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Emotional Intelligence and Engagement - Great People Join Great Companies but Leave Bad Managers

Posted on the 22 November 2012 by Onetest @onetest_hr

 

Emotional Intelligence and Engagement - Great people join great companies but leave bad managers

 

In this time of global uncertainty, companies are told to ‘do more with less’. Organisations need to be more efficient, need to be more innovative and need to constantly stay abreast of the technology revolution in order to survive, and to thrive. In order to do this, organisations need to look at their people and talent strategy – how do they engage and develop their talent in order to address future business challenges? How do they provide the answers to questions that have not yet been asked?

Leadership – Buy vs Build

The Buy vs Build talent strategy is one that continues to be very relevant today. Using social media, offering innovative benefits to attract talent is one way to ensure they stay ahead of the game. But getting talent to stay, building talent from within is another matter altogether. Good leadership makes a huge difference in not only talent retention but in overall company performance. Companies typically promote employees to management because they are high performers, but the skills that make a high performer are not the same skills that make good leaders. Being a high performer is important for promotion. Being a successful leader requires people skills to inspire, motivate and manage others effectively. Truly effective leaders can create a better work environment, and have higher productivity and greater retention. There are a number of characteristics that make up the fabric of truly effective leaders, but it does seem to start with having a high emotional intelligence.

The body of global research proves that when higher levels of EI are present—in leaders, sales people, customer service reps, or just about any role within an organisation that involves interaction with other people—greater individual effectiveness results. Sales people with higher levels of EI drive more sales than those with lower levels of EI; leaders with higher levels of EI are better at creating the conditions where motivation, inspiration, and innovation can flourish. They develop cultures where people naturally work and communicate better with each other. In other words, interpersonal conflict is either low or non-existent. They are resilient, emotionally intelligent people able to absorb complex change and help others move forward to achieve success.

The Impact of Emotional Intelligence

And yet, in spite of the research, powerful stories, and passionate proposals, at times there is still resistance to EI. In business conversations—with heads of HR or L&D and with business leaders themselves, words used to describe EI still include ‘discretionary’, ‘soft’, ‘new age’ ‘touchy feely’ or ‘fluffy’. Often, these comments come from individuals in organisations who are probably in the greatest need of EI development, and bear the greatest competitive risks from ignoring it. These organisations include those that sit industries where rational, technical and logical thinking skills are developed, rewarded and celebrated, and inter and intra-personal effectiveness are relegated to the ‘nice to have’ column.

But what is the impact of not developing the ‘touchy feely’ side of managers? What is the real cost? The result is often lower levels of employee engagement, increased interpersonal conflict, reduced freedom of innovation and communication, and turnover of top talent. This can lead to disruption at all levels of the organisation, with customers, shareholders and employee branding.

Yes, increasing the engagement and commitment of employees does require a significant investment of time and money... but what is the cost of doing nothing? The lost opportunity cost?

Keeping Your People Engaged

Talented prospective employees won’t join an organisation unless it has a reputation of being a great place to work, an “employer of choice”. Some organisations attempt to increase engagement by buying it. That is, they offer above industry standard compensation and benefits, share options, child care facilities etc. These things can increase engagement to some degree, but it is the relationship the employee has with their immediate manager that matters most. And this is about managers having the emotional intelligence to understand the impact they are having on employee engagement.

When you think about it, almost everyone starts out as an engaged employee. When they turn up to their new job on day one they are excited about getting the job and want to make a contribution. What managers and leaders do from that day onward will determine whether the employee continues to be engaged or switches off and becomes not engaged or actively disengaged.

So while it may take some time and investment to develop the EI of your leaders, the real question is can you afford not to develop it?

 


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