I recently spoke at a multi-day educational conference on different aspects of emotional intelligence. At the end of each presentation, people came up asking for some advice or coaching in situations where people are bullied. Some people asked, “What can I do if I am being bullied?” Others asked, “What can I do if I see others being bullied?” It appeared as if these people were overwhelmed and suffocating in the emotions that accompanied their experience. Listening to people’s experiences prompted a fair amount of introspection and a desire to address the issue of bullying whenever it occurs.
How important is Emotional Intelligence to your organization’s success? No other program you will ever adopt in your organization will have as much impact if you are trying to do them with emotional children. The studies in this area are overwhelmingly clear in saying that nothing good happens in your organization if you cannot act like the bigger person!
Bullying causes immense personal grief as well as inhibiting employee work performance and work passion. Even so, it is all too common that bullying is ignored in organizations. Bullying often takes the form of subtle behaviors over time as opposed to bold actions – so, it can be difficult to gauge if a particular boss or employee is bullying.
Often whenever a change is introduced, especially when there is a strong following involved, there is going to be resistance. A recent study revealed that the well-known target of 10,000 steps a day will boost our health is a complete fallacy. Science wasn’t the foundation for that daily target. Lead researcher and Harvard professor I-Min Lee noted, “It likely derives from the trade name of a pedometer sold in 1965 by Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company in Japan called Manpo-kei, which translates to ’10 000 steps meter’ in Japanese.”
Changing daily practices is about creating new habits: clarifying desired practices, evaluating current practices, then closing any gaps. Research says that developing new habits requires demonstration of new behaviors for 21 days – and there’s no time like the present to start!
Are the stories being told within your organization today the kind of stories that clarify your desired culture? Storytelling is one of the most effective and impactful methods for communicating the desired culture of your organization to its members. For centuries, tribes of all kinds have utilized storytelling to support their desired culture. In man’s early history, those stories were told around the campfire each evening, with tribe members going to sleep with a clear image of preferred tribe behaviors, values, and norms in their minds.
During a session with a culture change client, the organization’s president had an epiphany: “For 30 years I thought my job was to manage processes and results. This culture change journey has helped me redefine my job – to manage people’s energy.”
Cornell University professor Dr. Tony Simons’ powerful article, “The High Cost of Lost Trust,” appeared in the Harvard Business Review in 2002. In that piece, he described his team’s efforts to examine a specific hypothesis (“Employee commitment drives customer service”) in the US operations of a major hotel chain. They interviewed over 7,000 employees at nearly 80 properties and found that employee commitment drives customer service, but, most critically, a leader’s behavioral integrity drives that and more.
Over 30 years ago I had a conversation with a teenager that caught me completely off guard – and reminds me of a valuable principle to this day. While I have a very well-honed skill for catching people doing things wrong – if I want to be an effective leader, I need to catch people doing things right. I work on this every day, with clients, peers, and bosses – greatly because of the jumpstart this conversation gave me.
As a leader, your credibility is maintained, day by day, when you do what you say you will do. For example, if you announce that, from this point forward, every team member will be expected to demonstrate our team’s valued behaviors, you have set a standard. Educating team members about desired valued behaviors is important, but, without accountability, those valued behaviors are just one more set of expectations that your employees can ignore.