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Raise your E.I. to succeed, SFM Women's Council told

Raise your E.I. to succeed, SFM Women's Council told

DEALING WITH CORPORATE CULTURE. Above: members of SFM's Women's Council listen to Loret Carbone, a former executive of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, at the networking event held at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago.

Members of the Society for Foodservice Management's Women's Council received constructive advice on how to advance their careers and succeed in today's politicized business environment at the networking event that followed SFM's annual breakfast meeting at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago last month.

Loret Carbone, a former executive at iconic Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, offered her views with a special eye toward the client and administrative environments that characterize her audience's workplaces. Here are a few of her key observations.

Raise your "E.I." to succeed.
Raising your "Emotional Intelligence" on the job is twice as likely to help you succeed in the business environment as are your technical skills or raw IQ, Carbone emphasized."Your personal competence is important, but your social competence will often be the overriding factor in terms of your advancement," she said. "Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligenceis a "must read" for those interested in career development."

Change the way you look at things. And learn to listen first. Citing one of Stephen Covey's primary "Seven Habits," Carbone told SFM members they needed to seek first to understand, and only secondly to be understood, when dealing with others. "Whether dealing with management or your direct reports, quiet the voice inside of you and learn to listen," she said. "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

Develop higher levels of self awareness. Many otherwise talented and aspiring individuals fail to appreciate the importance and value of cultivating the impressions they leave with others, Carbone said. "Be aware of how you are perceived as you walk through the workplace or into a meeting. Do you appear distracted? In control? Prepared or harried? Over time, such impressions become your workplace persona."

Remember that feelings are contagious, Carbone suggested. "Understand that you will infect other people with your attitude. If it is positive, it will make them more positive. If it is negative, it will do the reverse. This is another area where self awareness can help you develop more influence in the workplace."

Improve your conflict resolution skills. The workplace is filled with interpersonal conflicts and it enhances one's career to be seen as someone who is effective in resolving them, Carbone said. "Get one party to state a position, then probe to discover rationale and multiple aspects of that position. Have the other party do the same thing. Resolution begins by identifying the common grounds among them."

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