manifestos from the mountaintops. And just as important, different situations call for different types of leadership. Most mergers need a sensitive negotiator at the helm, whereas many turnarounds require a more forceful authority.

I have found, however, that the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. But my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.

In the course of the past year, my colleagues and I have focused on how emotional intelligence operates at work. We have examined the relationship between emotional intelligence and effective performance, especially in leaders. And we have observed how emotional intelligence shows itself on the job. How can you tell if someone has high emotional intelligence, for example, and how can you recognize it in yourself? In the following pages, we’ll explore these questions, taking each of the components of emotional intelligence—self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill—in turn.

What Makes a Leader?
What Makes a Leader?

Evaluating Emotional Intelligence

Most large companies today have employed trained psychologists to develop what are known as “competency models” to aid them in identifying, training, and promoting likely stars in the leadership firmament. The psychologists have also developed such models for lower-level positions. And in recent years, I have analyzed competency models from 188 companies, most of which were large and global and included the likes of Lucent Technologies, British Airways, and Credit Suisse.

In carrying out this work, my objective was to determine which personal capabilities drove outstanding performance within these organizations, and to what degree they did so. I grouped capabilities into three categories: purely technical skills like accounting and business planning; cognitive abilities like analytical reasoning; and competencies demonstrating emotional intelligence, such as the ability to work with others and effectiveness in leading change.

To create some of the competency models, psychologists asked senior managers at the companies to identify the capabilities that typified the organization’s most outstanding leaders. To create other models, the psychologists used objective criteria, such as a division’s profitability, to differentiate the star performers at senior levels within their organizations from the average ones. Those individuals were then extensively interviewed and tested, and their capabilities were compared. This process resulted in the creation of lists of ingredients for highly effective leaders. The lists ranged in length from seven to 15 items and included such ingredients as initiative and strategic vision.

When I analyzed all this data, I found dramatic results. To be sure, intellect was a driver of outstanding performance. Cognitive skills such as big-picture thinking and long-term vision were particularly important. But when I calculated the ratio of technical skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as ingredients of excellent performance, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels.

by Daniel Goleman