Episode 156: Social Intelligence

Episode 156: Social Intelligence

Episode 156: Social Intelligence 560 420 Carlos L Chacon

How well do you connect with others? We generally think pretty good of ourselves and at first glance you may give yourself a pretty high score.  While there is no test you can take to compare your results to mine, the way you connect with others can have a profound influence in the workplace and we are each judged by the people we come in contact with.  Our guest in this episode, Linda Groszyk, talks with us about some of the ways social intelligence can impact us, how we can get better at it and who we can reach out to if we need help.

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Zero to Dashboard Hero

January 11th 9:00am to 4:00pm
Residence Inn, Murfreesboro, TN

Episode Quotes

“I like to sum it up as “social intelligence means having people smarts”.

“If it doesn’t come intuitively, and it’s not something that your brain is really wired to do, or your brain makes it a little bit harder for you to do, then you really do have to put more focus and energy on being self-aware, having situational awareness and making behavioral adjustments.”

“People with social intelligence have this awareness of the impact that their behaviors have on others and they’re aware of the emotional ripple or the emotional effect that what they say and do, how that is going to make other people feel.”

Listen to Learn

00:40     Intro
01:24     Compañero Shout-Outs
02:20     Zero to Dashboard Hero in Nashville, Tennessee on Jan 11th
03:32     What Have I Learned
05:36     SQL Server in the News
07:07     Intro to the panel, guest and topic
09:01     What is social intelligence and why are we talking about it on this podcast?
12:34     The benefit of increasing our social intelligence
13:30     Carlos does a little experiment
15:35     People connect well with others who listen and obviously care
18:25     How can we improve our own social intelligence?
20:07     Why people seek help with their social intelligence
23:11     Different people need different degrees of feedback to be aware of social intelligence issues
25:42     Workplace culture can also play into social intelligence
28:55     Social intelligence and the autism spectrum
32:29     Examples of goals and some reasons people might seek Linda or someone like her out
36:29     Advice for those who get promoted to management positions and need to become more socially aware
38:08     How to connect with Linda Groszyk
39:14     SQL Family Questions
43:48     Closing Thoughts

About Linda Groszyk

Linda Groszyk is a Social Cognitive Specialist who provides individualized coaching and consultation services for people to improve their social communication, emotional intelligence, and executive functioning skills for professional, personal, and social growth.

Linda has developed her expertise over the past 18 years as a speech-language pathologist, social cognitive specialist, and accent
reduction coach.

Linda integrates frameworks and strategies rooted in social learning, cognitive behavioral therapy and executive functioning management to help people increase their self-awareness, navigate the social world, and improve their organizational thinking. She recognizes that successful and lasting behavior change is not an easy task. Therefore, building relationships and working in partnership with her clients are paramount to her coaching process.

Linda is originally from the East Coast and currently resides in San Francisco.


Music for SQL Server in the News by Mansardian

*Untranscribed Introduction*

Carlos:             Compañeros, welcome to another edition of the SQL Data Partners Podcast. This is Episode 156. I am joined today by Angela Henry.

Angela:           Hello.

Carlos:             And Bill Lund.

Bill:                  Hello.

Carlos:             And our topic today is Social Intelligence and now, again, we like to talk about a variety of different things and so obviously we’re stepping away from the keyboard, you might say, in this topic. We’re talking with Linda Groszyk. Linda is a Social Cognitive Specialist who provides individual coaching and consulting services. She gave this topic at a SQLSaturday and I was intrigued by what she had to say about it, and so we wanted to have her on, talk a little bit about it,so we’re excited to have Linda with us today.

Before we get into that conversation with Linda, we do have a couple of compañero shout-outs. We’ve got Alicia Moniz, who actually reached out, wanted me to take a peek at one of her abstracts and so I was happy to take a peek at that. Dex Dheressa, actually met in Richmond, Virginia. So through a variety of places, but hooked up on the podcast actually in Michigan, moved to Richmond, and then by happenstance, we happened to connect at the user group, so it was nice to meet you, Dex. James Dandridged from the UK. Since the UK is just a little too far to come join SQL Trail, and James, I promise you that we have been talking and thinking about how to get that a little bit closer to the UK. I can’t promise you that 2019 will be the year. As we get closer and closer, it looks less likely, but you know, we’re still thinking about you, James, so thanks for listening to the podcast. We’ve got Nadir Doctor and Dave McCollough. So, thanks, everybody for connecting with us.

For those of you who are in the Nashville area, you may know that the SQLSaturday is going to happen on the 12th, but also on January the 11th, we are looking to put on our Zero to Hero series. We’re going to be talking about PowerBI and we’ve got Angela, who’s going to be heading that up.

