Organizations get the senior managers to sit together for talent review sessions and decide who goes further. The HR team rolls out the results and managers often are anxious while dishing out the letters one by one. The grapevine keeps churning various theories to explain why someone got a bigger raise or a promotion. Some celebrate openly; some sulk yet put a brave front while the rest openly protest and revolt. Water cooler conversations keep churning out various theories to explain the results.
In any case, there is a certain amount of subjectivity while judging the potential and the future promise. One uses several instruments and methods to make the process objective. However, the common theories which do the rounds as well as the discussions in talent review sessions have many things in common!
They review the outcomes delivered and the behaviours demonstrated by the person. And hence, they decide how the person is likely to behave in future and what value the person brings to the table. Every organization outlines a set of behaviours which are important for them and assess the talent along those aspects. There are a set of capabilities such as applying financial acumen, thinking strategically, making rational decisions, selling, public speaking etc. can be developed with relative ease in comparison with capabilities which are softer in nature.
Softer skills hold the key!
Leaders need to be fearless, adaptable, collaborative; consider the big picture in their day-to-day work; build a culture of excellence. These are examples of softer capabilities which one needs to grow over a period of time. Often we learn these by observing our seniors. Each of these have multiple elements : establishing trust with people, being flexible about one’s ideas, listening to the others, applying intellectual bandwidth and acting with integrity.
This is way different from what we do in the initial part of our careers. We have well-defined tasks to complete, clear methods to carry out the tasks and transparent methods to measure outcomes. We have very limited grey zone. However, as one gathers experience and takes on tasks which are strategic in nature, the unclarity increases and several uncertainties come up. So, it is obvious that one should be able to sail in choppy waters keeping the troop focused on the goals, enthusing them along the journey, monitoring the state of affairs, making course-corrections on an ongoing basis and planning for the future! So, you need a strong emotional quotient.
Patience is a virtue!
Given the times that we live in, all of us get used to quick results. Fast food and quick service restaurant are the order of the day. Round-the-clock television, Internet, Emails, Chat services and Social channels have transformed our lives. We want action and immediate feedback.
Unfortunately, leading a team and learning these skills does not happen this way! Members of a team do not develop trust on their leader based on an email or a video call. Results of the team are observed hourly or daily, but the performance over a period of time determines if the team is doing well. Often many projects take a few weeks, months or at times, quarters to show results. Sparks of brilliance win us applause but they are transient. What matters is steady glow of the lamp! That calls for staying power which is nothing but emotional intelligence!
It is hard work!
Most often what we know about us is way different from what the others know about us. Secondly, there are many aspects of our own personality, knowledge and beliefs which are unknown. So, one has to first invest energies to discover and unravel oneself. We act in a certain manner because we hold certain ideas and philosophies in a certain way. Conflicts in a team take place because we fail to appreciate the perspective of the other.
This is easier said than done. One has to be at it and keep practising the skills of understanding the perspectives of the other, use them while influencing a group’s thinking and resolving conflicts.
All the way up, what matters is Emotional intelligence!