|Leaderskill Group has a history in Australia and several other countries of teaching communication skills to managers. These courses amounted to getting managers to identify their own feelings, pick up on the feelings of others, learn a constructive, non-aggressive way of expressing them, defining the issues that come up in terms of their own needs vs the needs of others, and getting a Win-Win outcome. The workshops were transformational for many. How do you know? On Day three, you could hear managers communicate differently - it had become natural to them. On follow-ups they told of their successes with their teams, their colleagues, their customers - even with their bosses! Oh yes, and even with their children! Now that's evidence enough!
Funny things happened along the way - like the manager who, in total frustration, yelled out to the group in the workshop "What's so important about feelings, anyway!" Many found it hard to make the change, but all of them did - perhaps not always to the same degree.
Then along came Emotional Intelligence. Goleman popularised it, some organisations ran programs to raise EI or to measure EQ, and everyone had some idea about what it was. And yet, still you could find (and can still find) many people who doubted whether EI even existed!
One thing that seems likely is that if anyone doubts the existence of EI, they are probably low EQ - in fact that would be a fair rule of thumb. Why? Well, anyone with a reasonable level of EQ knows very well that there a lots of people around who don't respond well in a world of feelings and emotions. These don't notice emotions, they don't express them constructively, and they don't deal with them well.
But emotions are around, always have been. Our close mammalian relatives have them, and in humans they have been shown to correlate quite well with success. Why so? Well, those with a reasonable EQ can read others much better and make themselves understood better. That increases their chances all round - unless they're a hermit (some managers are, you may have noticed, they don't have to put a sign on their door - they just keep it closed).
[Which reminds me of the woman whose manager walked by and made his usual comment "Remember, my door is always open" to which she replied in a low voice "And your mind is always closed". Oh how we shut out the uncomfortable wisdom!]
Next time: how EI shows up in the Leader/Manager Model and tells you what you can do.
Labels: Communication, Culture, Emotional Intelligence