Angela:           Yeah, it’s very exciting. I’m really looking forward to that.

Carlos:             Yeah, and so this will be, ultimately, the goal here is for those of you who may not be as familiar with PowerBI to be able to come in, get acquainted with it, and then get some of the basics of how you get started, so we’re looking forward to putting that on. This event will be free. We are still working on a venue but wanted to make people aware. If you’re interested, obviously hit us up on social media. when this publishes hopefully we’ll have an event, and on the show notes page we’ll have a signup process there available. The URL for today’s episode is going to be sqldatapartners.com/socialintelligence, but if you go to the podcast section, we’ll make sure the registration’s there and if you’re in the Nashville area on January 11th, and want to learn about PowerBI, we’d love to have you.

Okay, so, the What Have I Learned section. Angela’s been feeling a little under the weather and maybe you can hear it in her voice. I know we’ve been willing her to be better for these last couple of days, and so she had an interesting observation, which I’m assuming has to do with her health status at the moment.

Angela:           Yeah, so, and thanks for putting up for my gravelly voice and my stuffy nose. One of the things I always do whenever I get sick is I always drink a lot of hot lemon tea with honey in it. And I had a whole bunch of honey bottles that had about an inch of honey and it was all crystalized and I didn’t feel like going to the store, so I looked it up on the internet and low and behold, honey never goes bad, it just crystallizes. You can scoop it out with a spoon or a knife, put it your hot tea, it’ll melt and it’s just like it was before.

Carlos:             Yes, it’s one of those nice things. And so, all the Jurassic Park fans, I mean, that wasn’t quite honey, but this idea of things being stored and crystallized forever in honey, very interesting.

Bill:                  I have learned from sad experience, if you have the honey bear, you know the little plastic bear, and you try to uncrystallize it by warming up the honey in the microwave?

Angela:           Oh, that doesn’t work so well.

Bill:                  You’re right, the bear will melt.

Angela:           Yes.

Carlos:             Yeah, yeah, do be careful, there. While the honey will be good, the plastic, not so much, and those two may not mix very well, either. So, I had something I guess I was taking a peek at the other day. I had some OLDB weights that I was trying to figure out, and low and behold, those weights were actually caused by a linked server. So, we were seeing weights on one server, but the issue was actually on the other server, and so it took us a minute to connect the dots and then go look to the other server. It would be nice, we never get the tickets with “hey, here’s the exact problem.” It’s always just, “hey, this is slow,” and you’ve got to figure it out and so, that was a new one for me.

Okay, so now for a little SQL Server in the News. SQL Server 2019. Are we calling it the technology preview?

Angela:           It’s CTP, the community technology preview.

Carlos:             Yeah, so 2.2 has been released. So if you’re up to the latest and greatest, I’ve see the tweets about, “hey, I can do this” and people are starting to want to use it. But I do have a, warning’s not the right word, but I do have a suggestion. Migrate away from 2008, first.

Angela:           Yes, please.

Carlos:             End of life, extended support is coming up. The middle of the year, it will go the way of the Dodo. So we’re still seeing a lot of 2008 out there. Obviously if you need some help with migration, talk to us. We’d love to help you, there. So, it’s something that is actually, I guess, supported. We do have another CU for 2017. We’re up to CU 13 and counting. So I’m interested to know, it’ll be interesting to see how far do we go with these CU’s, now we have this new pattern, getting away from service packs.

Angela:           It makes it a lot easier to keep track of, though, because before, you had to figure out, well, CU for Service Pack 1 or CU for Service Pack 3 or yeah. So now it’s just a CU. I like it a lot.

Carlos:             Yes, there you go. You still get that a little bit with 2016, you run into that, kind of.

Angela:           Yeah, cause that’s where they stopped using the service packs.

Carlos:             Okay, that was the last straw, very nice.

Angela:           Yeah.

Carlos:             Very good, awesome. Let’s go ahead and get into this conversation with Linda. We’re looking forward to this. Our URL for today’s episode is going to be sqldatapartners.com/socialintelligence, all one word, or sqldatapartners.com/156.

Our topic today is social intelligence. Bill and Eugene, why don’t you guys just introduce yourselves really quick again, a little bit about your background, and then we can go from there.

Bill:                  Sure, so Bill Lund. I serve as a Vice President of Client Services at SQL Data Partners. I’ve known Carlos since 2004 and get to work with him starting this year has been a great ride.

Eugene:           Yeah, my name’s Eugene Meidinger. I have definitely not known Carlos as long, but known him for a few years and I’m hoping to do some work with him and his colleagues in the near future. I work as a business intelligence developer consultant, that sort of thing, so a lot of reporting. But a decent amount of my money now comes from making video courses and doing training and that sort of thing, so, it’s been an interesting job change recently.

