The way leaders behave sends strong signals to employees. Leaders with high levels of Ei understand that when employees feel “safe” in the workplace, they are not only happier and perform better, they are more likely to contribute their ideas freely and develop better solutions through tapping into their creative potential. As opposed to competitive commanding characteristics, what sets Ei leaders apart are their sharing approach and willingness to put employee growth ahead of their own. Employees secure in their roles feeling part of and understanding an organisation’s direction will collectively develop or combine skills, knowing they will share in the rewards of strategic success.
Work environments greatly influence self-worth and productivity. An environment that is less bureaucratic, hierarchical, and dare we say fearful, is recognised through widespread agreement, significant and sustained research as being an environment where people at every level can thrive and in so doing the organisation thrives too.
Creating the right environment for superior performance
Executives can make better use of existing and often untapped talent, without implementing disruptive change programs, by creating the conditions that allow dynamic innovation and problem-solving networks to emerge and flourish. Organisational psychology has provided insight into how open, supportive business environments encourage performance and innovation.* New, ‘organic’, agile organisations can be self-organising, with self-managed teams, sometimes referred to as network organisations. They are modelled on start-ups and are more responsive and adaptable in today’s rapidly changing world. The move by some governments to make organisations accountable for stress recognises the influence of the workplace on lives.
The overall effect of these approaches is to positively reshape the culture of the organisation. Within this culture management exists to support employees’ efforts to be fully productive members of their organisations and communities, any form of ‘overt’ control is counterproductive.
It is this control, permeated through culture that has for too long held many organisations back from achieving their fullest potential and what they are capable of. Progressive organisations take explicit steps to foster a knowledge sharing culture based on trust among employees. In such a culture, people understand that their ideas are valued, trust that it is safe to express those ideas, and oversee risk collectively, together with their managers. Such an environment can be more effective than monetary incentives in sustaining solutions and innovation.
Emotional intelligence (Ei) opens minds and builds imagination and influencing skills
To make a corporate culture friendlier to new ideas, leaders must acquire new skills to engage and actively lead the staff. Employees secure in their roles and respectful of an organisation’s direction will collectively develop or combine skills, knowing they will share in the rewards of strategic success.
Again, the reshaped culture is much more likely to be sustained where high levels of Ei is seen and practiced by leaders and managers at all levels.
To know yourself inside-out is to know who you are unequivocally. The power of knowing yourself is to understand how to purposely change behaviours and rewire your capability. From an independent, secure, holistic view of the world, the confident leader can firmly place themselves at the core of every experience and respond authentically and automatically.
Your perception is fully evolved when driven by opportunity, not inhibitions or limitations. It can take a lifetime to achieve this adult awareness. This enables a ‘one-to-many’ perspective where the self-aware leader can operate at the centre of every interaction. Appreciation of big-picture future awareness is fully dependent on how much we empathise and engage with all aspects of life.
Providing a safe and secure environment is important for employees to bond and feel secure. A holistic, development-based approach is necessary to transform your organisation into a proactive, strategically aligned, high-performance growth culture built on positive behaviours and bottom-up, meaningful objectives. When a strategy and vision are presented this way and the responsibilities are aligned to the stage objectives in the organisation, the outcome is powerful – all employees are challenged to grow to secure their futures for the benefit of the organisation and the community.
This is what Ei holds possible to all open, inspiring future focussed leaders.
Written by Tony Holmwood.
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