Emotional Intelligence is a very powerful tool. Emotions can enhance your thoughts, transform relationships and behavior. I realize now that I by using this tool it will allow me to understand myself better. Overcome my work-related challenges, and build healthy relationships.
In the context of the role that I play in the financial organization which I work for. The settings are always very professional due to the necessity of rapid change. There is a constant need to find ways of becoming self-motivating. In discovering these tools of awareness I was able to explain to my colleagues to embrace this innovation, they can capitalize upon their special talents and skills. I work in a diverse workforce so I can understand how their emotions will change. At first I could see that the Skills assessment that I handed out to them, made them feel uneasy and a bit afraid.
However, I discussed my personal score and in a way they felt more at ease. By the end of the week, all of them had handed them in. We had a question and answer session to discuss our findings. We recognized that this exercise is extremely useful in reducing the interpersonal conflicts, tensions, and even crises that are internal to all human organizations and groups. We realized that we were all capable of applying these tools to improve our everyday lives. I know that we will constantly improve profitability, productivity in the workplace.
A Colleague Mike has been a good colleague of mine for about a year now. He was hired as a Private Wealth Investor catering to upscale clients interested in investing there enormous amounts of wealth within our bank. This is a highly competitive business in which a relatively small number of financial institutions compete for what can best be characterized as a niche market of affluent clients that require excellence in terms of both product and service. Consequently these few financial institutions create a valuable competition to obtain the services of the right kind of educated, skilled, and professional Banker. These salespeople enjoy a great deal of autonomy, often bring their own customer base with them to a store or gallery, and are highly regarded via a commission scale for their efforts. Consequently, a person responsible for managing a sales force consisting of this type of professional must do a good amount of mentoring, nurturing, supporting, rewarding, and otherwise responding to the sales force. Members of such a sales force are themselves competitive with one another and this can and does lead to frequent conflict.
In my situation, two very valued and successful sales agents working for the company were actively engaged in trying to convince one of their own customers to purchase a particularly valuable and rare painting that the owner of the business had taken in on consignment. Both of the salespeople felt that they were entitled to make the deal. My job was first, to ensure that this valuable painting was sold for the best possible price. My second task was to prevent any conflict from erupting between the two salespeople. Unfortunately, at the time, I was somewhat politically unaware of their longstanding competition at this and other companies. Marilyn Gowing (89) notes that one element of emotional competence and EI is political awareness or the ability to read a group’s emotional currents and power relationships. Similarly, among the social skills needed to exercise EI effectively are conflict management, leadership, the ability to build bonds, and the ability to create group synergy in pursuing collective goals. My own abilities in these areas were somewhat limited.
I was unaware of the fact that each of the two salespeople considered me to be “playing favorites,” or assisting one in closing a deal to the detriment of the other.” As it turned out, one sales agent brought a final and quite acceptable offer to me on behalf of his customer before the second salesperson was able to obtain agreement from his customer with respect to purchasing the artwork. My immediate response was one of great pleasure: the company had successfully sold a major work of art for an excellent profit, satisfying my employer’s needs and the needs of our firm’s original client who placed the work for sale with the expectation that the work would succeed. My subordinate sales agent was equally pleased because he would acquire a substantial commission. Finally, I too was pleased because I would receive a commission as well. What I did not take into consideration was the anger and frustration felt by the rival salesperson. After the work of art had been sold and delivered, I held a small impromptu social gathering for my staff.
During this gathering, I was extremely complimentary about the successful salesperson’s bargaining skills and salesmanship. I was completely unaware that the rival sales agent was becoming more and hostile hostile to the point where he stormed out of the gathering and resigned from the company on the very next day, citing my poor responsiveness to him as a primary reason for quitting. Analysis of the Situation Looking back on this situation, I realize that my most significant failure in terms of EI was a failure in what Goleman (40) called e-leadership. Goleman (40) said that “emotionally intelligent leadership is key to creating a working climate that nurtures employees and encourages them to give their best.” It is the climate created by the leader that motivates employees to success and helps employees recognize that they are valued within the organization. What I failed to recognize in managing this situation was that I had two deeply committed, talented, and valued sales agents who looked to me for support as they went about attempting to sell products. Each had a right to expect that I would provide this kind of support and certainly, both had a right to expect that I would reward them and respect their feelings.
In the case of the successful seller, I more than lived up to these obligations. In the case of the frustrated sales agent who did not close the deal, I became the immediate target of his frustration over a lost sale. Looking back, I realized that I did not in any way offer this employee my sympathies for a lost sale or indicate that I understood his frustration over the lost sale. Instead, I focused all of my energy on congratulating the victor in this rivalry and I ignored the needs of an equally valuable employee. I lacked the EI to recognize that the unsuccessful salesperson felt that the small social event held immediately after the sale was closed was a further slap in the face. I also lacked an understanding of what I should have done after the situation occurred. I did not attempt, when this salesperson rather dramatically left the social gathering, to find out what was wrong and why he was angry. I assumed that my primary responsibility was to continue hosting the party and to make my successful sales agent aware of how pleased the company was with his success.
