How to Successfully Interview a Millennial

According to a recent article on the TTI Success Insights® website, retention is irrelevant. The writer further elaborates, “Nowadays, individuals are hiring a company to hone their skills, achieve their personal goals and fulfill their dreams. If you are still hiring based on resume and traditional interviews, you might want to try something new.”

millennial woman in professional attire

Something new.

A non-traditional approach.

Asking similar interview questions, but from a different perspective.

Making the candidate’s skills, goals and dreams your primary focus.

Discerning whether the candidate’s motivators are a good match for both the job and the company.

The Standard Interview

Here’s how a normal interview might progress . . .

Tell me about yourself. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? How will your references describe you? What motivates you? Share 2 or 3 of your greatest accomplishments thus far. What type of work do you find most satisfying? In your research, what have you found most interesting about our company? Why do you want this job? What are a few of your long-term career goals? The salary for this job is $$$. Are you interested? When could you start if we decide to move forward?

interview - no faces  - man & woman

The Millennial Interview

Here’s one idea of how an interview with a millennial might progress . . .

Say, “I am very impressed with your resume and skills.” Then pursue the line of questioning suggested in Section A, "How to Address Millennials' Skills". (see below)

Say, “While there is always more to learn, your current skill-set is certainly impressive. I wonder, however, if this job will meet your expectations and sufficiently challenge you.” Then follow the line of questioning in Section B, "How to Address Millennials' Goals".

Ask the candidate about their level of interest in the job thus far. Then follow the line of questioning in Section C, "How to Address Millennials' Dreams".

A) How to Address Millennials’ Skills

1. Know your candidates’ skills and capabilities as thoroughly as possible, and be prepared to discuss them. Understand the limited or extensive range of those skills. If it is not obvious, ask relevant questions.

skills - competence - growth - experience - learning

2. Look at more than just their resume. Check out LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets also. You may discover additional skills not mentioned on their professional resume.

3. Be aware of potential training opportunities available with your company. The more details you can share with a candidate, the more trust will be established. Additionally, many businesses have learned that providing (carefully chosen) mentors for new employees can be extremely helpful in the training process.

Ask the following:

  • Do your current skills fall short of your personal or professional aspirations in any way?
  • How do anticipate this job helping you improve your skill-set or craft?
  • Are there any skills which you are particularly passionate about learning or improving?

B) How to Address Millennials’ Goals

1. Discuss any new skills, computer programs and experiences to which the candidate will be exposed.

2. Know what previous employees in this position loved about their job, then convey those inspiring aspects of the job to the candidate.

goal - man in suit - arrow graphic

Ask the following:

  • How do think this job might help you accomplish your extended career goals?
  • What life goal motivates you the most currently? (does not need to be work-related, just ask, and see where the conversation takes you)

C) How to Address Millennials’ Dreams

1. Make an effort to discover what unique gifts, traits, insights, skills and experiences they might bring to the table. You need to know what one thing stands out about this person in the eyes of his or her references.

2. Discuss personal motivation. Why? Because this is important insight for both the employer and employee to possess moving forward. The aforementioned article from TTI Success Insights® provides a brief overview of 12 different types of motivators which can help managers understand what drives their employees to act in particular ways. 

do what you love

The 12 driving forces/motivators include the following: 

  • Intellectual - all about truth, knowledge, learning
  • Instinctive - driven to make decisions based on intuition
  • Resourceful - motivated by efficiency and ROI
  • Selfless - willing to complete a task simply because it needs to be done
  • Harmonious - focused on the experience and balance, viewpoint is subjective
  • Objective - interested in the functionality of things in one's surroundings
  • Altruistic - being supportive ushers in personal satisfaction
  • Intentional - being helpful and willing to assist others, but with a specific purpose in mind
  • Commanding - all about status, recognition and control
  • Collaborative - being supportive with little need for recognition
  • Receptive - open-minded, interested in finding new ways to accomplish daily tasks
  • Structured - follows tried and true methods for accomplishing tasks

Review a sample 12 Driving Forces® (Motivators) report HERE. To learn more about these assessments/reports and how they can help you discern the type of candidate who would be the best match for your job and company, contact Brannon Professionals, an authorized TTISI® provider.

3. If at this point you see the candidate as a strong possibility for hire, go ahead and answer all those often unspoken but always relevant questions. Say, “If we offer and you accept this position, this is what you can expect." Be honest. They need a realistic idea of what all the job can offer them. Share specific information about salary (even if you must quote the minimum starting pay rate or a range of pay), benefits, perks, and career opportunities. Let them be excited about a potential job offer from your company.

