When I joined ADVISA I spent a lot of time with one of our seasoned Management Consultants, John Ranalletta. I remember him telling a group of leaders and managers that management is a one-on-one sport. That has always stuck with me because he’s right.
Leaders and managers must build individual relationships with their people to unlock genuine engagement and commitment.
We can all agree that engaged employees are more valuable than those who are not. I want to highlight the important role leaders and managers play in driving engagement. A company can be doing everything right to create a high engagement work culture (flex time, recognition programs, off-site community service days, bean bags and ping pong table in the break room, wellness programs, etc.). However, engagement is a result. It’s a lagging indicator and it’s largely driven by one’s relationship with their direct supervisor. Hence, if front line managers are not building authentic relationships with their people, corporate initiatives are not enough.
Leaders and managers with higher emotional intelligence are most effective in engaging others
We know and decades of research has proven that when positive, healthy relationships exist between employees and their direct supervisors, employees will persevere, put forth the discretionary effort and remain loyal to the company when tempted to pursue greener pastures. However, what is often overlooked is the reality that most managers don’t naturally know how to build effective, individual relationships with the people on their teams. It’s complicated. Different people need different things and the pace and complexity of the work itself (let alone the people dynamics) is all-consuming.
This is why it’s mission-critical that organizations help their leaders and managers build their emotional intelligence. Specifically, leaders with high emotional intelligence are able to effectively
1) identify how others feel
2) use emotions to help think through and evaluate situations
3) understand the causes of emotions
4) include and manage emotions in their decision-making and relationships