Carlos:             Yeah, I would consider, Eugene and I are technical, Bill, not so technical. He has worked in the human resources side, which is another reason why he gets the invite today.

Linda:              Great.

Carlos:             And then so Linda, go ahead and tell Bill and Eugene what it is that you do for a living.

Linda:              Yeah, sure, so my name is Linda Groszyk and I am a social cognitive specialist. My background is actually in speech language pathology, but right now I have my own business called ProSocial, and I’m out of the Bay Area in San Francisco. I help people improve their social and emotional intelligence in order to meet their goals, whether it’s their personal goals, their professional goals or their social goals. So that’s what I do.

Carlos:             Well, awesome. Thanks so much for being on the program today.

Linda:              Yeah, I’m so happy to be here, thank you.

Carlos:             I did a little bit of research on this prior to our conversation, but I’ll go ahead and maybe let’s tee up this first question, Linda. What is social intelligence and why would a bunch of database people be interested? Why would they care about social intelligence?

Linda:              Yeah, sure, that’s a good question. I’ll start with defining social intelligence for you, which there are actually a lot of different definitions of social intelligence out there, if you did do the research. Everyone has their own opinion and take, from a really deep level of core beliefs to just “oh, it’s being able to speak in an effective way with people”. What I like to do is I like to just sum it up as “social intelligence means having people smarts.” That kind of takes care of it in a nutshell, but then what I like to do when people ask me this question is I like to go a little bit deeper and give a more complex definition. So, are you guys ready for this one?

Carlos:             Oh boy, here we go.

Linda:              Okay, all right. I actually explain it in three different parts. The first part in social intelligence is self-awareness, the second part is situational awareness, and the third part is behavioral adjustments. I’ll speak to all three of those just briefly. If you are a person who is socially intelligent, you have this quality of self-awareness, which means that you’re conscious of your behaviors, what you say and what you do, and you’re also aware of your own thoughts and feelings. So that’s that first part. Then the second part is, as I mentioned, situational awareness. This is your ability to be attentive to the entire context that you’re in. that includes where you are, who is there and everything that’s happening around you. There’s a lot that’s required on this level, because you not only have to be attentive to what people are saying, but also what people are doing, and being aware of non-verbal information that people are communicating. And there’s also an awareness that’s required of what the social rules are of that situation, so situational awareness is extremely complex and deep.

Carlos:             Oh, no question. So, for all the compañeros out there that are thinking, “huh, is this something that I really need?” Compañeros, you need it.

Linda:              That’s so funny. Yeah, everyone, yeah.

Carlos:             Take it from one knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, we need to get better at this. I’m not saying that we have to be at the schmooze level of your favorite politician, but this is definitely an area we can get better at.

Linda:              Well, yeah, and it’s interesting, because for people who, where social intelligence for them is easy and it comes naturally, we don’t really even have to think too much about it. But then when you really ask to define it and deconstruct it, it really is a deep, deep process. So, if it comes intuitively, it just happens. But if it doesn’t come intuitively, and it’s not something that your brain is really wired to do, or your brain makes it a little bit harder for you to do, then you really do have to put more focus and energy on being self-aware, having situational awareness. And then the third part is the behavioral adjustments, which is your ability to flex your behavior based on the needs and the expectations of whatever context that you’re in. That’s that last, third part that’s really critical.

Carlos:             Sure, so we’ve defined this, the idea is that if we are able to do these things, I guess my question is, what’s the benefit? What would be the benefit of increasing our social intelligence, or making that better?

Linda:              The benefit is that people think positively of you. Really, social intelligence means having people skills because it correlates to this idea of likeability and connectivity with others. At a job, it’s critical to be likeable and it’s critical to have others feel comfortable around you in order for job success. And that can be along every step of the process, so if you think about going for a job interview and you need to make a good impression, it’s not just about what’s on your resume, but it’s really about how you’re connecting with the interviewer or how you’re able to communicate your ideas effectively at that interview.

Carlos:             Right, so I’m going to do a little experiment here, and hopefully this works out and if not, that’s what we have an editor for.

Linda:              Okay.

Carlos:             So, Eugene and Bill, I guess I want you think for a moment of someone you’ve worked with in your past that you have enjoyed working with. Okay? And I’d like for you to describe your relationship to them. I’m not looking for a book here, but maybe something that would help us understand why you enjoyed working with that person. Hopefully this makes sense of where we’re going, but here we go.