Ask the following:

dream job signage - arrow pointing this way
  • What advantageous role do you think this job might play in helping you achieve your dream?
  • Explore the candidate’s strengths, outside interests, and volunteer or service project involvement. Try to establish solid connections between those passions and your company. This may lead to discussions regarding cross-training, leadership opportunities, or new company-wide initiatives.
  • Millennials have been exposed to so much more (especially regarding technology) than generations prior. Why not ask good questions to see what you might honestly learn from them and then (without taking unfair, uncompensated advantage) see how you might utilize their talents to accomplish more than simply the job at hand?

Traditional, Resume-Focused Interviews vs                Non-Traditional, Candidate-Focused Conversations

interviewing figures sitting in chairs

These are some ideas which may help you capture the interest of the very talented and passionate Millennial generation.

Explore. Candidate skills. Candidate goals. Candidate dreams. Candidate motivations.

This type of interview definitely requires some effort and a different focus, but the benefits can be extensive. And as I always say, asking even one of the above questions can provide insight which you might otherwise miss.

Try it. You may never want to return to those old standard interview questions again, not with any generation.

How to Better Understand the Mindset & Motivation of a Millennial

   True or false?     Millennials are lazy. Millennials are     entitled. Millennials are     narcissis    tic.

True or false? Millennials are lazy. Millennials are entitled. Millennials are narcissistic.

The Hidden Truth Behind These Statements

Do these statements ring true about millennials in general? Are they true about the millennials you know personally, including the ones in your own family? 

My personal opinion is that the statements are somewhat true, but there is so much more to say about millennials! In spite of any perceived laziness, they are also extremely passionate about pursuing their interests. As for feelings of entitlement, maybe, but I have found them to be willing to work most diligently when attempting to meet and/or finance their goals. And narcissism? Who can blame them for being so completely self-absorbed when social media pretty much demands it? Who's coaching them to live life differently? Some parents and teachers are, but not all.

A Truthful Assessment Regarding Millennial Behavior

millennials in discussion

The truth is, some millennials behave exactly in this manner (lazy, entitled, self-centered) while others do not. Many millennials are often motivated to be industrious rather than lazy and people-centric as opposed to self-centered. As to that whole entitlement thing . . . there's  a lot to say about that one.

The Truth About the Entitlement Factor

Entitlement is associated with thoughts and behaviors such as selfishness, high expectations, demand for the best, and assumption that all will be as one wishes it to be.

My rationale flows something like this: First of all, whose tendency as a young person isn't selfish? And aren't high expectations supposedly a good thing? Parents dish them out on their children constantly. As to wanting the best . . . as long as it's tempered with giving your best, would we rather them aim for less? Regarding assumptions, each of us may need a reality check at times, but that reality may hit millennials especially hard.

The True Potential of Millennials

Below are some quotes and links to both articles and interviews which are meant to help us sort through the labels placed on millennials and perhaps see beyond those negatives to how these millennials are much more than the labels their world has assigned them. While they also  have much good to offer, they still need older generations to make an effort to seek a deeper understanding of them.

working millennial at desk with laptop and coffee

This article is an attempt to take you into their world. By exploring their thoughts, motivations, expectations, and experiences, and by heeding the valuable insights of their managers, we can learn a great deal about how best to work with and guide millennials as they enter the workforce and strive to make their mark upon this world.

Millennials and Maturity

What it means to be a grownup

"Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you're grown up. Growing up means being patient, holding your temper, cutting out the self-pity, and quitting with the righteous indignation." - Brandon Stanton, author of Humans of New York

Perspectives on Millennials  

The desire to make the world a better place  

"I'm very encouraged by millennials and their drive to make the world a better place." - John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market

The gift of individualism  

man on the move

"One of the things I admire most about millennials is they celebrate individualism, and their singularity is encouraged. To be different is to be cool as opposed to weird." - Sutton Foster, American actress

The gift of intellect & the work of serving others  

"These Millennials are volunteering more; they're smarter than ever." - Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California

The gift of engagement

"The Millennial Generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged -- with potentially seismic consequences for America." - Neil Howe and William Strauss, Millennials Rising

Millennials’ Work Ethic

man thinking - wheels turning as clock is ticking

When the work you do everyday matters

"The very first thing I tell every intern on the first day is that their internship exists solely on their resume. As far as I am concerned, they are a full-time member of my team. For all the negative stereotypes about millennials, you would be astounded by how hard they work when they believe their contribution matters." - Jay Samit, American author and digital media innovator

When the correlation between one’s work and one’s purpose is excellence

"The more a business is able to develop and articulate a core purpose and engage with millennials, who equate purpose with business excellence, the greater chances for long-term success." - Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte

