“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity” – Dale Carnegie
Rajiv, a highly qualified and experienced software developer, had been a star contributor in various projects. He had received all recognition and praised for his efforts and hard-work, and had been part of many key assignments. He grew fast and along with the grades, the feeling that he had to be the part of all decisions taken in the organization.
1 year later…Ripples….
Rajiv started observing that he stopped getting attention and importance, which he used to get. He was often getting by-passed, and his team-members were getting consulted directly. Slowly ‘insecurity’ started obsessing him, and once humble, was not willing to share any glory with anybody. Desire to take full credit for accomplishments; he thought would fast-track his personal success & career. In place of praising the efforts and contribution, he started blowing up the issues and exposing the members.
Came down the other project, which was the biggest and the most important of all till date in the organization. Rajiv expected him as natural choice considering his loyalty, experience and track-record of success. Management hired Nasima to lead the project.
Unable to digest, Rajiv started prophesying how the other project would fail and would be a disaster. His entire focus shifted on monitoring the other project and started gossiping around the issues which Nasima and the project team were going through. He started ‘seeding’ the venom in the minds of those, whom he knew would go and talk about with her boss and management. He would often find opportunities over lunch, smoke or tea and talk to the key members and subtly provoke the negative emotions.
Management while doing his review, figured out that he was seriously lagging behind the project deadlines and many of his team-members had resigned. He got angry when touched on the core-issues and outburst his emotions, highlighting the complexity of the project and the execution challenges he was facing. The passion, now his ego, failed to see the issues and he had all the reasons outside to blame upon.
Once full of enthusiasm to go and blast in workplace, Rajiv was now struggling to figure out one simple reason to go to office. The team-members who needed help & directions were getting ignored, and asked to come later, when he was ‘free’. High aspirations were getting replaced by laziness and, spending late evenings with other similar ‘affected’ souls in the office. Reaching home late in the night, missing dinners, card & EMI payments, was now a regular habit, and Veena, his wife had all reasons to debate, when he was back.
6 more months later….
Rajiv was out, searching another job, while Nasima was rated as the best Manager of the year.
While most of us in our career shares the common objectives, getting to the next grades, better salaries and benefits, and more powerful positions, which satisfies most of our emotional needs, we tend to forget that we are nothing but creatures full of emotions.
The root of negative workplace politics is “Emotional Instability”
Let’s start understanding…. What happened with Rajiv and his reaction was nothing but expressions of negative human emotions – Pride, Envy, Anger, Greed, Sloth, Gluttony and Lust.
Most of us are trained through school and society to work at grades, desires for survival, promotion and material success, and we don’t allow selves to operate at a deeper level. We are NOT trained to handle ours and others’ emotions. We are asked only to believe and trust what is tangible and logical. The term “emotional” means weak, childish and if we have to grow in the Corporate world, we must keep these emotions aside and be ‘head-smart’ not the ‘heart-smart’.
What is Emotional Stability?
If Rajiv was trained to understand & handle his emotions, he, with higher Emotional Intelligence (EI), probably would not have acted as “victim” of corporate (workplace) politics.
People with higher Emotional Intelligence are always in control
Rajiv would have assessed the new reality and, with better control on his emotions and reactions, adapted quickly to his advantage. His entire focus would be on leading from the front, ensuring the team is motivated and also getting necessary share in the glory. Amidst all challenges, he would be standing in front of his team, taking entire responsibility and assuring management of recovery in the shortest time-frame.
He was in control…..A fine example of emotional intelligence at workplace
Though it was obvious for him to have hidden desire & expectations that management would pick him to lead the next project, but he kept this secret to himself. Rather, he took one step further, by offering help to Nasima, as she was new to the organization. He started working harder on his project and also started beating deadlines. He started raising the bar of standards to the level that all other projects, including Nasima’s were measured against his.
He was in control… another fine example of emotional intelligence at workplace
During all reviews with Management, though many times he was cornered on various execution issues and he was not in agreement on many points, he controlled his reactions. He would show all his passion and commitment, he had for the project, job and the organization. He knew those prone to angry outbursts rarely see growth; they are poor leaders, who can at the best threaten people, never inspire.
He was in control… yet another fine example of emotional intelligence at workplace
He took inspiration from his past achievements and successes but knew that complacency and laziness had no place in his high aspirations. For him competition with others was fueling his fire to perform better to consolidate and further. He was aware of some playing manipulative games, and they seemed to be growing but he knew these folks with “more but sooner” were not ready to handle next-level challenges.
While he was handling tough situation at office, he was also able to balance between the work-pressure and expectations at home. Veena was more than glad to share many of his responsibilities.
So, in nut-shell, Rajiv, who was trained to handle emotions, was always in control, ‘present’ in the office and at home. He was in much better position to not only avoid negative workplace politics, but build strong relationships, succeed at work and, happiness & harmony at home.
What is Emotional Intelligence/Quotient?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive and constructive ways. It’s about recognizing our own emotional state and the emotional states of others. Not to mention, through proper coaching and training, EI can be improved
Emotional Intelligence consists of four core abilities:
1. Self awareness
The ability to recognize own emotions and how they affect thoughts and behavior, know strengths and weaknesses.
2. Self management
The ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage emotions in healthy ways and adapt to changing circumstances.
3. Social awareness
The ability to understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
4. Relationship management
The ability to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.
Is Emotional Intelligence real or an illusion?
To be successful, it is important to understand Emotional Intelligence, especially Emotional Intelligence at workplace
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ”
Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) determines how successful we are than our Intellectual Intelligence (IQ). We all know people who are academically brilliant but lack social-skills are unsuccessful. What they are missing is emotional intelligence.
The statistics proves that extremist approach towards work and career, and misplaced professional desires is a recipe for overall failure. David Goleman’s research with leading Corporates found that fundamental elements of Emotional Intelligence such as: self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, support the skills that account for 76% of the effectiveness of leading managers. A study of Pepsi Co executives with high Emotional Intelligence outperformed peers by ~ 35%.
The world leading Management schools and corporate are now giving due importance to Emotional Importance at workplace and Spirituality at workplaces. It’s recognized as one key skill which needs serious attention & implementation across the organization.
Can I improve my Emotional Intelligence? How?
Answer is YES, YES, YES. Emotional intelligence is not learned in the standard intellectual way. It’s not possible to read books on Emotional Intelligence and understand unless we are ready to work at emotional levels and willing to connect with our own selves and with the others at those levels. There are Life Empowerment Coaches who specialize in assisting people to grow and achieve emotional stability and higher EI.
We will continue in the Part2 , get into more details, with a systematic & “aware” approach to handle emotions in productive manners, and how ultimately better Emotional Intelligence creates the strong foundation to build values to lead more meaningful lives.