Eugene:           Sure, so I’d say for me, one of the things that I enjoyed about working with my boss at my last job was that he seemed to really take a sincere interest in other people. It was pleasant to talk with him and be around him and that sort of thing because I felt valued as an individual, or it was just, we all have that natural need to connect with other people. So that was definitely something that I appreciated and certainly something that I find to be a challenge at times. Because as an introvert, small talk is kind of draining, and so literally I’ve had to train myself that oh, people derive value from small talk, or it helps start conversations or that sort of thing. But it really seems like there’s certain people that are just, maybe not extroverts, but just naturally enjoy and take interest in other people. It’s just part of their personality.

Carlos:             Okay, Bill?

Bill:                  I’ve had a boss who, it was interesting because we were in an environment that usually was pretty stressful, lot of pressure. And a lot of times when he’d reach out to me, he would talk to me about something very personal, like, “how was your weekend” kind of drill in on how I was doing, as opposed to focusing on the work or tell some jokes, try to lighten it up a little bit. I appreciated that, that he cared more about my well-being, sometimes, than getting the work done, although he wanted to get the work done. But that kind of personal touch made it like he cared.

Carlos:             Okay, interesting. where I was going with this, and so Linda, let’s see if you agree with me, here. We talk about benefits, and both Eugene and Bill mentioned basically that idea of being listened to.

Linda:              Yeah.

Carlos:             And that one of the outcomes, or one of the ways that people describe those who are very socially intelligent is that they are well-listened to and that they feel a connection. They connect well with that person. You agree there?

Linda:              I absolutely agree. I think people with social intelligence have this awareness of the impact that their behaviors have on others and they’re aware of the emotional ripple or the emotional effect that what they say and do, how that is going to make other people feel. And that is kind of the heart of social intelligence is knowing that and then behaving in ways that help increase that connectivity. Like you said, it’s not always about getting the job done, because the job will get done, but how it gets done and how you motivate people and how you bring people onboard and establish trust is so critical and key in the workplace.

Carlos:             Sure. And so it’s ironic that we’re talking about this, because I feel like I just had a situation where– but so– maybe not the humble side of my nature, but I feel like I am pretty good at this, when I compare myself with other IT people, anyway. I had a situation today that I did not handle very well. I did not read the room, if you will, and I was focused a little bit more on the ‘getting things done’ than on the connecting piece. And so, I think it’s interesting that one, even though we might be good at it, it’s very situational, you know, depending on where we are in the moment. And that, two, it’s something that we will have to kind of self-evaluate from time to time. How are we doing there, and can we get better?

Linda:              Absolutely. You know, what you did there, Carlos, though, is you have this meta-cognitive ability to reflect, and that is something that people who really struggle with social intelligence, they don’t necessarily have that natural capacity to do. So as you said, everything ebbs and flows, so if you think you’re generally social intelligent, you know, all of us are not going to be at our A game every single moment of the day. We’re human beings, we all have to kind of deal with our emotions, deal with our feelings, whether they are extreme or not, so that’s part of being human. But having, then, the reflection piece to say, “huh, did I handle that situation in the very best way?” And then learning from it and just making the next time a little bit better. That’s a key part of self-growth and personal development, which is really big.

Carlos:             So then how can we get better at this?

Linda:              Oh my goodness, yes. The first thing in changing any behavior is awareness. So regardless of whatever type of behavior you’re identifying, you have to be aware. So, what I typically do with my clients is, our very first meeting is just a conversation about how they perceive themselves, what they perceive their difficulties to be, what their goals are and what areas they would like to improve and why, so, that’s the first key. And just the other piece about this awareness piece is somebody might think that they are self-aware, but if I’m only talking to them and I have no other context, I can just take their word for it and go from there. Instead what I really like to do is I actually like to get somebody else’s perspective on my clients, or whoever it is I’m talking to. So, I always request that my client give me permission to speak with someone either who they work with or someone who they know well, who could give a different viewpoint on my client’s skills and behaviors, and I think that’s important for anybody to do. So Carlos, if it’s you and you’re really thinking, “huh, did I do this the best that I can?” You can be self-reflective and think about it, but you could also go one step further and ask for honest, candid feedback from whoever was in that situation. And then that will give you a deeper appreciation and understanding from a variety of perspectives of how that situation actually played out and the impact of whatever you did and said on other people there.

Carlos:             Right. Now it’s interesting, you make the comment that, you know, so obviously you have clients, people are coming to you, they are looking for some change, or they have some goals in mind. I think we’ve all known the Mr-Know-It-Alls, who they just have the answers, and if you don’t agree with them, then, I think it’s a real challenge, the idea that we have to at least want to change, but that could be tricky when there’s a natural inclination for self-absorption.