What Millennials Want in the Workplace

The opportunity to thrive vs The status quo

"Recruiters sometimes have their wires crossed when it comes to what Millennials really want at work. While fancy perks are great, many Millennials are more excited about growing and thriving at a company that appreciates their talent and will help them continue to learn." Kathryn Minshew, CEO and Co-founder of The Muse

handshake among 3 professionals

Mentoring vs Managing

“Millennials don't want to be managed, they like to be led, coached and mentored. This generation is on fire and ready to go. Are you ready to change the world?” ― Farshad Asl, Best-selling author, international speaker

Hunger for growth & development vs Hunger for the complimentary, “Job well done!”

feedback written on chalkboard - 2 professionals talking

"Millennials tend to appreciate regular feedback because they want to feel that their work matters and that they are making a difference in the workplace. As the youngest generation at most organizations, they also tend to be hungry for growth and development opportunities." - Kathryn Minshew, CEO/Co-founder of The Muse

Stubborn leadership vs Flexible management

"Organizations that can’t—or won’t—customize training, career paths, incentives and work responsibilities need a wake-up call." - Carolyn A. Martin and Bruce Tulgan, authors

Millennials’ Priorities

Communicating core purpose as a priority

"Millennials want to work for organizations that prioritize purpose as well as profit. It's as simple as that." - Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte

words related to purpose and priorities

Culture of the workplace

"Where people work and their environment is becoming more and more important, especially for millennials." - Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber

Central concerns

A recent study by Bentley University revealed 3 priorities held by millennials:

  • Prefer talking with colleagues in person rather than texting or emailing

  • Value health-care benefits more than frequent pay raises and promotions when choosing a job

  • Believe that flexible work schedules make the workplace more productive for people their age

4 millennials using digital devices

Millennials and Technology

Learning by doing vs Learning by questioning

"Millennials, and the generations that follow, are shaping technology. This generation has grown up with computing in the palm of their hands. They are more socially and globally connected through mobile Internet devices than any prior generation. And they don't question; they just learn." - Brad D. Smith, CEO of Intuit

Other Millennial Insights

ways to create a happy work environment

Where millennials thrive

Fascinating interview between Bentley University and YNAB – check it out HERE, “Companies Where Millennials Thrive: You Need a Budget”. Read to the end so you don’t miss the CEO’s top three insights about hiring, employing and retaining millennials.

Addressing alignment

To learn more about addressing alignment between employers and potential employees, click HERE to read the article, “5 Tough Questions for Millennials and Employers”. 

happy coworkers in front of a computer

Workplace culture

For more about creating a workplace culture which millennials will find enticing, click HERE to read, “Create This Sort of Work Environment If You Want To Retain Millennials”.

Hopefully, these thoughts, tidbits of insight, quotes and links will be helpful as you seek to increase your successful engagement with the Millennial generation. Moreover, if Brannon Professionals can serve you as a talent acquisition partner or in your own job search, please connect with us online at

Do You Need to Build More Humor into Your Life and Workday?

 Has anyone ever told you that you don’t have a sense of humor? Maybe you honestly don’t, and that irritates you. But if it’s true, wouldn’t you like that truth to change?

Has anyone ever told you that you don’t have a sense of humor? Maybe you honestly don’t, and that irritates you. But if it’s true, wouldn’t you like that truth to change?

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road." - Henry Ward Beecher

"A good laugh makes any interview, or any conversation, so much better." - Barbara Walters

How We Become Humorless

Heed this warning from neurologist, Joseph Collins:

“By starving emotions, we become humorless, rigid and stereotyped; by repressing them we become literal, reformatory and holier-than-thou; encouraged, they perfume life; discouraged; they poison it.”

Which parts of this quote are the most desirable? Of course, it is the part which suggests that when our emotional state is healthy, the sweet aroma of life will once again pervade our senses.

Are you that emotionally healthy? That free? Do you understand what is meant by the perfume of life? And are you experiencing it – day in, day out?

The Emotional State of a Humorless Individual

Not to say that all humorless people are in this particular boat . . . but is your emotional side "starving"? Do you feel ignored and empty on the inside? Hurt, depressed or angry because your emotional needs are being unmet? Not that these aren't completely legitimate feelings, but have you shut others out? Perhaps you are shy and protective of your thoughts and feelings and have no interest in revealing them to others - through laughter or otherwise. Are you so wrapped up in yourself and your troubles and so untouched by the humor, happiness and life of those around you that you cannot join in? You may feel that shutting off your emotions is like shutting off the pain and fear.

Truth: We ALL have these types of feelings at times, but the feelings have far ranging effects as people deal with them differently. 

what a laugh is .....

