Developing a SMARTER Mindset to increase Resilience, Emotional Intelligence – Part 1

Cynthia Kivland

Cynthia Kivland

Cynthia Kivland, author of Smart2Smarter: How Emotional and Social Connections Bring Humanity into the Workplace: Seven Skills Every Smart Person Needs, reviewed research-based models that suggest ways to increase resilient attitudes and behaviors.

Her “Smart to SMARTER” model is based on interviews with “smart and competent” people in a variety of fields.
Kivland developed a mnemonic device highlight important elements of Emotionally Intelligent or “Emotionally Smart” people:

S – Self – Optimize strengths via self-efficacy
M – Mastery of emotions
A – Attraction – Positive energy, optimism, confidence to attract the best to self, others
R – Resilience – Adapt, reinvent oneself to overcome setbacks
T – Tolerance of emotional experience, changing circumstances, diverse people and beliefs
E – Evolve – Innovate, improve new ways to manage emotions, reactions, behaviors
R – Reciprocity – Lead, be lead; teach, be taught, give, receive

She noted that positive psychology research demonstrated that positive emotions help people endure and grow from life’s changes and adversities.

To help cultivate positive emotions, she suggests three practices:
• Emotional engagement
Schedule fun, enjoyable experiences and opportunities for positive emotions
• Emotional responsiveness
Be present, attentive, and engaged during pleasant moments
• Emotional savoring
“Evolve” by intentionally enjoying positive moments and emotions of joy, contentment, satisfaction, and carrying positive memories into future situations

Salvatore Maddi

“Mindsets” consist of attitudes that can facilitate or impede executing these three recommendations, based on early workplace research by Salvatore Maddi, who studied people affected by organizational change.

He distilled effective coping skills he observed among affected employees as three “Emotional Hardiness” Mindsets:

Commitment vs Alienation – Active involvement with people, life events
Control vs. Powerlessness – Persistence in trying to improve life situations
Challenge vs Threat – Viewing change as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and craft a fulfilling life

In addition, Maddi found that these employees demonstrated two Emotional Resilience Skills:
• Community vs. Isolation – Engaging with others to mobilize social support, feedback
• Proactive Coping (Thriving) vs Reactive Coping (Surviving) – View adversity in context to deepen awareness

Kivland’s Resilience tools

See Part 2 of this post

-*What practices and “mindsets” help you cultivate “emotional hardiness” in your work activities?

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