Linda:              Yeah, so I think what you’re saying is some people do come to me because they are, they recognize that something needs to happen and they want to change. Other people come to me because they’ve been referred to me and maybe their managers have suggested that they come to me, or they’re mandated, say.

Carlos:             Yeah, that’s a little different scenario.

Linda:              Yeah, so sometimes when people come to me, though, they know they have to change. They might not really want to change, but there has been a big event that’s happened that is making them think, “oh my gosh, I can’t be behaving this way anymore.” So maybe their job is at stake, or even they might be getting fired, so there’s this impetus for them to figure it out. Because a lot of people are out there who, they’re going along in their lives and there’s not a real reason for them, because their job is fine, they might not want to get a promotion or go into any higher position at their job, so everything is status quo and fine. But it’s really that person who either has a goal and they’re not reaching their goal and they’re curious, “huh, maybe I need to increase my social emotional intelligence in order to do this.” Or somebody is saying, “your behaviors are impacting other people in such a way, including the team, the company, that you either need to get help, or you’re going to get fired.” So, kind of when the rubber meets the road, that kind of thing, that’s when people seek help. But to your point, previously, about some people being really, really inflexible and their ideas are the correct ideas and there’s very limited margin for other people’s input to matter, I’ll be honest, somebody who has a really cognitively inflexible way of thinking about other people and themselves, those people are hard to change. Behavior change is difficult, and it takes a real type of mindset, a growth mindset, in order to change, and it takes an openness and receptivity and a real reflection. You have to be a reflective, open person and some people don’t really start off that way. Other people can really, once they start seeing the benefits, then they might be able to shift their mindset a little bit from more of a fixed mindset to having more of a growth mindset.

Carlos:             So Bill, I want to bring you in here for a minute, as someone who has managed people in the past. Are there clues that a manager might be dropping without mandating, “hey, you gotta go talk to Linda”? Is there a language that a manager might use to help indicate that, “hey, maybe being a little bit more self-reflective would be a positive thing”?

Bill:                  I wish I had Linda as a resource, before, because I’d send people to her.

Carlos:             Yeah, what hints maybe have you dropped in the past to be like, “hey, dude, you need to increase your social intelligence”, without maybe coming out and saying that, or mandating it as part of a “if you don’t go meet with Linda, you’re going to get fired.” That’s like the very, very negative scenario.

Bill:                  I would just talk to people about behaviors and try not to use the word “you” when I’d address them, because I didn’t have a Linda to send people to. But I wanted them to be more socially cognizant. I would talk to them about their behaviors. I would just address, “when this happens, I’ve noticed a negative reaction from your team.” Not, “when you do this” but “when yelling occurs in the office, the team is not motivated.” I mean, that’s a very simple explanation, but I try to take that type of an approach help them actually see what are the consequences of some of their actions, and need for change.

Linda:              Can I ask if that was effective? Did you notice that that type of questioning did result in some changes?

Bill:                  It did when I was there. Whether it happened after I left, I think sometimes people aren’t aware. They find, “I’m this way and this is the way it is,” and sometimes unless they get that type of feedback, they don’t know that it’s negatively impacting those who report to them.

Linda:              Yeah, yeah, and in my experience, if I may just jump in quickly, sometimes all it takes is exactly what Bill said, is just bringing their attention to it and then you can see improvements and they might alter their behavior in a more permanent way, or they might start to be more reflective of it. But for other people, they might need more than just a little bit of feedback, and they actually might need more explicit descriptions of what’s happening and people being a little bit just more direct with them. That’s especially for people who are less socially aware, who are kind of maybe in their own little worlds just a little bit more. So, it all depends on that individual person, too, the degree of the level of directness you have to be with them.

Carlos:             So, how does culture play into this? Cause part of this, I feel like is some people act that way because that’s the way it’s always been done. So almost a cultural-type thing, or at least in certain scenarios. So, for example, let me pull a quick example from a work setting. Everyone’s client that they love to hate and then all of a sudden there’s some acceptability when either with using language or whatever it is towards that client because it’s become part of the culture, where normally that wouldn’t be allowed, if that makes sense. And so, not to say that we each aren’t responsible for being social intelligent, but is there an element of culture in with this as well?

