Articles by Sandi Redenbach

Emotional Intelligence:

The Necessary Ingredient in the Workplace
by Sandi Redenbach, M. Ed.

Emotional intelligence in the workplace is vital to corporate and business success.

The ability to understand, honor and work effectively with clients, customers, and colleagues is the most important ingredient for workplace productivity. While it is tempting to believe that skill level, education, and expertise are the primary indicators of workplace success and productivity; research shows that workplace success - career success- is due more to emotional intelligence skills, rather than technical skills.

These emotional intelligence skills, based on our ability to understand and serve our co-workers and customers, can be summarized in five categories: rapport, empathy, persuasion, cooperation, and consensus building. Burt Swersey, an engineering professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute refers to these skills as the "five simple secrets of success". Developing these skills, and recognizing them in others, is essential for increasing workplace productivity and excellence.

Rapport- the ability to understand those around us in the workplace entails developing compatibility with co-workers, striving for a unity of purpose and focus. Rapport is making eye contact with those with whom you are conversing; it is asking questions about them; it is telling a little about yourself and it is listening carefully, without passing judgment. Think about your workplace and the people in it and identify those with whom developing rapport is seemingly effortless.

Empathy- the skill of being able to identify emotionally with another, is the second secret. People often mistake empathy for sympathy. Sympathy is commiseration and strictly feeling-based. Empathy, on the other hand, is being able to have insight, feeling and understanding of what someone else is experiencing. For example, if a colleague of yours loses a valuable client, a true showing of empathy ma be contained in this response, " I feel so bad for you. You must be so upset, I know how hard you worked developing that account." Empathy is important in the workplace when things may not be going well with a fellow worker. If you have been working on a project together and one of the project team's members failed to complete his portion of the task, empathy requires a response of being supportive, rather than angry. For example, you might say, " You must have a lot on your mind. It is unlike you to leave things incomplete. What can I do to assist you in getting your part of the project completed?"

Persuasion may seem as simple as " As long as I can convince everyone to do it my way, we will all be happy and productive." Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Working With Emotional Intelligence, refers to persuasion as "...the ability to arouse specific emotions in the other person- whether that be respect for your power, passion for a project, enthusiasm for outdoing a competitor, or appropriate outrage over some unfairness." People who are adept at persuasion have a superior ability to win people over; they recognize when more than just a logical argument is needed; when a more emotional approach may be called for.

Cooperation is working with others toward shared goals. A truly successful workplace leader will recognize when these opportunities are presented. When we can collaborate closely with our fellow colleagues a friendly and cooperative climate is nurtured and developed. Those workers and leaders who are cooperative bring into the workplace an ambiance of joy and positive climate. These are the folks who are respected as leaders, whether they have a title or not.

Consensus building is the final and ultimate secret in achieving workplace success and harmony. Consensus building is the art of having workers come to agreement on how to handle a situation rather than having the decision made by the majority, the loudest, or the most powerful. Working toward consensus is the ultimate way to express the skills of persuasion, empathy, rapport and cooperation. As consensus is being created, all involved may not be in one hundred percent agreement, but a solution may be developed with which everyone can be satisfied.

Cultivating emotional intelligence in the workplace is the most essential tool to workplace success. Honoring our fellow workers as individuals with different experiences, approaches and skills is essential to the evolution and growth of the modern business. Those workplace leaders utilizing the skills of rapport, empathy, persuasion, cooperation and consensus building will find that workplace performance dramatically increases, thereby increasing productivity and bottom-line dollar figures.

Sandi Redenbach presents workshops and seminars designed to empower individuals and promote self esteem and emotional intellegence for life long success in personal and professional interactions.

To book Sandi for a workshop or staff development training she can be reached at Esteem Seminar Programs and Publications (800) 354-6724.

Integrated Discipline:

Responsibility and Educational Success
by Sandi Redenbach, M. Ed

Students, in order to "make it" in today's 21st Century work force, need to be creative, collaborative, and responsible.

