Thankfully, in the last 10, 15 years, more organisations have been open to exploring, “How do we balance, how do we identify, and attract and support the right people who have already existing technical competence, or have demonstrated a willingness to learn, and acquire technical competence? How do we get those people to balance getting a job done with enabling others, engaging others, and supporting others, to actually do it with them?”
Just like failure, success is rarely achieved alone. It’s down to groups, it’s down to teams. This morning we’re going to be exploring the softer side. Sorry guys, we are going to be talking about emotions. Stick with it, because when you partner technical competence with emotion intelligence, the transition can be fantastic. We’ve got lots of cases, won’t share with you today, but I was with your colleagues in 2004 at RAF Cosford. 2004 they were exploring how to use emotion intelligence in a coaching environment, to quit being able to support people, to do an even better job, and enjoy their journey. What can sometimes happen, especially during turbulent times, or stressful times, is, there’s so much focus on getting the task completed, that enabling people to actually develop that party, get that engagement, and understand that they’re being collaborated with, rather than just managed, can go missing.
Not intentionally, but the manager is often thinking, “I’ve been assessed on getting this job done, and it will be done at any cost,” rather than, “If I collaborate with my team, right at the outset, and we get that shared understanding, we get that clarity of what’s required, why it’s required, and what excellent looks like, we can save headaches and heartaches along the way.”
When everything is going wonderfully well, and life is a breeze, anyone can manage. Anyone can manage, even without technical competence, if that person knows where to go to get that technical competence, and safeguard what they’re doing. It shouldn’t be the default setting for a manager. What about when there’s turbulence? What about when there’s a looming deadline? What about when someone more senior doesn’t just ask you to do something, but commands you to do something, and we all jump.
Ever heard of the term firefighting? What about if we took a moment to understand, how the fires are being started, and who is actually starting them? We’ve worked with organizations from construction through to NHS, but when you take a moment to think, bear in mind your brain has between 40 and 60,000 thoughts a day, thank you, 40 to 60,000 thoughts a day. From those 40 to 60,000 thoughts, 3 to 600 decisions will be made. From those decisions, as well as being influenced by facts and data, your beliefs, your values, and experience will also influence them. The thing about emotion intelligence is, it doesn’t replace technical competence, it partners it.
Here’s the thing, negative people aren’t usually negative people because they think, “Oh, I’m going to be negative today. I’m going to be awkward.” It’s not is my glass half full, or half empty, where the hell’s my glass gone. It’s not about that. It’s, how do we get people from diverse backgrounds, with different experiences, different expertise, and different desires and goals to work together, collaboratively, so you meet more like that, than that. There is a saying that, “Well, I have to work with them, so I’ll just tolerate.” I might consider using intolerance, rather than tolerance, and not against anyone, but with yourselves. Because if there’s a relationship that’s not working, it’s your relationship that’s not working, it’s your responsibility. You’re in it. There’s a responsibility to make a deposit in the emotional bank account.
When people are trusted, when they get on with what they’re doing, if they say, “Okay boss, I’ll deliver that,” and then they know they can’t, but they just complied with the instruction or request, when is a high trust relationship based on emotion intelligence and that bedside manner they’re so often missing, even in the medical area. Someone will come to you and say, “I shouldn’t have said I could do that, I really can’t.” They’ll only come and and do that if they know that they’re not going to be reprimanded, attacked, or undermined. Or being seen as disloyal.
Ever had that? Ever accepted a crazy deadline you knew you couldn’t meet? I invite you to find a way, using language and also emotion intelligence, in terms of standards, to ask a question of, “Could you help me understand why this is important, and why it’s more important than this, and needs to be done now? Just so I can do my best for you.” That’s a very different way, you’re not abdicating responsibility, you’re asking for clarity. When you’re asking someone else for clarity, they have been engaged with you, and think you actually care. Isn’t that a little bit different, in some situations? Because all eyes are on the boss. You set the emotional climate, for the people around you, especially your team and direct reports.
Communicating is … We communicate with people how we want to communicate, and there’s this saying that, “Treat other people as you would want them to treat you.” That’s complete twaddle. Just because I want to be treated in a certain way, doesn’t mean you do, does it? But it’s a generalisation that’s been accepted as in management and all, and it’s complete twaddle.
How about treating people how they wish to be treated? This is finding out right at the very outset, if you can, whether it be new recruit, new member of your team, just so I can understand, “How do you think we could work best together?” Now, if they don’t know you, and it may be because of rank or position or standing in the organisation or your team, they may go, “I don’t know,” and just go quiet. The silence will happen, and they’ll wait for you to fill the silence. How about saying, “Well, okay, if you don’t know, let’s meet in an hour. Just give me two things that you really value in a manager, and I trust you’ll be open and honest.” They’ve got an hour for their brain to start understanding that you’re asking for the right intentions. You’re making a safe environment, where speaking truth to power and collaboration is the norm.
I’ve worked with managers who were technically brilliant, and they were fantastic people. But bedside manner, oh no. Didn’t get it. This is about second commissions in relationships right at the very outset. How can we work best together to achieve what the team, the group, the organisation trusts pays and expects us to deliver?