Linda:              Absolutely, absolutely. Every work place has a culture, and whether it’s explicitly defined or not, it exists. Some cultures are more conscious about how they expect people to behave and what they want to see on a day to day basis. Other cultures, it’s not even talked about and therefore, there might be less consciousness and less reflection about how other people are treating others. It’s individual and culture, so if you have a new person coming into a workplace, it’s expected that they blend in and that they mold their behaviors in order to match the culture, and then they’re going to be thought of in a positive way, in general. That’s kind of the hidden expectations of any situation. Now, if the culture is one of negativity and, like you said, sort of people kind of talking around the water cooler and gossiping and you’re an individual and you don’t necessarily want to adapt to that culture, then that’s a personal choice that you have to make. Because in my mind, what being social also means, it’s having your sense of self and also knowing the “other”. The “other” being either the work culture or the social situation that you’re encountering, and it’s an integration of “self” and “other”. So, if you’re coming into this workplace with your own values and your values are not matching the workplace culture, then that’s really your decision whether that is a right fit for you. That’s kind of how I look at it. Whereas, a more conscious culture company that really thinks about their values and they reconsider their values along different steps and they like to have discussions and it’s more open, then maybe they would take other people’s individual viewpoints and integrate them more as well, rather than just saying, “this is the way it’s going to be.” It’s essentially the integration piece of individual “other” and ultimately it comes down to your values and what kind of workplace you want to work in.

Eugene:           A question that I have, something that’s been on my mind in the past, kind of in the notes for the show, there was a mention of the autism spectrum and that sort of thing. I guess a question that I would have is at what point does having an official diagnosis benefit the individual? Something I’ve always wondered is if I’m just barely on that spectrum, because there’s certain symptoms that I personally have, like I have trouble filtering out noise and sensory input and can have trouble with theory of mind, understanding what’s going on in another person’s head and that sort of thing. But at the same time, there’s stuff that I do decently well that doesn’t fit. So I’d like to think that I’m decent at empathizing, decent at making people laugh, a good performer, if nothing else. At what point does it make more sense just to be aware of the consequences of one’s challenges with social intelligence, irregardless of where that fits in, and at what point is it beneficial to say, “no, I’m on the spectrum and I have this condition” and how does that help? Does that make sense?

Linda:              Yeah, yeah, it does. Even for somebody who is diagnosed with autism, that doesn’t necessarily give them an excuse or right to behave in certain ways that make people feel uncomfortable. I do work with people how have diagnoses and whether you have a diagnosis or not, anyone has to be aware of their strengths and their areas of weakness and work toward growing those areas of weakness in order to function where they need to function, in order to meet their goals. So, I would say, the benefit of having a diagnosis is for somebody who really wants to identify with that disability and they want to have a community of like-minded people. I think that would be a huge benefit. So this is disability pride and having a support system. I think that’s huge. I also think if you do have a diagnosed disability, you can request certain accommodations, which then your employer has to then comply with, but you have to get that diagnosis first, and you have to disclose that disability to certain people who you work for. Other than that, autism and Asperger’s, which is no longer diagnosed now, even ADD, social anxiety, ADHD, there are so many different diagnoses out there, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. So, it’s really knowing that and focusing on that and how can you use your strengths to your benefit and then how can you really work either individually or take online classes, or with a coach or with somebody at work, like your manager, to overcome some challenges? Everyone’s brains work differently. If you have one person with ADD and you see another person, they’re going to look entirely different, so everything is so individualized. In my job, as a coach, is to just think about and identify the goals that my clients have and how they’re going to reach them by going through the process of introducing new cognitive skills, having them increase their emotional awareness and intelligence, and deconstruct those specific situations that are challenging for them.

Eugene:           Yeah, that makes sense.

Carlos:             To help this be a little bit more tangible, what would be some common goals or some common reasons why someone may want to sit down with someone like you and what are they trying to achieve?

Linda:              Yeah. So, I was working with somebody who had some degree of social anxiety and they had goals of participating at their team meetings. They weren’t participating at all, and that was impacting their performance reviews and they weren’t getting promoted. So, that was a very concrete goal, so that’s one example. Another example might be say a start-up founder who wants to actually attract people to work with him and be on his team, so how is he going to first find certain people that he wants to work with, communicate effectively to them about his vision and what he wants to achieve, and then decide and pick and choose those people who align with his own values and who he wants to then establish a relationship with? That’s just one other example. Active listening is another goal that I often have for some of my clients, so how are they actually taking in information from other people? Are they more of a dominating part of the dynamic in any sort of communicative situation, or do they have those active listening skills?

Carlos:             Yeah, which is a skill in and of itself.

Linda:              It sure is. It definitely is. For somebody who has difficulty with emotional management, so they get really highly frustrated in situations, just either being aware of their emotions in the moment and then putting forth some strategies to handle themselves emotionally in order to then not have an emotional blowup if something small happens. So being aware of that, that would also be a good emotional intelligence goal that I’ve seen and I’ve done and worked with people on.

Carlos:             What’s the difference between trying to improve your social intelligence and counseling?

