“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”- NIV Proverbs 27:17. Many of you have read or heard this Proverb in scriptural context, but never in the employment context. When iron blades are rubbed together, each becomes sharper and thus more effective. Likewise, when managers and front-line staff are involved in one another’s professional development, mutual growth occurs.
For this to work, both manager and employee must have achieved an acceptable level of emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence as the “capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” If every manager achieved emotional intelligence, the retention rate would never be included in KPIs (key performance indicators). Emotional intelligence is important, so much so, that researchers and business experts agree that people with high emotional intelligence are consistently top performers in their organizations. Successful people know how to sense, understand, and use emotions to improve decision making, performance, and overall quality of life. As a manager, you must understand that longevity does not equate emotional maturity. During your tenure, technology, processes, and your industry has changed. Moreover, if you haven’t been abreast to these changes, you can become easily aroused or intimidated by someone who has.
To sharpen one another, both manager and employee must identify their strengths and weaknesses; and to a degree, be transparent. When this is achieved, it becomes the foundation and road map to influence, conflict resolution, collaboration and cooperation among you and your subordinate. It’s important to understand that managers are responsible for adding value to their employees. The caveat to this, is we can only value others to the level that we value ourselves. As you began your sharpening process, your subordinates will recognize incremental changes in both your social and personal competencies. Thus, this process will increase not only performance, but productivity as well.
You might wondering now, how do I know if I’m being sharpened in my emotional intelligence. Some indications are that you….
- Guard against emotional responses.
- Manage interactions with people who are not calm and reasonable.
- Show self-confidence.
- Handle difficult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact.
- Understand others’ needs and perspectives.
- Think clearly and act rationally under pressure.
- Foster your subordinates’ creativity.
- Ask the right questions.
As an emotional intelligent manager, your ego or intellectual capacity will not suffer because a more skilled, versed, educated or technologically advance worker has entered your territory. Now be prepared, a subordinate will challenge your modus operandi, but now instead of a problem, you view this as an iron-smith opportunity and embrace it! When you do, you are displaying Self-control, Adaptability and Emotional Awareness as a manager.