I thoroughly enjoy going into organizations and targeting the growth edges that we identify after our initial consultation meetings. However, there are also some tough experiences that I have witnessed over the years due to the sheer importance of how leaders choose to handle their most important resource…their people.
Leadership in the Workplace
The young lady recounted her story to me through tears and more than a little frustration. She had just been through the worst performance review of her life and the outcome was surely going to lead to tension and bitterness in the workplace. There had been no indicators that things were going wrong or that there was a need to implement any interventions due to performance because there were no three month, or six month reviews in place to help the employee understand her performance on a continual basis. This was the most devastating part because the review was seen as a blind side hit when it came out of nowhere from the follower’s perspective.
After suggesting to the employee to engage in a reset and allow this to be a learning experience while improving through the process, it was time to evaluate what could have been done differently. In my estimation all of this could have been avoided with just a little bit of emotional intelligence (EQ). Goleman suggests that emotional intelligence consists of, (a) Self-Awareness, (b) self-regulation, (c) motivation, (d) empathy, (e) and social-skill. These components provide a leader with a set of intangible tools that can be called upon in any situation which affords them with the opportunity to navigate the most perilous situations that occur personally or professionally in organizations. Sure, a leader must still possess key components of what other leaders have, intelligence, vision, determination, etc., but emotional intelligence raises the bar when it comes to being fully present and aware in order to help move an organization forward.
Empathy and Leadership
In the interest of brevity for this article, let me share with you how vitally important the empathy component of EQ would have been to the young lady’s situation. If the leader was fully aware of how challenging the evaluation was going to be for the follower due to performance, they could have engaged supervisory meetings along the way to head-off any misunderstandings with the employee or they could have suggested mini-evaluation interventions in order to prepare the employee for tough conversations that were going to be held. The point is that when a leader is empathetic from a EQ standpoint, they will not simply make unilateral decisions that will cause harm, if it can be avoided as they lead. We all can learn from what occurred and be mindful of both our professional and personal interactions as we lead, interact and develop others.
If you have not already, please stop by and leave a comment or post on my Facebook Page and share why you think EQ is a much-needed resource for leaders…or why not?