Recently I attended a virtual conference, HR Leaders, on the future of work. Listening to the distinguished panelists sharing their ideas, I couldn’t stop thinking that the success in our future world of work will be defined by two things: accountable employees and empathetic or emotionally intelligent managers.
Not long ago, Ondrej Vlček, the CEO of AVAST, one of the few learning organizations that I recognize in the Czech Republic, shared that one of the keys to success in AVAST is having genuine accountable adults on board. But what does it mean, being an accountable adult when we work for an organization?
In my definition, an ACCOUNTABLE ADULT has a superior level of personal leadership. This involves:
- Self-awareness: the person understands their own strengths and weaknesses and do their best to leverage their strengths and contain their weaknesses at work. They also understand their mental, emotional and behavioral patterns and do their best to master them, so their emotions won’t run them instead.
- Self-mastery: they feature mental, emotional and behavioral discipline, they are able to focus, they have a positive orientation towards the future and they understand the need to learn new things and have a growth mindset.
- Empathy and relationship building: accountable adults are able to leave their ego at the door (self-awareness comes in handy in this regard) and to listen to others; mainly they care about the well-being of their colleagues, managers and organizations and they understand that teams have a common destiny. Thus they seek to build solid, honest relationships as a safety net and guarantee for future team success.
- Social skills and stakeholder management: they are able to think strategically and make rational proactive and engaged decisions, they can observe the greater systemic dynamics in groups (teams and the wider organization), they understand their place and honor the place, input and value of all other members in their team and company ecosystem.
In other words, an ACCOUNTABLE ADULT is an emotionally mature adult.
BUT HOW ABOUT THE MANAGERS?
Well, we can’t have accountable adults if they are led by children. If organizations want to truly shift the dynamics from the bottom up and thrive in the new world of work, they need to invest way, way more in developing the level of emotional intelligence of its managers.
How do such EMPATHETIC, EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENCE MANAGERS look like? Well, for example:
- Self-awareness: they understand their own motivations and mental, emotional and behavioral patterns and key triggers. They do not allow themselves to be taken away by automatic emotional defense mechanisms such as projection, rationalization, denial, excessive adaptability, perfectionism, self-neglect, identification with others’ expectations, introjection or dissociation and are able to notice and get a grip of these inner demons. In order words, they feel their fear and do it anyway.
- Self-mastery: they are the first to recognize that they don’t know (or deserve) everything. They are able to master their fear, to collect information and to communicate their status and expectations with clarity. They work ceaselessly to become better at the art of human leadership.
- Empathy and relationship building: they are the first to listen to their people’s needs. They create space for challenging 1-1 and team conversations and they are able and willing to cast light on grey zones that prevent people from working at their best under their supervision. They genuinely CARE about their people more than they do about their next bonus (that will come too, as an outcome of being a great manager). They are able to shoulder the top management’s expectations and to trickle it down in a clear, understandable and reasonable manner for their coworkers.
- Social skills and stakeholder management: they are a living and walking example of how to navigate the complex organism of the organization. Mentors for people in their teams and in other divisions, they are also mentees learning from people more experienced than themselves. They have a solid network that brings them information and keeps them up-to-date with the undercurrents and invisible movements in their organizational system. They understand the importance of strategic thinking and they promote it restlessly for themselves and their people. They grow by uplifting others to glory. They are the true, shining leaders everyone wants to have at the helm of their teams.
Now what do the two categories, the ACCOUNTABLE ADULT and the EMPATHETIC MANAGER have in common? They are both consequences of emotional maturity.
In other words, if organizations want to succeed and thrive in the new word of work, to avoid unnecessary conflicts and drama, to retain and boost engagement and to prevent talented people from leaving the company, they need to start investing in developing their people’s emotional intelligence right now.
CURIOUS ABOUT MY CORPORATE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS? PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL AT CM@CRISTINAMUNTEAN.COM AND I WILL BE HAPPY TO LISTEN TO YOUR NEEDS AND TO TELL YOU MORE.