Merging Business Leadership Coaching and Emotional Intelligence: Tom was a natural at sales. He ranked high on several emotional intelligence skills. He was charismatic, enthusiastic and always the top performing sales professional in his team. He got along well with his peers and his manager. When his boss moved on to a new position Tom was promoted to manager of his sales team.
After nine months, Tom's division was performing below average. Tom attributed the sudden drop in productivity to his predecessor. His sales team, however, attributed the sudden drop to his lack of leadership. They claimed he played favorites and was unpredictable. Some days he was helpful and supportive and other days he was aloof and punitive. The HR department was suddenly suggesting different types of sensitivity trainings to institute emotional intelligence in the work place. Conflicts between Tom and employees led to additional turn-over. Tom saw this as a good thing, "you're either part of the solution or part of the problem," he would say.
Hiring new staff did little to solve the problem. Eventually his superiors began investigating the problems in his department. How could such a natural sales professional make such a horrible manager?
Management requires a combination of leadership and emotional intelligence skills. Making the change from a skilled professional such as, an engineer, or sales person to management often occurs with out addressing this point. Rather than a focusing on themselves the manager has to consider how others think and feel. With out training and mentoring in this area, new managers are left with out the requisite emotional intelligence skills.
The New Manage
The problem is the same in every field, engineering, construction and scientific laboratories. Just as an athlete, who was an all star player isn't necessarily qualified to be great at sports coaching. Some individuals stumble transitioning into management positions while others are natural leaders and adjust well to the new role. Others take time and cost their organization far more in their mistakes than the cost of training them in leadership, social intelligence and emotional awareness. High staff turn over and poor production are red flags indicating a manager has not made the transition.
Managers and leaders in these positions are typically struggling personally. They feel the pressure and may become overwhelmed by it. This only makes the problem worse as they try harder, doing more of what caused the problems in the first place. A manager may appear aggressive or controlling when they are in reality fearful or insecure. They may appear confident one minute and defensive the next. They may appear sensitive and attentive to the board of directors while they intimidate subordinates.
The Larger Challenge
Once those in a position of authority to the manager or leader, learn about the problem, it has, in most cases, already done significant damage to the organization. Simply firing the manager is not always the easy answer.
What can be done about it?
By the time leaders notice there is a problem and begin investigating, in most cases, it has already grown to unmanageable proportions. For example, one board of directors, overseeing the administrator of a health care facility currently face law suits for a hostile work place. The administrator they hired, achieved many of the initially agreed upon goals. They board, however, was unable to anticipate the problems he would cause. The organization as a whole would have benefited from executive coaching or leadership training two years earlier. Now they face legal fees and the cost of hiring outside consultants to fix the resulting problems.
It is best when upper levels of leadership, carefully select and cultivate their managers, staying tuned in to their progress during a transition. Proactive organizations begin training their new managers early to prevent the ripple effect of unskilled managers "flying by the seat of their pants." Some organizations have a business leadership coaching program inside the organization while others prefer to hire private contractors for a more objective support.
Just as the all star athlete may not make a good sports coach. The litmus test of a good leader is the willingness of subordinates to follow them. If a leader is struggling, the best way to impact the bottom line is to take action and provide the leader with opportunities to develop requisite emotional intelligence skills. Executive leadership coaching, professional trainings, workshops and seminars help accomplished employees to effectively transition into supervisory and managerial positions.