Did you know . . . 

"A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing." - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sometimes when our emotional needs have been forced to take a backseat, it actually plays out in life as though our emotional needs are in the front seat, and everything else in life has been stuffed into the backseat. What I mean is – we find ourselves laughing at nothing because all that really matters or could possibly affect us in a positive way (or help us laugh freely again) is getting our emotional need(s) met.

Therefore, we behave in a “rigid”, “stereotyped” or distant manner. Yet we might behave differently were we not supressing our emotions just trying to do life, such as it is, or as we perceive it to be . . . without laughter.

"A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable." - Billy Graham

Repressed Laughter

young woman looking sad

Why do people hold back their laughter? Sometimes you know they want to laugh because you see it in their eyes or on their lips, but they withhold that joyous sound from the world. Or perhaps there is simply no laughter in their eyes or on their lips; the ability to laugh seems to have faded away. Then again, maybe the person is ignoring you and your wit or repressing their laughter for an unknown reason. Even self-deception may be playing a role.

According to this article from, here are 10 signs which suggest someone may be suppressing their emotions, as well as their laughter: memory problems, glaring eyes, being overly sensitive, increased stress, depression or anxiety, weight gain, use of alcohol, sleepiness, attitude of superiority, or lack of interest in things which they used to care deeply.

Consider this proverb from Scripture: "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." - Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)

Managing Your Emotions

emotional intelligence - head image

Do you discourage your own emotions? Block them out? Human beings were made to feel emotion. So, whatever you feel, own it. Record your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Face the truth of your emotions, especially when they feel extreme and heavy. Don’t pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t. Don’t lie to yourself. Confide in a friend, family member or counselor. Tell your spouse how you feel. Seek professional help. Don’t ever deny yourself the freedom of feeling and facing your emotions, frustrating or depressing as they may be, especially not when hope and help are available nearby.

"A sense of humor... is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life." - Hugh Sidey

That said, once you are ready to deal with the reality of your emotions, you must learn how to manage them. This ability is also known as emotional intelligence, and you can learn more about that by reading any combination of the sixty EI/EQ articles published HERE

Learning How to Laugh (Again)

laughing smiling ladies

Laughter Tip #1:

Can you laugh at something in which you honestly find less than humorous – simply because you choose to enjoy the lighter side of life? Next time you have the chance, choose laughter. Join in. Be intentional. You will know that you have succeeded in real laughter when the humor lightens your eyes and your upturned lips don’t immediately return to their natural set.

"Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It's the sweetest thing one can do for oneself & one's fellow human beings." - Maya Angelou

Laughter Tip #2:

Do you ever find yourself repressing laughter over a joke with which you find fault? Perhaps it’s not based on fact. Or it’s too metaphorical. It's not even funny. Just not your taste. Maybe it’s a bit on the tacky side. I’m not saying you have to laugh (especially at something truly tacky or personally offensive), but how are you going to prevent others from viewing you as stoic, annoyingly literal and far too holier-than-thou in your attitude toward others? Do you need to loosen up a bit?

"Humor can alter any situation and help us cope at the very instant we are laughing." - Allen Klein

Laughter Tip #3:

laughter - woman smiling with book on her head

Are you able to laugh in the privacy of your own home? Own office? Own car? Or are things so bleak that you find no laughter to be had anymore? It may be that even a smile is personally challenging for you at this time. If so, start there.

Practice smiling at others as you say good morning. Practice makes perfect. Build up to laughter. Practice being funny with whatever type of humor suits you best. Self-deprecating humor is relatively simple and effective – as long as you don’t use it to indirectly solicit compliments.

"It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously." - Oscar Wilde

Laughter Tip #4:

Make yourself laugh. Watch a favorite childhood television show. Comedic preferences for me would be programs like The Carol Burnett Show or I Love Lucy. Listen to a favorite comedian. Read a book with a delightfully witty character. Listen to morning radio humor. Watch some funny YouTube videos. Whatever you do, start exposing yourself to humor again. Allow yourself to laugh at something everyday. By doing so, you are giving yourself the freedom to feel and get outside your own circumstances for a while. It can bring health and healing to your emotional state.

laughing man with be happy sticky note on forehead
"Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place." - Mark Twain

Laughter Tip #5:

Spend time with a child, a teacher, a police officer, a nurse, a waiter/waitress . . . or a friend. These people usually have the best stories to tell of shocking, funny, and all-too-true tales. Invite them into your life. Get outside your own head. And laugh. 

