Over the past two decades, we have seen our HR roles change from being primarily administrative to making strategic decisions regarding our company’s future direction. A key component of this new role is identifying and strategically aligning our talent. The importance of this responsibility cannot be stressed enough, but how do we go about finding the right people?
In the past, new hires and promotions were based on technical ability or the candidate’s education and experience. If someone had the needed skills and experience, it was assumed that they would make good leaders and be able to pass their knowledge along to others. Sometimes that held true, but we all know that it is possible for an employee to have the necessary degrees, be an absolute wiz at his job and still “be a cancer within the company.”
Let’s talk about Carl. Carl is a fantastic intelligence émotionnelle employee. His numbers are always at the top of the list. He’s worked for you for years. He never takes a sick day and is never late. He often works late into the night just to get things done. Carl is dedicated and driven. However, Carl is a hard charger, and no one can stand to be around him.
Carl is not going to win any popularity contests. No one goes to lunch with Carl. His management style is one of intimidation and insult. He is arrogant and abusive. He browbeats those who work under him. It seems that Carl does not know how to get his message across without an insult. He holds himself to a high standard, and he cannot fathom those who do not hold themselves to the same standard.
He does not understand that he is part of the problem. When people are assigned to Carl’s team, their numbers inevitably go down. Carl turns a good employee with good productivity into someone who no longer wants to come to work. Carl is a poison, but what do you do about Carl?
How did Carl rise through the ranks of your company if he is such a poor leader and communicator? That is easy. He was very good at his job. Many companies promote based on performance with little regard to the soft skills that make someone a stronger leader. In fact, Carl’s poor habits have been reinforced. After all, he keeps being promoted. He must be doing everything right.
When results are all that matter, you get results oriented employees whose methods may not be sustainable or scalable. In the 1990’s, Dr. Daniel Goleman introduced a new way of predicting success. Rather than focus on technical ability or IQ, as the sole predictor of success, he advocates focusing on Emotional Intelligence (EI).
Emotional Intelligence focuses on four key factors that successful leaders must have: Perceiving Emotions, Emotional Reasoning, Understanding Emotions, and Managing Emotions.
Perceiving Emotions– This is one’s ability to recognize emotions in others. It involves reading others and understanding their verbal and nonverbal cues.
Reasoning with Emotions– This factor involves one’s ability to choose what to pay attention to and what to ignore.
Understanding Emotions– This involves understanding what drives an emotional response in others, as well as yourself. What makes people tick?
Managing Emotions– This may be the most important aspect of Emotional Intelligence. It involves using emotions in yourself and others to attain the desired goal. People are emotional creatures. Knowing how to use those emotions to achieve positive results is a large part of being a successful leader.