By Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed.
Sometimes when I do a workshop, I’ll ask attendees if they’ve ever been mismanaged. If I ask that question, almost all the hands in the room go up. Tragically, this phenomenon is not rare, and it’s often a factor in someone deciding to find work elsewhere.
In early 2020, Business.com published an article on why people leave a company, and I think if you examine the top 10 reasons, you’ll see most of them have to do with being mismanaged.
- Their work arrangements are not flexible
- Their boss lacks empathy
- They feel disengaged
- They feel undervalued
- They feel underutilized
- They feel overstressed/overworked
- They have no opportunities to advance
- They’re burned out
- The company’s culture is poor
- They feel a lack of trust/autonomy
First, notice that money does not appear on the list. This alone should be an eye-opener for managers. But in my opinion, it’s the second bullet point that’s the fulcrum for almost every other bullet point on the list: bosses lacking empathy.
This is not a difficult fix. If managers understood emotional intelligence better, they would be able to demonstrate empathy. And if they had empathy for their team members, they’d be much better at understanding the needs of those team members.
Having emotional intelligence would enable managers to be aware of when their people felt disengaged, undervalued or underutilized. They’d also know when their team members felt stressed, overworked or burned out. Also, managers would recognize when their company’s culture was impacting employee morale, which also impacts workplace trust.
In other words, managers who acquire and practice emotional intelligence could eliminate three fourths of the reasons people feel mismanaged and leave their jobs. Sadly, those who need emotional intelligence the most often want it least. Too many managers ignore learning about emotional intelligence because it has the word “emotional” in it, and they think it’s a bunch of fluffy nonsense.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In the early 1990s, researchers went to 200 companies worldwide in search of the difference between average and top performers. They found that in managerial positions and in jobs requiring technical skills, two-thirds of the difference between average and top performers was an ability to understand and practice emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is even more important in leadership and professional positions. The researchers found that four-fifths of the difference between average and top performers at those levels is emotional intelligence.
Think about it. If a manager had solid self-awareness of his or her strengths and blind spots, plus the ability to exercise good self-management skills, he or she would have a solid EQ foundation. From there, he or she would need to build what I call “social awareness,” and then good “relationship management” skills.
There’s much to unpack there, so I will break down these components into specific actions for learning EQ in the next issue.
Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is a best-selling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. For more than 30 years he’s been working with teams and individuals (1:1 coaching) to help them achieve excellence. He was also teaching Emotional Intelligence since before it was a thing. Reach him through his website, MyWorkplaceExcellence.com, or his office at 208-375-7606.