2 women in lawn chairs laughing - smiling
" . . . science confirms that positive emotions invoked by humor have healing effects." - Charles Hunter, Healing Through Humor

Laughter Tip #6:

Learn to tell your own funny stories. Have 2 or 3 readily available. Just look for an appropriate opening and start talking.

"Story has the power to transmit emotion, and humor helps to deliver positive emotions. Hence, humorous stories make for one of the best mediums to connect with an audience." - Ramakrishna Reddy, Connect Using Humor and Story: How I Got 18 Laughs, 3 Applauses in a 7 Minute Persuasive Speech

A Smile for Today

Allow me to share a couple of my all-time favorite stories from decades ago when I was teaching in Belize, Central America. Once a day, I would leave my class of 7th and 8th graders to go and teach English to the 5th and 6th graders. One of the classes had extra difficulty in following my instructions, so I orchestrated a plan to correct this problem. It was test day – all about locating subjects and verbs. I wrote the instructions on the board and read them aloud. Then I demonstrated exactly how I wanted everything labeled, explaining as I wrote. Finally, I asked the students to begin the assessment.

2 pencils with erasers

Within 1 or 2 minutes, my most conscientious albeit individualistic student slowly and hesitantly inched his hand up with a question. I knew it was coming; I was just biding my time. He asked, “Excuse me, Miss, but would it be okay if I . . . instead of . . . ?” He was asking if he could do it his way rather than according to my prior instructions. This was exactly the reason I had begun the testing by going over the instructions so carefully. I responded, “Yes, you may do as you wish . . . if you want to fail.” He immediately got the most panicked expression on his face and began speedily erasing all the work he had completed thus far.

If you knew this wonderful child (a doctor now) and all his perfectionist tendencies, you would understand how completely humorous this was to me and his other teachers. To this day, the event ushers in not only a good laugh, but also another story about this young man’s older brother.

teacher with students

One morning the 7th and 8th grade classes were preparing to perform a skit during the school-wide chapel program. As we were trying to rehearse, it felt like everything was in utter chaos, and I was quite stressed. It was at that moment that the brother raised his hand and said (with a smile as if he were telling a legitimate story), “Miss, when I woke up this morning, I had one nerve left, and YOU are getting on it.” Silence ensued.

teacher with glasses

What would the teacher’s response be to this outburst from one of her most well-behaved and respectful students? Well, before I answer that question, I have a confession. I am well-known for saying that things/people are sometimes getting on “my very last nerve” – in the most lighthearted way, but I used to say it often. Obviously, my students had picked it up and were now attempting to use it against me – in a most humorous way. So, I laughed, and they all laughed with me although the brother making the joke was also breathing a sigh of relief. I don’t recall him ever making another joke in class, but I think it felt good for him to break out of his shell that day.

I will never regret responding in laughter rather than with a reprimand, which was never a real temptation anyway. Besides, in all my directing and disciplining during the chaotic rehearsal, I’m quite sure his comment was a complete and accurate assessment. By the way, the skit was played out perfectly by the students, and I was so proud of them. And this brother also became a doctor!

Sharing Stories and Laughter

emojis with various moods and facial expressions

What are your stories – the ones that make you smile, giggle, or howl with laughter? Remember and share them as you have opportunity. Laughter does the heart good. So, don’t resist it. Engage in it. Laugh with others. Laugh at yourself. Laugh out loud and enjoy life with those nearest to you. See if it doesn’t have an immediate and positive impact upon your current outlook on life. Consider it a challenge!

Emotional Intelligence and How It Is Linked to Career Success 

Emotional Intelligence Defined

emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) may be a new expression for some readers, so allow me to share a few definitions.

Definition #1

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is the "ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people."

We could probably all use a little help in this area! And the ability to cheer someone up or calm them down? What an asset that would be to any of us!

Definition #2 records the definition of emotional intelligence as the "ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they're telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively."

This definition reminds me of the role a counselor plays in helping others work through the emotional ups and downs of their relationships. As to understanding how our emotions and/or expressions affect those around us, I say, “How many times has someone quizzed me to see if I was all right when I was perfectly content and feeling good?” The problem is that our outward expressions (both positive and negative) don't always match what we are thinking or feeling on the inside. The result? We are subjected to wrong interpretations, assumptions, and judgments.

Definition #3

On the TTI Success Insights® website, it states that their Emotional Quotient Assessment can accurately measure a person’s emotional intelligence, which they define as the "ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of overall emotional well-being to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity." The assessment offers an impressive array of feedback and is useful in developing leaders, engaging teams, coaching and in succession planning.

This is the definition I want to focus on in this article: emotional intelligence in the workplace and how "to facilitate (those) higher levels of collaboration and productivity."