I did not, as Cherniss (19) commented, exhibit much in the way of emotional intelligence because I was completely insensitive to the very real and powerful feelings of a staff member. Even when the disgruntled sales agent returned the following day to hand in his resignation, I did not respond appropriately. I failed to recognize the very real anger that this individual felt or that much of this anger was now directed at me. I assumed that this individual who I knew to be extremely competitive and occasionally somewhat overly dramatic was not truly serious about leaving what had, after all, been a very profitable relationship with the company. I am afraid that I was somewhat cavalier in my response, simply suggesting that he might want to think it over before making a final decision and rather dismissively stating something to the effect “there will be other sales just as good.”
On my behalf, I think it is important to point out that I was relatively new in a managerial position and had never received any formal training in either EI or human relations management. As Kram and Cherniss (255257) have so significantly noted, EI is something that may be inherent in most people, but it can also be expanded by means of appropriate education, development and training programs. The successful leader who uses EI effectively is not necessarily “born”; he is she is far more likely to be “made” via training and the opportunity to out new concepts and skills into practice. In my own mismanagement of the disgruntled employee, I failed to recognize that my job was to use sufficient EI to convey my own empathy for the sales agent’s loss and frustration, my belief in his competency to make equally important sales in the future, and my own acceptance of his sense of injured pride an achievement.
I did not seek to discover what was really frustrating this individual or to learn from him what I could, as a manager, have done differently to provide him with the support and assistance he felt he lacked. While it is possible that there was nothing I could have done to change the outcome of this competition and no evidence that had it gone differently, I would not have had an equally frustrated person to deal with the fact of the matter is that in my enthusiasm for one staff member’s “victory,” I failed to appreciate that another staff member felt “defeated.” Knowing more about EI would have led me, for example, to recognize before the event occurred that a potentially dangerous rivalry had been created or allowed to emerge within my staff that did not bode well for the company or for these individuals. Kram and Cherniss (258-259) noted that ensuring that work groups exist in relative harmony is one of the key responsibilities of the emotionally intelligent manager something that my management or mismanagement of this situation suggests I was not at the time.
EI competencies are therefore important attributes of the individual who must lead a group or manage the activities of individuals who may perceive themselves to be in some type of competition with one another. In a sales organization such as that I have briefly described herein, a few very aggressive individuals may see themselves as competing for customers and commissions; they often enjoy a friendly rivalry, but in this instance my lack of EI made it impossible for me to recognize that the rivalry between the two salespeople had been building for some time to a climax. My apparent preference for one over the other was the final “Straw” that led the one to quit and my inability to properly respond to that decision was further proof that I lacked EI. Had the situation taken place more recently as I was participating n this course, I would have recognized the tensions that were emerging as the two salespeople competed to be the one who would fund a buyer for a valuable work of art. I would have worked with them both to make it clear that there would be no “winner” or “loser” and I would have not rushed to publicly reward one at what could be interpreted as the expense of the other.
I would have exhibited what Goleman (8) calls greater empathy for the frustration of the one and the pride and satisfaction of the other. As significantly, I believe that a manager with greater EI than I clearly possessed would have done more to eliminate the competition that had already polarized the sales people. While there was little that could be done to change the fact that these workers were paid largely on commission and their ability to sell luxury items at high ticket prices to an admittedly small market segment I could have created opportunities for developing team synergy that might have diminished these rivalries if not eliminating them entirely. Cherniss (111) does not that many executives and managers who are lacking in EI tend to think mainly in terms of short-term results rather than long-term outcomes and advances. In the situation described above, my focus was not on what my staff needed or their frustrations, but on selling an important item to increase the profitability of the business.
By failing to understand that one staff member was reaching the boiling point and that I needed to demonstrate my concern an empathy, I lost a valuable employee. Summary and Conclusions This essay has examined the concept of EI and applied elements of the concept to a real-work professional situation n which this writer was an actor. The point of the discussion is to illustrate how ordinary situations in the professional environment can and should be approached with respect to their emotional undertones and content. A leader or a manager with high EI is less likely to allow such conflicts as I have described to escalate to the point of losing a valuable employee.
In addition, the leader or manager who is high in EI displays empathy and inculcates in staff members a sense that they are valued for all of their contributions to the organization. Had I been able to reach out to the disgruntled salesperson and make him aware of the fact that this was merely a temporary setback and had I demonstrated successfully that he was valuable to the organization, it is quite likely that the outcome would have been substantially different. While not all conflicts involving employees can be resolved this easily, EI does much to prevent such problems.
Goleman, D. 1995. Emotional intelligence_._ New York: Bantam books.
Goleman, D. 1998. Working with emotional intelligence_._ New York: Bantam Books.