For many entrepreneurs and executives, emotions don’t have a place at work. I have met and worked for many senior managers who expect employees to show up in uniform, ready to play, with their game face on. I have also been that manager at times—the one with his own problems who just wishes everyone would do their jobs without complaint and let me do mine.
If only people-management were that simple! In fact, emotions rule in the workplace, whether you want to admit it or not. You think the fight your top tech expert had last night with her husband doesn’t affect you? That you can turn your back when one of your salespeople tells you he’s being ridden so hard by his sales manager that he can’t focus? That it’s not your problem when a customer made your customer service manager break into tears?
I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the impact of emotions at work as I go through the process of becoming certified as an Emotional Intelligence coach. There are a variety of emotional intelligence skills noted by Genos America, an expert in the field. They are emotional self-awareness, emotional expression, emotional awareness of others, emotional reasoning, emotional self-management, emotional management of others, and emotional self-control.
The other day I was working with a client on emotional awareness of others–the skill of perceiving and understanding others’ emotions. After taking a self-assessment and having several people from her organization take the assessment to score her, she found that while her self-score was high, the score given to her by her raters was quite low. The ratings were based on how frequently she identifies the way people feel about issues at work, understands what causes people to feel specific emotions, and demonstrates an understanding of others’ feelings at work.
She said something interesting when reflecting on her results. “I care really deeply about my people, but I guess I don’t always show it.” Wow, you don’t hear management types show that degree of self-assessment very often! She’s now doing a fieldwork assignment to think about a situation where emotional awareness was important to a business outcome, what she could have done better, actions she can take to develop her skill and how she’ll be able to measure her progress.
Have you had an interesting Emotional Intelligence experience in the workplace? Let me know.
MSPmentor contributing blogger Mitch York coaches executives who are evolving into entrepreneurs. He is a veteran of high-tech media and an entrepreneur himself. Find York — and his personal blog — at www.e2ecoaching.com.
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