The Importance of Critical Thinking and Emotional Engagement Skills

Artificial Intelligence and People Smarts

According to Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) June 2017 article entitled, “In the AI Age ‘Being Smart’ Will Mean Something Completely Different,” the age of artificial intelligence is ushering in a need to increase our critical thinking and emotional engagement skills. Why? Because this is something that smart technology can’t always do – piece things together and engage successfully with others to solve problems and to accomplish what only humans were made to do. Interestingly, Ed Hess, the author of this HBR article and co-author of the book, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Berrett-Koehler, 2017), also included humility as a necessary virtue since we must overcome both fear and vanity as we attempt to add something valuable to our high-tech world.

productivity at work

Thus, in the competitive world in which we strive, we must learn to value collaborative work above our own ego and do whatever it takes to remain truly productive in the workplace. In this article, we will address three points which are relevant both to this goal and to the aim of increasing one's emotional intelligence:

  • The problem of sleep deprivation as it relates to EI
  • The strengths and weaknesses of one's emotional quotient in the areas of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill
  • The role that personal humility plays in the workplace among emotionally intelligent leaders

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Emotional Intelligence

In a recent article by Julian Hayes, it suggests that a lack of sleep is wrecking people’s emotional intelligence. Because sleep is so closely linked to cognitive function, not getting enough of it affects everything about our life and work – and not in a positive way.

sleep deprived cartoon man

Do you want to improve your emotional intelligence? Start today by creating a sleep schedule for yourself. Plan for it. Prepare your family. Inform your friends. Consider what adjustments will need to be made as you put your laptop and cellphone aside at least 30 minutes before the bedtime you establish for yourself. Wrap your mind around having an actual scheduled time for sleep. Visualize it. Then lie down and relish a good long sleep. Enjoy waking up early, refreshed and ready to get going.

When human beings get enough sleep, they may see noticeable improvement in the following areas:

sleeping figure
  • Ability to focus and finish tasks more readily
  • General improvement in attitude and demeanor when interacting with others because getting enough sleep is an automatic mood enhancer
  • Greater likelihood to exhibit emotional stability during stressful situations
  • Overall improved work performance and production may leave more room for investing time in team building activities and developing relationships with others 
  • Increased competence when it comes to communicating, prioritizing, scheduling, and making tough decisions
  • Ability to experience joy over the most basic pleasures of life will become more commonplace
  • Creativity, inspiration, new interests and greater curiosity may become welcomed new habits
  • Feelings of weariness and fatigue (even stress) should begin to subside a little at a time

Do you see a theme emerging? All these improvements are related to your cognitive skills, productivity, collaborative efforts, and overall success – all because you are no longer sleep deprived.

The Emotional Quotient Assessment

If you choose to learn more about your own level of emotional intelligence, you may find TTI Success Insights’ Emotional Quotient assessment to be very insightful. It addresses the following 2 aspects of emotional intelligence (EI):

  • one’s intrapersonal EI, having to do with self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation
  • one’s interpersonal EI, having to do with empathy and social skills

According to the TTI Success Insight® website, the dimensions of emotional intelligence may be defined in these 5 ways:

  • Self-Awareness - the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others
  • Self-Regulation - the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and to think before acting
  • Motivation - a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status and the tendency to pursue goals with energy and persistence
  • Empathy - one’s ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people
  • Social Skills - a proficiency in managing relationships and building networks
self awareness

Suggestions from TTISI® for improving these areas of EI might include some of the following:

1. To improve Self-Awareness . . .

  • identify with your emotional triggers more fully by describing them to someone you trust
  • determine whether your self-perception is accurate or not

2. In striving for Self-Regulation . . .

  • discuss ways to alter a negative mood with a good friend or advisor
  • keep an on-going log of self-management skills most effective for you
set goals1.jpg

3. To maintain Motivation . . .

  • include dates when setting goals
  • create very specific objectives as you reach for overall goals; celebrate accomplishments along the way

4. To increase Empathy . . .

  • try to understand others before communicating your point of view so your message is clear
  • observe others’ body language for non-verbal cues
social competence in the workplace

5. To improve Social Skills . . .

  • remember unique facts about others
  • if involved in a miscommunication or negative interaction, be certain to take accountability and make amends right away

The Emotional Quotient Assessment and Report

pie graph

The TTI Success Insights’ Emotional Quotient (EQ) reports are based specifically on individual responses to the assessment questions.