These qualities, learned primarily in school cannot be learned by telling. They need to be experienced and practiced. Given our current educational paradigm, which suggests that students need "crowd control" in order to be learners, we are forced to address the question of when and where students are to get that experience and practice in being responsible for their actions. We all know that in education, "tomorrow" starts today. Spending 30% to 35% of our time disciplining students is wasteful. While we manage changes for the 21st century outside of education, not much happens in the educational arena, especially in the way of discipline. We still lose huge numbers of students who drop out. Why? Because they are not taught how to manage their behavior. Rather it is criticized and condemned.

For schools to be 21st Century oriented, perhaps it would be prudent of us to begin to design and shape a new paradigm abort the way we "do" discipline. To incorporate discipline into the curriculum, instead of addressing discipline problems separately, is proactive. What constitutes responsible behavior in the classroom and in the world can be explored and practiced in the context of the curriculum. This practice will promote clarification of expectations beyond the walls of the school experience. One of our goals as educators is to educate for successful social integration. Behavior management is a continuously teachable social skill.

In the present system, students are allowed and encouraged to be passive in terms of discipline. If thy follow the rules and behave, fine. If they don't, the teacher is right there to determine the consequences of their actions. In fact, the student is expected to be a passive recipient of the punishment that, in theory, fits the crime. Rarely does an act of insubordination or disrespect become a tool and opportunity for developing more responsible human beings.

Instead of using communication styles which help students process and explore ways to handle feelings, many teachers view undesirable student behavior as just another problem with which the teacher must deal. Some outcomes of this faulty system are tired, "burned out" teachers and hostile, seemingly disinterested students who feel stuck with the perpetuating self-image of "troublemaker," "loudmouth," or "bully." To let these teachable moments slip by us to insure the continuance of that undesirable student behavior.

By addressing the behavior as a learning tool, we take a major step toward helping the student build more responsible and connected relationships with peers, teachers, and the school to which they belong. Students need to be made aware that they actually choose their behavior, choose the consequences of their behavior, and choose how others relate to them, in view of the behaviors they choose.

Rather than punitive, this teaching is instructive and, begun early enough, prepares students to move beyond a typical twelfth grade education, to a behavior-managed, service-oriented life. Instead of looking at disruptive students as the "losers" that they think they are, we must create a different reality for them to absorb by integrating an empowering form of discipline into the entire school experience" social, emotional, psychological, and curricular. Students internalize what we value from the mood and tone we set. Some things are not negotiable, such as respecting other's rights, and being a contribution to the growth, development, and learning of each person. All discipline must be instructional. It will transform teaching, learning, and living!

Sandi Redenbach presents workshops and seminars designed to empower individuals and promote self esteem and emotional intellegence for life long success in personal and professional interactions.

To book Sandi for a workshop or staff development training she can be reached at Esteem Seminar Programs and Publications (800) 354-6724.

Women in Leadership:

An Issue of Esteem
by Sandi Redenbach, M. Ed.

As America moves kicking and screaming in to the twenty-first century, it is clear that now, more than ever, we need to revisit the question of leadership from a number of perspectives. Although we are no longer as "stuck" in what has been defined as leadership for the past two hundred years, we are still very reluctant to revisit old paradigms, learn from them, assess the situation as it now is and will be in the future, and shift those paradigms in order to move on. One of the "old paradigms" is that men were the leaders. Most definitely that is no longer the case throughout our society. Greater numbers of women are stepping forward daily to take their rightful place in leading this nation in business, industry, and politics.

Many others, however, are still confused, frightened or uninformed about what constitutes leadership, and what the consequences might be if they begin to exercise the innate power they have to truly lead, in a world that still sometimes looks to the old ship-worn model of women "knowing their place." Even though leadership ability is not a gender issue, many women do not embrace themselves and other women as leaders. Who knows all the reasons for this? Reasons do not really matter. What matters is that we, as women, gain a sense of clarity about what constitutes leadership, that quality and characteristic that promotes an internal focus of control and personal esteem, and that we commit ourselves to becoming leaders, even if we must do it only one step at a time.

True leadership in my opinion, is defined by many things, but primarily by those precious few risk takers who embrace a clear vision of what their work is about so that whatever that is, it serves. Because it is true that educational institutions are the spinal cord of society, the link to all else that transpire in the culture, it holds that whatever work is done outside that institution in the world of work and business, could be looked upon as the body of society. It is vital that the world of work and business begin to more accurately reflect a total population of leaders, men and women alike, in equal number, who are contributing to the whole.

