Iron Fists or Velvet Gloves?
I have been reading a lot lately about this thing called “workplace emotional intelligence” and that it’s the wave of the future when it comes to company management. In fact, it’s going to be one of the leading qualifications of future company managers. The actual definition that Google has for emotional intelligence is:
The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Kind of sounds like a yuppie over-modernized way of saying, “Be a nicer boss!” Cool. There’s nothing wrong with being nice, and to tell you the truth, being nice has gotten me further than most anything else in this world, but I have to ask, does emotional intelligence merit the qualifications rating it gets, or should it be more of a personality trait bonus as it has always been in the past? Where is this coming from? My thoughts on this are, it probably was germinated as a qualifications requirement coming from the one generation that seems to be struggling the most with this thing called life, the millennials. My theory on the current “millennial suffrage” is that these young people were the first generation to be thrust into a modern tech world (that they helped create) with an old fashioned thought process and didn’t have time to adjust for it. They hustled hard to get through school and were taught the fundamentals of how to work in the real world, and then found out the real world didn’t care what you learned in school! They had stiff college loan debt on an education that didn’t jettison them straight to the top (like they were told it would) and had to settle for entry level, low paying positions that may not even be in their wheelhouse of study.
Unlike my generation, Gen X, we were the lucky ones in this regard. We were educated and worked at the dawn of the tech area and were able to sample the stuff before we bought it. Example: Gen X’ers had the privilege of using dial-up internet and wrote college papers on Windows 95, and still were able to master social media and modern-day tech later in life.
Basically, Millennials found out that everything professor so and so at the University of Safe Space campuses was wrong and that the real world is actually cruel, unfair and kind of mean. How do you handle cruel, unfair and mean people? Well, you can’t pass a law against it (yet), so you have to create a culture against it. This might be the one thing the Millennials are doing right! Culture creation. Just tell people it’s the new thing and most will believe it and follow it. Tell future bosses that emotional intelligence is what companies are looking for, and the masses will strive to become emotionally intelligent.
We all see now that many iron-fisted bosses and company owners generally don’t last long. Even Steve Jobs himself was fired from his own company once before they brought him back to save it! Even if you don’t get fired from your own company, you will start to lose your workforce to kinder and more understanding companies. The new CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, former CEO of Expedia, did something just last week as he took the helm that received the attention of not only his staff but of business blogs and media alike. He said three words, either by design or just happenstance, which humanized the position of CEO and demonstrated his emotional intelligence ability. He said, “I am scared!” That is all he said to make the world gasp for just a second and made the Millennials giddy with excitement! Finally, a man that will admit he is scared.
My suggestion to all you future bosses, entrepreneurs, company managers and CEO’s is to embrace the idea of emotional intelligence and learn as much about it as you can. I feel the first thing you have to do is to look at emotional intelligence with the same eyes as you look at a new product or service development R&D. It’s something new you have to look at with an open mind. Mostly, you will have to start looking into yourself to find it. As we all know, you have to be authentic in a vastly changing high-speed world of business and you can’t just act emotionally intelligent to sell it. You will have to believe it yourself and practice it when no one is looking. That is how character is built. But don’t worry! You can still have the authoritarian thought process to manage your company. Even the great Lou Holtz, one of the nicest guys in the whole world, had no problem firing someone that was not bringing value to his organization! Just do as Neapolitan Bonaparte said and – “Put you iron fist in a velvet glove”.
Daniel J Bockman