For a company to have a positive working environment both management and employees must have mature emotional intelligence – an ability to determine your own emotions, manage them, and understand emotions of others.
Valeria Kozlova, mentor on emotional intelligence in IT companies, and an educator at the Lvyv Business School, told Marketing Challenge about the seven frequent problems that happen in groups with emotionally immature managers and employees.
1. Homegrown Troll
A troll is an emotionally immature person. This is something that group members would do very well to remember when they become the objects or witnesses of their attacks. Trolling, as well as its light form irony, is unconscious indirect aggression; its roots are often not realized even by the person who is its source.
In one case, an employee in an IT group would actively troll his female colleague. No one had a clue as to why. When the team decided to
work on the situation with their team lead and an emotional intelligence mentor, it turned out that the female colleague reminded the troll of his elder sister who he had used to fight with all the time. His aggression moved from family sphere to professional, and he didn’t even realize it.
2. Focus On Oneself Only
In a group, a person is always striving for balance between shining personally and working towards a common result. If an employee has low emotional intelligence, they may fall into two extremes: first they would do everything for others, and then, after becoming disappointed, only for themselves.
It is like football (soccer, если хотите публиковаться в США): it is the forward’s job to score goals, yet sometimes another player would not pass the ball and shoot from a poor position, to score personal “points”. The player would risk it, yet more often than not they would not score.
It is the job of the manager to teach employees to correctly distribute resources between personal and common interests. It is important for people to feel needed, and work not for praise, but with a certainty that the boss will distinguish not just the one who scored, but the one who passed as well.
3. Team Blindly Follows Procedures
It is impossible to write up an action plan or standards for every occasion; therefore managers need to count on a person’s flexibility. But sometimes an employee can’t or doesn’t want to take risks. It happens when a manager presses the employee too much, and the latter dares not defend themselves, thinking “I do it my way – I get in trouble”. This is when they start blindly following procedures.
Many authoritarian managers who want to see a ready solution, put pressure on employees for expressing their opinion. If the employee has low emotional quotient (EQ), and in response to their suggestion hears something like “What is this rubbish? What about this then, have you considered that?”, next time they will not be so brave.
4. One Can’t Talk To Their Boss
Some IT groups voluntarily enact an unspoken ban on conflict – employees don’t want to demonstrate dissatisfaction, so that “not to fight”, “not to upset” their boss or colleague, and not to seem weak. In fact, they don’t want to ruin family relationships in the group.
Sometimes the manager spends their resources on getting a result; they don’t have potential to address other issues, and they’re not ready to react adequately when an employee approaches them with a problem. This is a sign of the manager’s insufficient emotional intelligence. In such environment the employee will not risk expressing dissatisfaction, accumulates irritation, and in time turns around and leaves.
5. Irritation Is Not Controlled
A businessman is unhappy with their partner and wants to immediately air their feelings, even though important joint negotiations are about to start. They understand the level of threat to business, yet they tell their partner anyway. The partner takes offence, and then revenge by “forgetting” to join the negotiations. Both of them are serious people with “impenetrable faces”, yes such a reaction has no poker face – it’s pure emotion.
When a businessman says that business should be rid of emotions, what they really want is to learn how to manage them. About 90% of all conflicts between business partners are based on emotions – such as grudges, for instance.
6. There’s No Understanding Of Connection Between Family And Work
A person always lives in a system that consists of two interconnected elements: “my business/partners” + “my family”. An uncontrolled emotion can detach itself from one part of this system and latch onto the other. But a person with low EQ will get confused and probably not even recognize this transition.
Example 1: A businessman wanted to part ways with their partner, but in a “modern” way, without a lasting scandal. During a conversation with the coach it became clear that in reality he wanted to part ways not with his partner, but with his wife. He just had lived with her for a longer time, and it was emotionally more difficult. It turned out that she was not against parting, and they had a friendly divorce.
Example 2: A co-owner of a business made it clear he wanted to part with his wife, because he had got tired of her. His company was getting to a new level at that time, and serious changes in one part of the system always set off a “general revision” mechanism in all its other parts. Having analyzed the situation with an EQ mentor, the businessman realized that he wanted to part ways not with the wife, but his co-founder friend. In the end, he split with his partner.
The law of family & job balance always works. By keeping it in mind, one can avoid confusion in many business relationships and better understand oneself.
7. Employees Feel Bad In A Growing Company
Emotional intelligence is especially prominent in companies with two management types: family management, and corporate management.
At first, the entire group is one big family. As the company grows, “family warmth” starts fading away. A corporation presumes that the employees will take on a larger burden of responsibility, become more independent and will be more result-oriented. But only people with sufficient EQ can provide that.
A strong need for family warmth and tenderness is a sign of emotional immaturity. When a small company upgrades to a corporate management style, while the employees want to stay “warm”, they need to be let go to a different, family-type company. But before that one should explain the situation to them.
The boss of an IT company with a dominating “family” management type decided they needed to grow. When the company started transition to a new management type, those who got used to “the warmth” started leaving. When it was explained to them that there are stable companies, and there are growing companies, and how their company was now this second type, it changed their attitude towards the situation.
Insufficient EQ of employees and their emotional immaturity affect business results: low KPIs, failed projects, missed deadlines, and more. Assigning blame or pinpoint corrections will not
change the situation. But there are no problems without solutions. Increasing employees’ EQ systematically and improving their soft skills help companies get to a new level, where healthy employee work & life balance, and high performance of the company, are possible.