Linda:              That’s a really good question, and I think there’s definitely some overlap and I have to say, in an ideal situation, somebody who I’m working with might be working with both me and a counselor. It depends on their goals and it depends on exactly what’s going on, because I don’t go too, too deep into the psychology of why you’re doing what you’re doing. I go into finding out about what your goals are and who you are and what makes you authentically you and then what situations do you want to integrate and how can you integrate better? What skills do you need in order to be successful? So, I don’t look at that deeper psychological childhood traumas or anything like that, and I would highly recommend that if somebody thinks that that is something that is an issue for them or coming up for them, that they seek out either both supports or one or the other. It all depends on what’s going to serve them the best.

Eugene:           I really enjoyed the framework that you started out with at the beginning. A lot of it being about awareness, because one of the things that I find frustrating, you kind of talked about this, is that there’s this expectation for people to be able to intuit the right answer, and it’s very, very difficult to figure out a path to getting to good intuition. But it’s much easier to see a path to having more awareness, so that’s seems more tractable of a problem.

Linda:              Yep, definitely. And the good thing about awareness is, if you don’t have a lot of it, you can ask other people for their awareness and then consider what they’re seeing and what they’re perceiving things to be and then that can help you form and cultivate your own awareness, too.

Bill:                  I know a lot of times people get promoted because they do a great job, and then they become responsible for other people. I think for some, they’re like, “I got a promotion, which is fantastic, and now I need to be more socially aware.” Do you have any advice for that person that gets that promotion and then is put in that position?

Linda:              Yeah, this is a big one. This absolutely is a big one, and I think the first part, which has kind of been the theme of this whole talk is their own awareness of what kind of help and supports that they’re going to need, because there is absolutely a big difference between being able to do a job and then being able to manage people. Daniel Goldman, who is the author of a lot of different social and emotional books, he talks about two different competencies. He talks about distinguishing competencies and threshold competencies. Threshold competencies are those skills that just get you in the door, like your knowledge, maybe your college degree, so why you got promoted to a managerial position is because you have such great threshold competencies. But then once you’re in that position, you’re going to need those distinguishing competencies, which involve aspects of social intelligence and that includes being adaptable, taking perspective, being self-aware, being emotionally aware. I think it’s, for somebody who’s moving up to that level, taking an inventory of what will be ultimately required in order for them to be successful there, and gauging, “huh, where am I weak? What are my strengths?” and then getting support along the way.

Bill:                  That’s great. Yeah, thank you.

Linda:              You’re welcome.

Carlos:             There you go. So Linda, are you accepting clients? I know you’re in the Bay Area, do you accept remote clients? So, if somebody in Virginia wanted to reach out, how could they connect with you?

Linda:              Yes, absolutely. I am in the Bay Area, but a lot of my clients actually see via video conferencing. It all depends on the situation. Some people it is better to see them face-to-face, others, it takes conversations and working with a team, including possibly their managers. But people are welcome to just send me an email directly at [email protected] and if people would like to just get more informed, they can send me an email just requesting more information. If people would like to email me with some specific questions, I’d be happy to answer any questions. I also offer a complementary session for anyone who is curious about how my work might fit in with their needs, so that’s a third way. If you want to just send me an email at [email protected], I’m happy to talk to anybody.

Carlos:             Awesome. So should we go ahead and do SQL Family?

Linda:              Sure, yeah.

Carlos:             Okay, here we go. So, your all-time favorite movie?

Linda:              Okay, it’s When Harry Met Sally.

Carlos:             Oh, there we go, that’s showing a high level of social intelligence?

Linda:              Well, I don’t know, I’ve been told I act like Sally every now and then. Maybe that’s why I love it so much, but no, it’s just an adorable love story.

Carlos:             Very nice. So, the city or place you most want to visit?

Linda:              I really just want to go to French Polynesia and be on the beach far away from everybody.

Carlos:             There you go. Very nice, have you been out there?

Linda:              I have not, I have not.

Carlos:             So, I guess when I think about beaches of the world, I don’t know that French Polynesia jumps up at me as being one of the typical spots. I guess, what’s the backstory there?

Linda:              You know, I think it came down to my fifth grade Bora Bora project. Mr, what was his name, Mr Orzack. Oh my goodness. It was one of those projects where I made Polynesian meatballs and did this whole project, and you know, it speaks to that sort of project-based learning and what resonates still with me years and years after.

Carlos:             Right, right. Okay, very nice, that’s good. So, a food that reminds you of your childhood?

Linda:              My dad used to eat All Bran and then my mom used to make muffins out of that cereal.

Carlos:             You didn’t call it refrigerator muffins, did you?

Linda:              No, no. All Bran muffins, so that definitely reminds me of my childhood.

