build bonds that bind

February 23, 2017

In his 1998 HBR article ‘What Makes a Leader’, Daniel Goleman says, …my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader*.

927A high emotional quotient is undoubtedly a crucial leadership attribute, which will go a long way towards increasing employee engagement and stemming attrition.

Moving on’ is the law of the world, and almost everyone is in search of greener pastures in their professional lives. Rise in market prices and increasing livelihood demands are prompting people to seek better remuneration, and this, in turn, is leading to poor employee loyalty and high attrition rates.

Such a scenario poses a tough challenge to employers—retaining their employees by motivating them and at the same time ensuring optimal productivity. Hence it is imperative to establish a bond of mutual understanding with the employee and develop an approach towards engaging them.
At present, many organizations have introduced activities to make the workplace more fun (free food, bring your dog, etc.); family-friendly gestures such as on-site day care and flex time; inclusion strategies (involving people in decisions), and rewarding performance (time off or better remuneration), to retain their employees and ensure maximum levels of satisfaction.

These may sound attractive, but this approach is flawed because it focuses only on the peripheral aspects. True engagement of employees largely depends on the genre of the job they handle, and is allied to the bond they share with the employer. To create true employee engagement, business leaders should be careful while dealing with their team members. In a world governed by classical economics, people are presumed to produce more with increased remuneration. But this mindset does not function beyond a certain level and stumbles due to increasing employee demands. Therefore, it is necessary to build a bond of loyalty and belongingness with fellow workers.

However, research has revealed that this can also be viewed as a means to control behavior, which seldom is accepted easily. In such a scenario, leaders should be more open while working with their teams. This will ensure better verbal communication and adequate transparency. For instance, companies such as Glassdoor are working hard to better connect with both employees and job-seekers. Also, they know that in order to sustain their organizational culture and to hire the right candidates, they need to connect with them, and be candid and transparent. By doing so, they will be successful in creating a positive aura and instiling a sense of loyalty. If the workforce is happy and contented, the outcome will be as desired and goals can be met on time.

To tackle the problem of attrition and earn employee loyalty, many business leaders have embraced the concept of ‘emotional intelligence’ —those with a high emotional intelligence quotient are considered to be superior team players, and flexible and adaptable in nature. Incorporating emotional intelligence in the work culture is an important step towards building a strong bond with co-workers and ensuring that they stick to the organisation for a longer period. This will help in saving the cost of recruitment time and again and also of training new people. Further, with the mushrooming of new workplaces, technologies and innovations, emotional virtues may become progressively more significant in engaging workforces over a long period of time.

However, while dealing with discontented workers, establishing an emotional connect in terms of counselling them impacts the sensitivity of the issue, on the whole. In order to make the emotional intelligence strategy successful, there are a few skills which business leaders should necessarily learn.

start with yourself
You should be able to handle your own negative emotions in any business situation, in order to boost emotional intelligence among your colleagues. By doing so, you will avoid any ill feelings that can confuse your judgment and overpower you. Harnessing positive thinking at work will help in creating a better work environment. Also, try considering multiple perspectives of the work/person you feel poorly about.

connect and engage
Leaders should learn how their management supports each employee’s autonomy and proficiency and builds relationships. By making emotional intelligence the primary driver in leader effectiveness, you can influence and build successful relationships, which are largely emotional tasks. Emotionally intelligent leaders are less reactive and more responsive in giving space to their colleagues—by working along with them and offering an appropriate level of autonomy. They also help employees see the link between their daily work and the larger picture, ensuring a better connect with them.

employee motivation
Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated and not enthused by just money or a particular designation. They are usually flexible and optimistic, and motivated by inner aspirations. Acts of goodwill such as appreciation and rewards can serve as motivation for employees, time and again, leadig to better retention and loyalty of your employees.

empathize
To be effective, leaders have to connect with their team members at a personal level; and to do so, they should understand what drives their people. This requires a high level of emotional intelligence—sensing how others feel. This ability to empathize let you achieve better service and genuine response from others.

trust your employees
Lastly, it is imperative to trust your co-workers and build a positive rapport with them. This will ensure they respect you and remain loyal, and ensure you get a positive response from them. In addition, showing trust towards others will help in avoiding power struggle and backstabbing.