Topics in the report include the following:

  • an introduction to the 5 dimensions of emotional intelligence
  • an overview of your own level of emotional intelligence broken down into 5 distinct categories
  •  the areas of EI where there is room for improvement and where you rank among a majority of the population
  • your overall intrapersonal, interpersonal and total EI rankings
  • brief statements about your current EI level along with several specific suggestions for what you can do to improve in each of the 5 categories (excellent tool)
  • the EQ wheel provides a pie-chart type of ranking showing your scores in each of the 5 categories

To inquire further about these EQ assessments and subsequent reports, please contact Brannon Professionals or checkout our website.

Emotional Intelligence and the Critical Role of Humility

Last, but not least, let’s consider the aspect of humility in how we seek to engage with others successfully in a smart-tech world. Merriam-Webster states that to be humble is the opposite of being proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive. Humility is also reflected, expressed, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission. It involves (professional) courtesy.

Think about the ways you currently present or share information with others in a collaborative context:

  • Are you humbly authoritative or obnoxiously so in your leadership approach?
  • Do others perceive you as smart but rather smug or as smart and always so humble?
  • Do you come across as someone to be reckoned with or someone with true team spirit at heart?
  • Do you thrive on the inspiration and input of others, or are you a one-man or one-woman show?

Do you recall that the definition of emotional intelligence involves your perception of others, understanding how they feel, and allowing that knowledge to help you manage relationships more effectively?

4 team members holding word TEAM

Work to establish yourself as just one part of a great team. Show your intelligence and present your ideas but not in a condescending or arrogant manner. Listen to others and their opinions. Respond to them with appreciation, and strive to understand their perspective with true patience and legitimate curiosity.

Teams are established by management for a reason; they believe everyone has something to contribute. So, practice humility. Work to be a valuable part of that established team, not to be the one and only.

Just because arrogant confidence and condescension may have worked to your advantage in the past does not mean that they always will. These are not attractive qualities and should not be perceived or accepted as such.

Your job is to produce but also to listen, pay attention, heed, and work with others’ knowledge and skills to accomplish great things. You can only do this when the focus is on the team and its goal - not simply on yourself and your preferences. Emotionally, you must find a way in which to relate and work well with others to the point of success; otherwise, you may be left behind.

Emotional Intelligence and What to Do Next

If you are serious about improving your emotional intelligence, be sure to develop your understanding about what EI is and how to improve yours. Learn how to talk about it. In this article, we’ve established the importance of getting enough deep sleep to improve overall cognitive function, presented methods for practicing humility in a team environment, and provided you with a successful method (TTISI’s Emotional Quotient assessment) for gaining insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your own level of emotional intelligence.

The future is bright. And so are you.

AI versus man's intelligence in future

Will you seek to develop your emotional intelligence as you strive to ensure your future career success?

The next step is yours!

Contact Brannon Professionals at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622 today.


How to Help Your Employees LOVE Their Jobs

unhappy disengaged employee face

In our ever-changing world, employee engagement continues to be a well-explored topic. And with the number of Millennials in the workplace increasing daily, the workplace and its employees have the potential to be a dynamic duo.  Regardless of the type of staff you have, there are most assuredly numerous ways in which owners and managers can help their businesses increase employee engagement for the betterment of all concerned. 

Management must intentionally build a collaborative community of trust, engagement and productivity within their organizations. But how? Here are 10 ideas for your consideration:

communication ball

1.  Create and communicate a deeper understanding of company goals and objectives.

When both managers and employees understand the overall financial picture of the company and what is needed to grow the company, they can promote the overall products and services of the company with a fresh, problem-solving approach in their specific job and department. Many employees will develop a strong sense of ownership as they work with a higher purpose in mind.

2.  Make each of your employees feel highly valued and respected. 

Don’t be standoffish or rude, but treat your staff like family. Engage in normal, everyday conversation with them. Acknowledge their accomplishments. Remember to say thank you often. When the company does well, share the fruits of labor with your employees.

3.  Build employee satisfaction by valuing their input and fresh ideas. 

idea shared between 2 professional figures

Realize individual potential. Ask good questions, listen well, and interact with your staff often. Do you know that Millennials tend to be effective problem solvers, critical thinkers and decision makers – all because of the giant strides in information technology? Utilize their exposure to technology and remember to promote a collaborative culture!

4.  Don’t waste your staff’s valuable time in meetings that aren’t necessary or in which they make no contribution. 

staff meeting

During staff meetings, keep it focused on 2 to 3 priority items and include only the people who must be there to move the agenda forward. If a quick stand-up meeting can accomplish your goal, consider it the preferred meeting option. If you have a sit-down meeting, do not allow cell phones or laptops to be on/open. As you’ve often heard it said, the rules of presentation are, “Be brief, be bright, and be gone.”

