I was remembering recently the last months I spent with my father during his terminal illness and his successful determination to stay out of the hospital, to remain at home until the end. He felt that going to the hospital would cause unneeded stress, discomfort, and medical intervention. I fully supported his decision, but also knew, as a healthcare executive at the time, that there were hospitals where a person could remain whole, be in charge of critical decisions, and feel comfortable in a peaceful and caring environment.
These memories surfaced when I attended the 2015 international conference held by Planetree, a pioneer in patient-centered care and an organization that I worked with a number of years ago. Reconnecting with people in healthcare was wonderful. I was inspired by their success stories, the exciting projects and programs they had developed, and the commitment, empathy, and caring they expressed. But I also heard about the challenges of working in a hospital, the bewildering complexity, on-going stress, and lack of time, at all levels, to cultivate rewarding relationships.
EQ and Performance
Hearing these feelings prompted me to reflect on past research Six Seconds has done in hospitals and to look forward to how we might enlist our models and tools to promote a healthcare environment that embraces emotional intelligence (EQ) to create positive change for staff, patients, and families. In a study on stress, EQ, and performance in healthcare, Six Seconds’ researchers found that emotional intelligence is strongly predictive of job performance and that EQ can help manage stress. Interestingly, the most powerful effect of EQ on performance was for more senior staff, highlighting the importance of retaining long-term employees.
The research tied into the Six Seconds’ model of emotional intelligence to examine the EQ competencies that made the most difference for performance. While all the competencies were important, the four within the self-management “Choose Yourself” domain showed the highest correlation to performance: consequential thinking, navigate emotions, intrinsic motivation, and optimism. As the Six Seconds EQ model shows, these competencies are supported by those in the “Know Yourself” domain and, in turn, choosing yourself sets the stage for giving yourself through increased empathy and pursuit of your noble goal.
Driving Positive Change with Data
To work on these competencies, you first have to measure them, and that is where Six Seconds’ assessment tools come into play. The SEI is a mainstay in the assessment of individual emotional intelligence, providing the data and guidance for personal EQ development. The new Brain Profiles, driven by the same psychometric assessment as the SEI but not requiring certification to administer, provide a snapshot of your brain’s style and talents. When done with a group, the Dashboard report enables a conversation around a team’s collective EQ, brain talent strengths and weaknesses, and key performance outcomes such as good health, personal achievement, life satisfaction, self-efficacy, and relationship quality.
On the organizational side, Vital Signs, Six Seconds suite of leadership, team, and organization-level assessments, offers objective insight into key drivers of performance. The Vital Signs organizational model and actionable data provide ways to measure and improve outcomes by enhancing climate and engagement. In fact, Six Seconds is seeking to go beyond engagement to foster organizational vitality. The new Pulse Points extend the Vital Signs model to focus on transformational values and the “how” of achieving organizational vitality in each driver of performance.
Emotions at Work
Within healthcare, I believe there is a hunger for models and tools that can enlist emotions to create awareness, enhance relationships, improve decision-making, and drive organizational vitality. A true desire exists to make hospitals places of care and compassion, healing environments that ennoble the human spirit at the most critical of times. The power of emotional intelligence, particularly when combined with a permeating ethic of patient-centered care, can be the catalyst to create the vital hospital.