It doesn’t seem to matter where I go, the message is loud and clear – in the technology industry there is so much opportunity to develop people in most areas of EI – emotional intelligence and the HR industry continues to advocate how important this is now and for the future success of IT companies.
- While technical skill is paramount, rapid growth puts increased pressure on employees as they promote and become managers.
- Companies don’t have time to train people to meet the increased demands when expansion is imminent.
- Multi generational workers have communication challenges between them as they are motivated by different factors.
- Gen X and Gen Ys need development and if they don’t see a career path in a short period of time, both retention and engagement become risky for employers.
- Globalization puts added pressure on people to learn to communicate more effectively with other countries, foreign stakeholders and teams.
- Self confidence and self-awareness are areas that contribute to good management and many technology workers need to develop in these areas in order to lead.
Welcome Emotional Intelligence. Psychologist Daniel Goleman identifies five key qualities necessary to demonstrate adequate EI.
- Self awareness
- Self regulation
- Social skills
While most of us have some of these to a certain degree, others need to take up the EI torch in order improve their work environment and especially team collaboration. For some people this means developing aspects of their personalities that have rarely been accessed.
The typical IT professional in the trenches can spend much of their day working on screens and not dealing with relationships and ‘live’ problem solving. Once these folks prove their technical prowess combined with their value as an employee, companies need to consider how they can move them up and empower them to get along with others and increase their exposure to teams, decision-making while developing them to increase their value to the organization. Many of these employees have had little or no management experience and this can create stress and concern to individuals and to companies focused on driving business.
Time is a premium in companies large and small and resources being dedicated to training are often tight or even non existent. People are expected to both mentor and learn on the job. While this is advantageous for many reasons, there simply aren’t the hours in the day if the business is expanding rapidly.
Many workers are motivated by career opportunity and feeling valued, appreciated and listened to. Sometimes it really is this simple. With time constraints many companies don’t spend the time necessary to provide these opportunities to their people. A long list of problems ensues, engagement levels drop and presto! All of a sudden you’ve got people spending more time looking for a new job than doing their current one.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a hot topic in HR circles. In IT there’s no easy fix but engaging an external coach can be part of this development. Helping people to improve their communication is fundamental in coaching and if employers and employees are motivated, positive change can take place in a short period of time. So consider the short term investment or try experimenting with one employee who already brings your organization value. Don’t wait until you’ve got big people problems and disharmony in your culture. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised what is possible.
It is often said in HR that “you can teach new skills but you can’t change behaviours”. I disagree with this after working in a number of settings and the results can be both exciting and productive both for individuals and companies.