Have you observed some who were brilliant in studies,products of premier institutions, but failed to climb up the corporate ladder of success as expected in spite they might have got good breaks initially? Or there are a few who were average students from average institutions but made to top of the career as years passed.Chances of their failure or success could more likely be because of
their ratings in EI(Emotional Intelligence)!
There are quite a number of quintessential ingredients-leadership,hard work,positive thinking,EQ,IQ,skills in negotiation,man management,communication,in depth knowledge in own trade.... which are mandatory for the success in any career. Fortunately all those features are identified, listed, illustrated and one can read from books on your own or from business schools, although how many of us will be able to practice them successfully is a different matter.
While all these traits are essential in different degrees for different careers in different levels, if one asks me- a technocrat well exposed in management but who started reading professional books on management only after almost reaching such a level- the magic one word answer which stands out among all these characteristics for a fruitful career is EI. Emotional Intelligence is not limited to management but plays a role in all aspects of life but I am limiting this article to that of an executive career.
In simple terms EI(Emotional Intelligence) refers to ones ability to understand emotions of people around you or simply to put,ability to get along with people and situations.EQ(Emotional Quotient) is the level of such an ability.In competitive business,success in career depends on one's ability to correctly understand other peoples' emotions.
A good IQ rating is a boon for success,no doubt but unless one excels in EI,your Intelligence need not be correctly applied to get the desired results in a corporate! Only few realize that academic brilliance is different to Intelligence.In India premier institutes like IIT/IIM helps the products of theirs to bag excellent openings initially. But many of those incredibly bright students academically or incredibly intelligent employees need not get elated in the company or the place he or she works as years go by- say after 10 years or so.At the same time nobody can stop the growth of an executive who has acceptable levels of IQ and EQ whether from a good institute or not.!In other words,abundance of commonsense and ability to move with people and situations around you is the gist of success in your managerial career!
Is EI an inborn characteristic?
In my opinion the answer is yes.It is an inborn talent like one can sing, paint or be good in studies or sports.But it can be acquired to an acceptable level through right interactions or working with your good bosses and practice.As I put it earlier,after initial promotions, many executives are over taken by few.Those who fail to go up the ladder change the company thinking that it is company's fault that he or she was not identified than take action for corrections. After two or three such 'jumps' also they will find that they could not reach the desired levels wherever they went.At this time also although late, they fail to make assessment for corrective steps but may blame 'fate' or 'luck'!!
Different aspects of EI in management.
There are few known practical aspects or components or categories of EI which come regularly as one works in management whether it is junior or senior level.I am listing those which I think are essentially important in my own perspectives..
Assess your own EI awareness levels.Most of us think that we are good with people around us and if we have broken relationships that's because of others.Instead of self assessment it is advisable to get the feed back from others around you. But it may not be easy as most of your subordinates would like to 'praise' you always-based on which we think we are good at this- than telling the truth on your face.Bosses can be better that way but you may have restrictions. Getting your EI performance reports through third parties unknown to you could be more realistic to gauge your degree of awareness. If you happen to digest, handle and learn from constructive criticism of others-your subordinates, colleagues,bosses, customers/client reps etc- you can be rest assured that you are on the right track.If not,better you mend your EI attitudes.
You should be able to express your feelings with restraint and control. People around you behave differently.It is foolish to expect that all of those people should listen to you.At the same time it is your ability-EI- to get the best out of them under any given circumstances.Do not get annoyed by petty bad comments by one of the reps of the client.Self regulation of your nerves is very much required in these circumstances.You can't take back what spills out of your mouth or worse, an email. Keep always in your mind the end goal of yours. Don't slam the door behind you as you walk out after an annoyed meeting is over. You may have to go in through the same door once again,nobody knows.I have seen many who will 'react' instead of 'respond'.Keep your cool always. Do not let our emotions take over intelligence while facing situations!
Get self motivated.Inspire others.Here your ambition plays a major role in getting self motivated.Other than for monetary aims,you should have an inner ambition whatever it is. It is highly useful that you use 'auto suggestion' techniques to get your ambitions implanted in your inner mind.At the same time you should be able to inspire others.
Understand others' feelings as well. It helps you to stay connected with people. You should be able to sense other people's emotions and able to imagine what others think or feel on an issue.This is particularly applicable in case of your subordinates' requests for leave,raise in salary,promotion etc.Always give weightage to human aspects if possible like sabbatical leave for your loyal staff to make higher studies,to attend to their close family member who is terminally ill etc. While considering special requests from good clients also,even if it is not in contract, but can be done without much costs or trouble it is better to attend them positively.Empathy matters very much in a successful executive career.
Cultivate yourself positive skills. One should be able to build good rapport and trust with all in your team,clients....Avoid quarrels,back stabbing, power struggles which are all negative.I have seen many who fall into these self defeatist acts. Also get rid of insincere and negative persons from your team, however good they are in their trade, since they can bring down the whole team work which is the last word for success in business management.
Thats it ...I have put in what I think is right in climbing up the corporate ladder. This need not be the last word on the subject since I myself am a student in management!