Emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly recognised as a fundamental factor in the success of individuals in the workplace.  This is especially true in the capabilities of effective, authentic leadership.

However, there still remain pockets of industry where the term has not percolated and where emotional considerations are not considered beyond being soft and fluffy, and rather than complimenting work performance, working with emotions are viewed as detrimental and are criticised.

Research (and experience) indicates that emotional intelligence, more than logical analysis, skills and education, ranks at the top of the list in predicating career success. Corporate cultures that are aware of those values that direct an organisation’s emotional culture build companies that can buffer radical change with reinvention, led by employees who love their jobs and tend to stick around for longer.

Leaders who consciously design unconscious elements of organisational culture and prioritise those areas considered to be softer areas such as high engagement, empathy and trust are seeing better returns and profitability.

Being Authentic

The world of work today is in continual flux.  Change is the only constant.  Immediately after a change programme has been implemented and delivered, disruption and redirection occurs. Markets are continually altering with new technologies and accelerated delivery demands driving the need for change in strategies for leadership, talent, and human resources.  Technology and social media have opened up companies allowing people to see deeply into an organisation (and its leaders and values) and choose if they want to be a part of it.  As work demands increase, millennials and Gen Xers (18 to 34 year olds) are expecting blurred edges when it comes to organisational structure and solid lines when it comes to the character, transparency and engagement of leaders with their teams.

The relationship between employers and employees is shifting making today’s employees more like customers or partners than subordinates.  This is the reason why employee engagement and culture has become so relevant and important.

Important considerations to consider are how people are lead, how people are developed and how people are inspired.  Just over half of the UK workforce (56%) say they are INSPIRED by leaders.

The Importance of Trust

Trust within organisations and with their leaders, makes them positive and meaningful places of work.  Data from Scancapture / NWEEG suggests that 7 out of 10 people say they do not trust the leaders.

Trust is traditionally seen as a soft and immeasurable quality, but is being considered more and more as an important component that drives economic performance.

Within companies that demonstrate high trust at all levels, Paul Zak (Professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University) found that there was

76% more engagement

50% higher productivity

74% less stress

40% less burnout

13% fewer sick days

29% more satisfaction with their lives

Extending trust is about empowering authority, autonomy, and communication giving employees say greater control over how they work. In organisations where this doesn’t happen the main reason is down to trust.  Leaders cannot trust their employees to take responsibility for themselves and the way that they work, and so treat them effectively like children.

Managers who hold regular meetings with their employees have been found to be almost three times as likely to engage their employees.  Engagement is highest among employees who have some form of daily communication with their manager by phone, email or face-to-face.  Further data from Scancapture / NWEEG suggests that 90% of highly engaged employees have a manager that ‘lets them get on with their job’, in other words they communicate with people about what their expectations are and empower them to deliver against those expectations.

Trust is built through verbal and non-verbal elements of organisational culture.  They must be congruent and aligned to the organisational values.

Centring attention around employees fosters greater collaboration, participation, and productivity. People are encouraged – even challenged – to innovate beyond the capabilities of their managers and leaders as they are closer to the issue and understand the critical components much better.  Because people are given the space to create and are empowered to come up with their own solutions, innovation increases naturally.

Emotional Cultures

Few companies are intentionally investing in their emotional cultures.  Where this has occurred, it has generated very positive results.  Emotions like joy and excitement leading to feelings of fun drive productivity and healthy competition.  People engage in valuable and impactful (challenging) conversations with colleagues.

Leaders must lead by example.   Values underpin everything that they do.  If businesses want to become more resilient, they have to exchange their paternalistic, command and control methodologies for more open, honest and modest processes that build organisational culture from the inside out.  They must begin with themselves.

The only way to drive an open and authentic culture is by the leaders promoting the values of the organisation, by living and breathing these values and displaying these values through their behavioural expression.


For information about how Ei4Change works with employee engagement, visit our website www.ei4change.com