4/15/2013 0 Comments
Flying the Flag for Ei
Emotional Intelligence a pair of words that generate powerful responses from the whole spectrum of managers and employees ranging from ‘what is it?’ to ‘yes but can they do the job’ and lots of opinion in between. I am a big fan of the use of EI exploration in particular in coaching, staff development and in some instances as part of a recruitment process.
Since 1985 when the splendidly named Wayne Pain introduced the term in his doctoral dissertation the interest in and amount written about EI has gone through the roof. Focusing on and testing something other than pure intelligence (IQ) or learned or innate skills has opened up a whole new field of personal development and management development which I am fascinated by.
The splendid broad brush stroke definition from Jo Maddocks of Cheltenham based JCA Limited gets you interested immediately “EI is the practice of thinking about feeling and feeling about thinking when choosing what to do.” How wonderful is that! We are talking about actually taking the time and trouble to consider feelings in your decision making process; how you feel, how others might feel and what the consequences of your decision might be for yourself and others....
What intrigues me is the tension that this might create in a world where profit and compliance are kings; doing things to make money and to adhere to the current industry rules are part of what the business world is today but what introducing EI into the mix does is put the human element, the interactions and relationships that glue together organisations and define brand and working environment, back on the agenda.
The film As Good As Its Gets has a profoundly touching moment when Jack Nicholson (Melvin Udall) tells Helen Hunt (Carol Connelly) ‘You make me want to be a better man’ and that for me sums up how EI can work. Excusing boorish, aggressive and damaging behaviour because of the need for results, the consequence of pressure or that it is ‘just the way he/she is’; is for me a pretty mediaeval way of going about managing and understanding people interactions.
I am not commercially naive, I have been running my own company for 6 years; and I do genuinely feel that managers that have an awareness of their EI profile and who are conscious of what they need to do better and who are trying to be ‘better people’ will ultimately get more from the relationships and staff resource than those who just use metrics and consequences. But it can be a tough pitch to deaf ears...
The balance between Regard For Self and Regard For Others is a central theme in EI exploration and achieving a conscious attempt to balance and understand the two is central to moving forwards. What is great about EI is that unlike IQ which is broadly fixed after a certain age is that with thought and a conscious awareness it is something you can work on, develop and improve and that is powerful stuff.
As a tool in career coaching, management and leadership development, EI has been and continues for me to be a window into another sort of conversation and awareness that reconnects people with what perhaps we have gradually forgotten about which is that people can be fantastically generous, warm and understanding to each other and when that happens teams work better.
The commonly seen comments in Exit Interview answers or maybe in interview answers to the question ‘why are you looking to change jobs’ often orientate towards relationships with colleagues / managers, the way organisations treat people and the sense of not feeling valued. Under performance, dissatisfaction and turnover all cost money, so for even in the most bottom line orientated business / industry it really is worth looking at EI as a positive tool for change.
The people element of manager / leader / staff relationships still remains key and I am sure EI awareness is the bridge to help us to reconnect with how being a ‘better’ person can often have positive business consequences and make life so much more enjoyable even under pressure.
BPS Level B+ / ETUC
AGR / MIPR
Managing Director - Consortio
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AGR MIPR BPS Lvl B+
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