Thursday, January 06, 2005

Business Emotional Intelligence

While burrowing through the stack on my desk to glean a few nuggets of biz-wiz-dumb I came across a thought from Judith Anderson of Anderson & Rust Consultants that said that (in a business context), “When upset emotions surface, nothing of meaning will be accomplished until they are effectively addressed.” At first look that makes sense, but after a bit of thinking about it I end up having to disagree.

Many things get done while there is emotional tension in the air. In business departments, projects, teams, and other groups of people still have to deliver for their customers no matter what the emotional condition of the workplace is.

It does make sense that these undercurrents get addressed openly and fairly for all concerned. In fact Ms. Anderson says that when these issues are resolved we all work together better and more productively because we can all focus on the goals we have before us instead of the emotions that keep us apart. I can agree with that, but what is the reality of everyone in a group, department, project team or other combination of people can really check all their egos and emotions at the door? And how well are we and our managers trained to deal with emotions? How much time and how often would emotions need to be addressed and resolved to keep us focused on our goals and not ourselves? Human nature says that it would be often. Business says that would be costly. A nice goal but a reach for reality

Ms. Anderson tiptoes around the spiritual aspects of people by stating that, ‘there is an essential, authentic essence within each individual which is beyond what we do or say or think or feel….” She is right, but the only way we rein in that ‘essence’ is with the help of God and the Holy Spirit. It is a lifetime battle to overcome ourselves and let the love of others shine through as Christ was the example of.

During this view of nirvana I also found a nugget much closer to reality by Daniel Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence” that follows a common thread saying, “The rules for work are changing. We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also how well we handle ourselves and each other.” (Underline added)

This is true in all aspects of business. We are being measured today on how well we handle ourselves and how well we can be part of teams and projects. How well to we control our own emotions? Is our ego in or out of control?

Are you arrogant or confident? I used to say that the dividing line between arrogant and confident is delivery. That is still true, but confident delivery with humility is needed today. Otherwise you can be seen as arrogant and immediately become an outsider, someone no team wants and no one a company can keep in the long term.

Leadership with humility is real leadership. That does not mean that you don’t make the tough decisions when they are needed and you are called on to do so. It does mean that you listen to good counsel and assess your own intent before you make that decision.

Now, we’re living the dream.

4 Comments:

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