5.  Give voice to vacation time and make it a requirement.

vacation - get away from the office

Both long and short vacations have 3 impressive restorative qualities to them: 

1) Good for the brain and increasing productivity.

2) Great for the body and relieving stress.

3) Employees tend to be more motivated and creative upon their return.

6.  See what motivates your employees.

Regarding motivations, did you know that people have certain motivators, which if plugged in properly within a work environment, will cause them to engage more naturally and happily, generally resulting in a love of their job and a natural increase in productivity? 

motivation - man holding sign

To share a few examples . . . 

  • Socially-motivated individuals will have a natural concern for people and will typically shine in a customer-service role. They will find satisfaction in talking with clients and meeting their needs.
  • A utilitarian-motivated person will strive to make the most out of their time and resources. S/he will also excel at connecting customers with the best resources and solutions available. They often make great salespeople.
  • Finally, a theoretically-motivated employee will thrive on solving problems and discovering truth. S/he will enjoy taking knowledge gleaned over time and sharing it with others - ideal prospects for teaching, training, coaching, etc.

7.  Care about what your employees really want and need during the holidays and offer flexibility when possible.

merry christmas tree and star ornaments

During the holidays, be as understanding and as flexible as possible to those who are in the office working rather than vacationing or enjoying family time. Most people in this world appreciate employers’ awareness and concern with work-life balance. 

Here are a few ways a manager might offer flexibility to their staff during holidays before leaving to enjoy their own time off:

  • Reduce staff on light work days. Why require 5 to be there if 2 can do the job? Offer additional paid time off or even the opportunity to miss work without pay. 
  • Why not allow the employee(s) to bring their spouse or child to work with them on super slow days? I'm sure this would be more appropriate for smaller businesses, but could work for others too, if well planned.
  • Make down-time or regular office time fun. Grant permission for an in-house afternoon movie and a few party snacks. Or if the nature of your business permits flexibility in regards to dress code, allow your employees to dress more casually on holidays.
  • Allow remote opportunities, even if it’s just for an afternoon. If an Excel project can be completed from home, provide that option. 

Just be sure to give all employees equal opportunity and keep the managers accountable in this respect.

8.  Discover how satisfied your current employees are.

busy engaged employees

Why wait for an “exit interview” to discover valuable employee satisfaction information?  Survey your current employees (without negative consequence) regarding how they want to be managed by their supervisors, what’s working and what’s not, what they find to be a truly motivating factor for them in the workplace, and what their primary goals are for the next year or two. 

To retain your current staff, know what they like, desire, and long for in the development of their career with your company. Try to ascertain these tidbits of information outside the realm of yearly evaluations. Then bring these insights to the table during evaluations, but do your homework first so that you know how to advise and encourage them in their position (and future) with the company. You do your part and inspire them to do theirs as well, to the benefit of all.

9.  Employee engagement can be difficult to manage/promote once an employee is hired.

employee efficiency and engagement

To successfully hire a strong, engaged, even ideal candidate for a specific job on the front end, consider the useful tools of behavioral analysis and predictive analytics. TTI Success Insights® assessments, subsequent reports and consultant’s advice on proper interpretation of these reports can make a tremendous difference in the revolving door some businesses struggle to rid themselves of. TTISI® offers businesses the opportunity to reduce the number of bad hiring decisions by assisting with the search and retention of great talent, properly matching strong candidates to the right job, and easily identifying top performers based on unbiased assessments and reporting tools.

10.  Invest in TTISI® behavioral assessment reports for great hiring insights & management tips.

target bull's eye

As stated above, TTI Success Insights®' behavioral assessments provide unbiased insight into what type of person is needed to be a success in a certain job. According to their website, this includes consideration of the following: the knowledge a person needs, the hard skills vital to the job, personal attributes required to drive success, rewards for superior performance, behavior necessary to perform at peak level, and intrinsic motivators.

The Bottom Line

arrow holes on target - many missed bull's eye

Employees leave when they are unhappy, and we all know that replacing an employee is costly. So is training someone new. Maybe the person was a bad hire from the beginning, but maybe you simply had the person in the wrong position. Maybe you didn’t respect them enough to value their opinions.  Perhaps they would have excelled in an auditor role but failed in the accounts payable position. Or could it be that the company has developed a revolving door due to outdated management practices? Perhaps it is time to try some of the recommendations mentioned above. 

Consider contacting Brannon Professionals, a professional placement and consulting firm in the Memphis area, for assistance with your employer-employee management skills and hiring/retention needs. We utilize TTISI® assessment tools often, and our staff would be happy to work with you and your company on these matters and more. Contact us today at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622 for assessment options, pricing, consultation, or other questions.