Carlos:             There you go, very nice. Now, is that still something that you reach out to your folks on or like, “hey, let’s make some All Bran muffins”?

Linda:              You know, this question is now making me think that I’m just going to Safeway after this and go buy me a box of All Bran and make some muffins, so yeah.

Carlos:             And whip them up, that’s right. We have the weather for it now, right?

Linda:              Yes, yes.

Carlos:             Okay, so as someone who’s outside of SQL Server, we will skip those technical questions for you. But one that I’m very interested to hear about is the best piece of career advice you have received?

Linda:              Since I’ve started my business, one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve had is to always keep the purpose of my work as a focus and a motivator for absolutely everything that I do, every single day. So, whether it’s sending follow-up emails or planning for the week ahead or even meeting with my accountant, I consciously think about the big picture and how ultimately all of these little tasks and pieces allow me to ultimately help and serve the people who I work with. So, that’s the best piece of advice, to always keep my passion and my purpose of my work at the forefront of everything that I do, whether or not it’s directly related to my clients. Because ultimately it all contributes to me being able to do what I love, which is helping people on their journey of self-awareness and self-discovery and self-improvement.

Carlos:             Very cool. Yeah, I mean, it resonates with me, with this idea of as we interact with people, thinking about our goals

Linda:              Yeah, yeah.

Carlos:             And being more conscientious about those interactions.

Linda:              Yeah, we have to do so many different things throughout our day and putting this love into it and this purposefulness into even the small things really does make a difference.

Carlos:             Our last question for you today, Linda, if you could have one superhero power what would it be and why do you want it?

Linda:              This is such a good question, and if I answer it, will it come true?

Carlos:             Yes, that’s why Eugene is on the program. That’s his area of expertise.

Linda:              Yeah, okay, alright, so it’s going to happen. No. I would love the ability to just stop time.

Carlos:             Oh.

Linda:              Yeah, I would love the ability to be able to feel like I get more things accomplished, or spend a whole week just reading something that I ha– my pile of novels I haven’t gotten to and then when I travel to the East Coast, time could be wasted, so there are so many different benefits for this ability to stop time, so maybe someday it’ll happen.

Carlos:             There you go. Well, Linda, thanks so much for being on the program today.

Linda:              Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed this conversation.

Carlos:             As did I. And thanks, Bill, Eugene as well.

Eugene:           Pleasure.

Bill:                  Thanks.


Carlos:             So thanks, Linda, again for coming and chatting with us and of course, Eugene and Bill joining our conversation today. Always grateful for those who are chatting with us and of course you compañeros who are listening. So, one of the takeaways that I had from this is that it’s something that we should review or consider. A lot of times we tend to think about our knowledge as a, “I have gotten to this point”, but I think this is one of those areas where you can either be going forward, or be slipping back a little bit, depending on the things that you’re doing.

Bill:                  One of my takeaways for me with Linda is understanding that there are coaches, there are talented folks like Linda out there that are willing to work with us. We’re struggling with in some of the areas, connecting with folks or struggling as a new manager, connecting with our direct reports. It’s interesting to me that we have coaches available to us, to help us improve and help us understand simple ways that we can make some changes and be better and connect better with others.

Carlos:             Right. Yeah, I thought it was interesting that Eugene brought up a bit of the autism spectrum, because you know the reality is, we’re all different in our own way. Obviously, I’m not trying to make light of anything, but there’s always somebody who’s going to think that we’re the odd duck. But we are in a scenario where a lot of us can be on that spectrum, and just thinking about how to navigate that and make others aware and particularly in a work setting, it can get complicated really fast, and so I think that just knowing about this, thinking about it, talking about it with your manager, is probably a good first step, there.

Okay, well, that’s going to do it for this episode. Compañeros, thanks again for tuning in, wherever you might be. We do appreciate it. Our music for SQL Server in the News is by Mansardian, used under Creative Commons. As always, we are interested in hearing from you about some of the things that you’d like us to talk about. We did get a couple of good comments. So one, for example, being Trent Adams. Trent you’ll forgive me for not getting you into my shout-out section. But he wants to talk about Always On in Azure Data Sync. So that is on our list, and that will be coming up. Obviously, you can leave a comment on the website, or you can connect with us on social media.

Angela:           You can get me on Twitter, you can hit me up there. I’m @sqlswimmer there, or you can get me on LinkedIn. I’m AngelaHenryDBA.

Bill:                  Great, and you can connect with me on Twitter @bill_lund or on LinkedIn at BillLund.

Carlos:             And compañeros, I’m on LinkedIn at CarlosLChacon, and we’ll see you on the SQL Trail.


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