My favorite topic to talk about is Emotional Intelligence. It is mental wellness that fits into a business lexicon. We all want to be treated kindly, listened to, understood and encouraged in whatever endeavor we attempt. This is great for mental health, communication, and business as we attempt to create strong connections in all sectors.
Every talk I give to leaders regarding Emotional Intelligence, I ask “How many of you have experienced a boss or leader that has had a negative effect on your performance, career or self-image?” The room instantly fills with hands held high like the apex of a roller coaster ride. The feverish murmur among chair neighbors begins to swell, followed by slight laughter about the unbelievable treatment that they have undergone.
After a few seconds, we focus and I follow up with this question “ok then, where are these leaders in this room? The crowd now instantly quiets, and their faces tell are unsure if I am really asking them to fess up. I have never had someone admit that they were the symbiot of negative leadership that had been modeled by bad behavior. How can we all acknowledge this pandemic of leadership crisis and yet, not one of us is a carrier of the virus? Albert Bandura Social Learning Theory has long proven that even casual observation leads to repetitive behavior, even if that behavior is not positive.
Psuedo-redemption is often attempted as the leaders (who are brave enough to comment in this section of our program) are adamant that they would never do XYZ as the predecessor had. I work with both leader and employee and promise that the actions shown by leaders follow a pattern of grievances that is as dependable the hands that just went up 5 minutes earlier. The room of employees responds identically to the leaders. We are the same.
As leaders, we must constantly take an internal emotional inventory of how we react and respond to others. The thought of not being as unaware as the last leader is the smallest victory I can think of. We must own our actions, and commit to improving them with rigorous feedback. Every single interaction we have is an opportunity to improve how we relate. If I have ever been like them, (I have), I apologize and will keep striving for better. I hope to make Bandura and his bobo dolls envious.