It seems that no one is guaranteed a job anywhere any more. The creeping sense that no one's job is safe, means the spread of fear, apprehension and confusion. An attitude of self-interest is understandably, growing more common for employees confronting downsizing and other changes that make them feel their organisation is no longer loyal to them. This sense of betrayal or distrust erodes allegiance and encourages cynicism. And once lost, trust - and the commitment that stems from it - is hard to rebuild.
If employees are not treated fairly and respectfully, no organisation will gain their emotional allegiance. Sensing others' development needs and bolstering their abilities is emerging as second only to team leadership among superior managers.
For sales managers, developing others' abilities is even more important - indeed, it's the emotional competence most frequently found among those at the top of the field. This is a person-to-person art, and the effectiveness of counselling hinges on empathy and the ability to focus on our own feelings and share them.
Research suggests the best 'coaches' show a genuine personal interest in those they guide, and have empathy for and an understanding of their employees. Trust is crucial - when there is little trust in the coach, advice goes unheeded. This also happens when the coach is impersonal and cold, or the relationship seems too one-sided or self-serving. Coaches who show respect, trustworthiness and empathy are the best.
One way to encourage people to perform better is to let others take the lead in setting their own goals rather than dictating the terms and manner of their development. This communicates the belief that employees have the capacity to be the pilot of their own destiny.
Another technique is to point to the problems without offering a solution: this implies the employees can find the solution themselves. And people hunger for feedback, yet too many managers, supervisors and executives are inept at giving it or are simply disinclined to provide any.
Virtually everyone who has a superior is part of at least one vertical 'couple' in the workplace; every boss forms such a bond with each subordinate. Such vertical couples are a basic unit of organisational life.
Therein lies the blessing or the curse: This interdependence ties a subordinate and superior together in a way that can become highly charged. If both do well emotionally - if they form a relationship of trust and rapport, understanding and inspired effort - their performance will shine. But if things go emotionally awry, the relationship can become a nightmare and their performance a series of minor and major disasters. While vertical couples have the entire emotional overlay that power and compliance bring to a relationship, peer couples - our relationships with co-workers - have a parallel emotional component, something akin to the pleasures, jealousies and rivalries of siblings.
If there is anywhere emotional intelligence needs to enter an organisation, it is at this most basic level.
Building collaborative and fruitful relationships begins with the couples we are a part of at work. Bringing emotional intelligence to a working relationship can pitch it towards the evolving, creative, mutually engaging end of the continuum; failing to do so heightens the risk of a downward drift towards rigidity, stalemate and failure.
Today's News: Here is a message from Jill Konrath.
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Tomorrow: In fact, Jill is my guest on The JF Guest Author Spot - "How to Immunize Yourself Against Tough Economic Times" - be sure to join us!
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