Therefore, true leaders have the responsibility to be proactive, futuristic, collaborative, grounded in the reality of "now" and visionary about the direction of the future. Under good leaders, everyone who lives in the society will come to see, know and understand just how much of a stake holder each one is in the promotion of success of our institutions, our processes, our personnel and our clients who avail themselves of the services offered. We must build a society of unconditional love and cooperation. It may be that women must lead the way. See if you have what it takes to be a Leader.

To be a Leader it takes a combination of the following character traits:

  • Visionary thinker/dreamer
  • Globally honest with true integrity
  • Confident risk-taker
  • Respectful communicator
  • Life-long learner/assessor
A Leader is one who "collects dreams, hopes and wishes of many, defines roles of each, and brings them together to realize the vision." That point of view, coupled with the action it takes to get to that end result provides a starting point for the direction I believe we must go for the next millennium. Women must play a far more active role in the business of leadership. We must bring our gifts of love compassion, and warmth to the workplace. In doing so we will begin to transform the way business is done, helping to shape a more ethical society in the future. Let us further examine the five qualities that constitute true leadership.

Visionary Thinker/Dreamer qualities in a leader are the lifeblood of what will make the next century honest, exciting, and truly service-oriented. When we pull out the stops on our imaginations and direct our thinking to the creation of a society where more and more people have equal access, personal empowerment, no-limit living, and learning opportunities without holding back the future, we lead people from where they are to where it is possible for them and all of us to go.

Global Honesty/Integrity is a leader's way of "being" in the world. She/he models, promotes and encourages "followers" to engage in careful analysis of where we have been without regard to "political correctness" or "sacred cows." She/he provides a safe and nurturing environment for telling the truth without fear of retaliation and punishment. People are encouraged to look at what has been, and to state clearly and without impunity, if it is no longer serving the vision. In other words, leaders for the next millennium will openly look at then, now, and what could be. Honesty lives in the realm of possibilities.

Confident Risk-Taker leaders are those who are sure of the vision and know how to involve people in the achievement of it. They question what it, suggest what might be and take action toward promotion collaborations to making the vision happen. Even if they must move into territory where doomsayers exist with such statements as, "We have never done it that way before" and "This will never work." True leaders plunge in, confident and committed, even if the waters into which they plunge do not yet clearly reflect what's on the bottom.

Respectful Communicator is a leadership quality which connotes both the ability to speak, convey meaning in a clear, cogent and succinct fashion, but even more importantly, manifest the ability to LISTEN. That is the part of the communication process that many who profess to be leaders leave out of the formula. It is also a sure sign of high self-esteem. To dishonor another shows that one dishonors oneself.

Lifelong Learner/Assessor is the part of true leadership that comes about through openness to learning more and more each moment. Learning and evaluation, in globally honest fashion, provides both new learning and new information about how the vision is progressing. Without this quality there is little or no growth of self, system or society.

All of the qualities form an integrated process of providing and developing excellence in true leadership. Any leader will have strengths in certain areas, and places where improvement can be made in others. The key is to develop an improved understanding and awareness of the leadership system and all of its parts, rather than concentrate solely on the areas in which we are already proficient or comfortable. It is necessary and vital to stretch past our "comfort zone," listen gratefully to constructive criticism, willingly mentor those who would like to learn to lead, help others to know that they are not victims but have the potential to be victors, and dedicate our lives to making a contribution. After all, everyone knows that we get back what we put "out there." When we exercise true leadership we model for others how to lead. We can model the behavior we wish was present in the world and we will soon lead the way to insuring the creation of that world. Therein lies our personal challenge to achieving excellence in leadership.

Sandi Redenbach presents workshops and seminars designed to empower individuals and promote self esteem and emotional intellegence for life long success in personal and professional interactions.

To book Sandi for a workshop or staff development training she can be reached at Esteem Seminar Programs and Publications (800) 354-6724.

Teaching Students To Assume Responsibility

by Sandi Redenbach, M. Ed.

