Joshua Freedman, Six Seconds’ COO, was interviewed by Bhavani Prakash of Green Collar Asia, the portal for Asia’s new sustainable economy.  The in-depth interview explores the why and how emotional intelligence is valuable for sustainability, healthy growth, attracting and retaining talent — and leading transformation.  Two excerpts below, and see the full article on Green Collar Asia: Joshua Freedman: Emotional Intelligence and its relevance for Green Talent

GCA: What’s the connection between emotional intelligence and behaviour change, in the context of sustainability.

Joshua Freedman: Daniel Goleman wrote a new book called, “Ecological Intelligence” where he talks about that. I’ve done a couple of interviews with Dan where we discuss this. Our work in emotional intelligence is largely about how people make better decisions and take action in a way that’s aligned with what they really want to happen. As we think about our long term goals, how do we take actions in a way that moves us towards those long term goals?  The whole point of intelligence is to look ahead and solve problems – mathematical intelligence helps us solve numerical problems; emotional intelligence helps us solve human problems.

In other words, if we’re using EQ to make optimal long-term decisions, we have to also be thinking about the ecosystem in which we will either suffer, or flourish. Being intentional in an ecological sense means creating a more sustainable world starts with decisions and choices we make individually, actions we take individually.  Tapping the power of EQ means recognising that emotions are major drivers of those behaviours – whether that behaviour is consuming resources for short term profit, or conserving them, or whether that behaviour is advocating for a vibrant future.

For all of these behaviours, there is an emotional component that drives them.  If we can become more clear about the emotions that drive us individually towards our decisions and actions, and if we can become more effective at creating emotions that will help enrol others in making better decisions, we can be more powerful as advocates.

GCA: How important is EQ to an organisation to retain talent?

Joshua Freedman:  I think the adage that “people don’t leave their organisation, they leave their boss” is absolutely true. I certainly hear that story over and over again. And I hear a lot of leaders saying that there’s a shortage of talent …So, we need people who are good at enrolling others, we need people who are good at building those kind of relationships that are going to influence people across boundaries, that are going to open up potentials and possibilities, that are going to make it possible to do things that were impossible before, especially in this rapid pace of change in the globalised environment.  We need people who are able to get out the immediate box and reach out to a bigger audience.

This logic is critical as we think about green jobs.  Yes, this kind of work is mission driven, but it’s also a business.  If we can make a really good business case in a green enterprise, there’s a tremendous impact on talent.  We can then attract individuals who say ‘this is the kind of work that I want to be doing.’  We know that particularly in Gen Y, people are looking for meaning, and they are not just about money. So as we look to the future and consider, “Where are the absolutely most talented people going to work?”  They are going to look for jobs that have real meaning.

There’s a kind of obvious link here between creating an organisation that really walks its talk.  Imagine a business that’s doing something truly worthwhile and creating a place where people really want to work – because of its mission, because of the EQ skills creating positive relationships, and because of a sound business strategy — that is the “magic combo” that is going to make it effective and prosperous.

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