December 2014

In This Issue
The Soft Skills of Leadership
Really Good Listening Habits are Hard to Find

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As we end 2014, this edition of Pathways to Success continues the discussion of Leadership development that we began in the October newsletter. This month's issue continues the discussion of Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) and highlights work by Stephen Karpman and the Drama Triangle model of social interaction and David Brian Womeldorff's The Empowerment Dynamic (TED.) EQ is a critical element to shift the social interaction paradigm and effect The Empowerment Dynamic.


Active empathetic listening is a critical social skill. The second article offers some examples of how we might practice increasing our attentiveness to this important EQ skill.


I hope that you find these articles insightful and they give you a pause for reflection. Please forward this email to colleagues and friends if you found them valuable. And, if you haven't done so already, please sign up on my website to receive continuing editions.





Steve Terusaki, President of SEIDO ConsultingSteve Terusaki
SEIDŌ Consulting
The Soft Skills of Leadership

EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) and the work of Daniel Goleman were highlighted in last month's article on Leadership. People skills are the soft skills that leaders must master as they tackle the management of people and teams and the creation of environments where people can do their best work. For these ascending leaders, it is no longer about demonstrating the IQ associated with technical skills and doing individual work but rather about utilizing EQ skills in the workplace.  


Soft skills are behavior-based and require repetitive learning and reinforcement to change the attitudes that underlie the existing behaviors. This repetitive learning process results in a maturation of social skills and empathetic behavior. This maturation is possible as the imbedded attitudes are replaced with new attitudes to allow new behaviors that become a source of new self-awareness and self-management insights.


There is an inflection point where effective leaders must be able to become sufficiently proficient in "people skills" to render themselves capable of achieving their desired results. I propose that this occurs at about the mid-point as an individual moves into the Middle Management ranks. It is at this point that these individuals have tipped the balance and are firmly entrenched in addressing people issues over technical issues in their job responsibilities. The Middle Managers who can develop and become proficient in relevant soft people skills are the ones who will continue their trajectory into top management.


An interesting corollary discussion occurs for these middle managers at this point in their careers. Are they able to effectively diffuse the "Drama Triangle" of social interaction that often occurs in organizations? The Drama Triangle model was first described in studies by Stephen Karpman in 1968.  The Drama Triangle describes three roles that individuals take on in a self-perpetuating cycle of social interaction: the Victim; the Villain; and the Hero.



Really Good Listening Habits Are Hard to Find
One of the most important soft people skills is active empathetic listening. When is the last time you had a conversation when you felt like the person was engaged in the conversation and was really interested in listening to what you were communicating? Body language, eye contact, and tone of voice were focused and inviting and any surrounding distractions seemed irrelevant. Each one of us can remember a meaningful conversation where our conversation partner was a master at active listening. For our part it felt great to "be heard" since being heard is an important component in how we measure our own self-worth and self-confidence.


In today's world, communication is happening at greater and greater speeds through texting, e-mails, voice mails, and the 140 character limit on Twitter. Technology has given us the ability to share ideas with anyone, at anytime, and anywhere in the world in real-time. One aspect of these innovations in communications technology means that it is easier and easier to share ideas, collaborate and inspire new innovations across geographies and across cultural boundaries. However, the true essence of business is still built around people and the interactions that occur between people. It is for this reason that skills such as active empathetic listening continue to be important in the workplace.