Being responsible means accepting the fact that you have control over your actions, feelings, and perceptions. Every person has control over their behavior, choices, time priorities, care of their body, the relationships they choose to develop, continue, or terminate, the way they react to or are proactive about life situations, the way they feel about and respond to themselves and others.

Being responsible does not mean taking the "blame" or feeling guilty for actions or feelings of others.

Being responsible means that:

  • You recognize those aspects of your life over which you have control.
  • You have the ability to recognize how you interrelate to everything in your environment.
  • You make choices about how to use your control.
  • You are willing to accept consequences or the outcome for both positive and negative choices you make.
  • Consequences fall into two types, natural and logical. Natural Consequences happen as a result of choices we make or behaviors that we exhibit. For example, if we fall into a swimming pool, we get wet... Logical Consequences are set up by someone else, of any age or position of authority. Logical consequences are "logical" only if they are reasonable and respectful to both parties and are related to the behavior.
The fact that Tommy does not have his homework done is not a matter of irresponsibility in itself. If Tommy accepts the fact that he chose to do something other than finish his homework and is willing to accept the consequences, then he is acting responsibly according to his needs and should be acknowledged for it. Maybe Tommy's older brother was home from college and since Tommy knew the material he decided he could afford to miss this assignment in order to spend time with his brother.

Bill scored very poorly on his math test. He did not finish all the problems. While he was studying for the test he realized that he did not understand the material, but he did not look for extra help from the teacher prior to the test. After the test he complains loudly that the teacher was unfair and the test was no good. He thinks he should be allowed to make up the test.

Showing Bill where his responsibility begins and ends. Where the teacher's responsibility begins and ends will help Bill learn to take responsibility in the future when this type of opportunity occurs. The types of questions a teacher or parent would direct to Bill are important for the learning process. There must be no blame. Bill needs to process the problem with a greater sense of awareness about the issue of where his responsibility begins and ends.

Empowerment comes through being responsible
It is important to teach students the relationship between cause and effect. With responsibility comes privilege. When we do not exhibit responsible behavior, the effect may not be what we want it to be.

Give students opportunities to be responsible:
Any time a teacher or parent can help students solve their own problems they are developing responsibility in the youngster. Use of active listening and I-messages will help them discover responsible behavior. Parents and teachers (and many others in positions of power) often have difficulty empowering others due to their fear of lack of control. When someone has confidence in another's ability to be responsible, they usually discover that they have placed their confidence wisely.

Let students help set guidelines or operating procedures for the class or home. Also have them create the consequences for exhibiting irresponsibility. Allow students to have a say in what the outcome will be if they choose not to be responsible. help young people with the consequences when they don't behave in a responsible fashion. The behavior, not the person, must be the focus of concern.

Do not give students lots of responsibility all at once. Let them practice in small increments so that when they are successful with a small task they can be allowed and encouraged to assume more responsibility.

Help students deal with the consequences when they don't behave responsibly:

  • Do not judge their behavior. Simply assist them in getting back on track toward being responsible once again.
  • We all fail to acconplish something at one time or another. A student frequently becomes very upset when he/she acts irresponsibly and has to accept the consequences. this is the perfect time to help him/her understand that he/she is still a good person and that next time he/she can choose to act in a more responsible manner.
  • Assist students to process what caused them to act irresponsibly so they can avoid acting that way in the future. They will learn to look at the situation as an opportunity to learn more, rather than a chance to berate themselves or feel negative about who they are.
Catch them being responsible:
  • Give students as many chances as needed. Catch them when they do take responsibility and acknowledge them for how responsibly they have behaved.
  • An additional comment about how proud they must be of themselves is always helpful. It is fine for them to acknowledge themselves when appropriate. The more times we can have students and children internalize their behavior the more responsible and esteemed they become.

To book Sandi for a workshop or staff development training she can be reached at Esteem Seminar Programs and Publications (800) 354-6724.

©2006 Sandi Redenbach. All rights reserved

[Home] [Workshops] [Sandi's Calendar] [Articles] [Consultant Institute] [Pearls Foundation] [About Sandi] [Contact Us]