Something that has become a concern to my heart lately is the amount of people I encounter that when they open up, tell me about their issues at work with others who in their roles as leaders are displaying damaging characteristics towards those they are meant to lead.
It led me to ponder on the basics of what makes a good Leader/Manager. Something I have seen I am definitely not the only one pondering about, based on the numerous pictures and posts I see doing the rounds on social media.
The norm now days seems to be to place people in Management / Leadership positions based solely on their educational merits and achievements. This is unfortunately leading to a trend that is showing to be very damaging. I am not saying people with these high IQ abilities in their field are not great candidates for Management positions, however not all are equal in their EQ abilities. The merits of someone with a higher EQ (Emotional Intelligence for those who have not come across the phrase before) have been placed on the back burner by some companies. Now please bear in mind that I am not a Psychologist / Psychiatrist, just an observer and listener that has seen the damage this is doing through my encounters with others.
The problem I feel with basing an applicants suitability for a position in Management solely on their Resume’ and Educational qualifications, without testing their EQ abilities is that we now have individuals, who although they know the job, cannot relate to and encourage the best out of those that they are leading.
It is inevitable that at some point we will all miss the bar on certain projects, we are human and perfection is a myth that no one will ever achieve. We can strive to attain it but we will fail. You can argue this point but let’s be honest, what’s perfection for one is imperfect to another. The problem in an environment where the person “in charge” has a lower EQ is that the immediate response to their “subordinates” failure is to shout, curse and belittle that individuals abilities, sometimes going as far as belittling the individual themselves. Some times even when a job has been done well, the constant shouting is not even soothed over with the odd compliment of a job well done. This leads to damage to self-esteem, depression and oft times breeds an environment where anger and resentment builds. The impact of this is that the person being belittled lands up having no desire to work or do their best, as no matter how hard they try, their efforts go unnoticed.
We can sit and say ‘Oh, people should just learn to deal’, or ‘They should just shrug it off and not take it so personally’. Life is already riddled with stress from every angle. Work deadlines, personal relationships, financial strain and oft times traumas we keep to ourselves. We spend so much of our time at work that juggling everything else in the few precious hours of free time we have makes dealing with the added strain of a work environment that drains you even more, just too much.
Not everyone has the strength in them to deal with personal life issues and then spend 8 to 10 hours a day being emotionally drained at work as well. This does not make them inadequate, just human.
We have become a society that lives on anti-depressants and energy boosting pills and drinks that further drain our emotional and psychological abilities. People suffering from anxiety attacks, burn out and nervous break downs is becoming a norm. It is not a norm I think should exist. We need to start pushing for change not just in our personal lives but in the work place as well. A change towards people respecting others and valuing the contributions that each individual brings. Finding the strengths of each person and placing them in the environments and positions where they will be best suited based not only on their educational skills but their emotional skills as well.
When hiring for Management / Leadership positions, an individuals educational and skill levels should definitely be advantageous to the job required, however, importance should also be placed on their emotional abilities as well. The work force they will lead needs to be constructively criticised when a fault is found, led and taught with respect in the areas where improvement is needed and praised when a job is well done.
We are human beings and thus have emotional needs as well as physical ones. Those needs do not cease to exist when we enter the work place. I truly believe when an individual is given the encouragement and support required to achieve their best, they will be more willing to work and strive for the best. Thus inevitably benefiting the company, as a harder working, motivated and more efficient work force leads to better productivity.