What follows is an excerpt from Caroline Stokes’ latest book, Elephants before Unicorns: Emotionally Intelligent HR Strategies To Save Your Company, published by Entrepreneur Press. (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Target and Walmart)
Discover Your Elephants: Workplace Diagnostic
Before you start identifying the elephants that are dragging your company down, you need to understand your organization’s EQ. The process of increasing emotional intelligence starts with you and the other people leaders in your company and then filters down to teams and individuals which becomes the culture of your organization.
By diagnosing your leadership’s EQ, you can:
- See which areas of EQ you need to improve to lead most effectively.
- Gain insight into team dynamics.
- Provide other leaders with accountability as you all seek to grow your EQ, and receive accountability for your own growth.
- Clarify how leadership dynamics affect workplace function.
Let’s say, for example, that the CEO and CFO of your company are constantly at odds. On the surface, the cause of the conflict appears simple. The CEO has grand ideas; the CFO claims they’re not in the budget. After conversations with the CEO, the CFO comes away frustrated. He does not feel that he can express himself or that the CEO understands where he is coming from. The CEO, by contrast, is constantly annoyed by what she perceives as the CFO’s “small-minded thinking.”
Both take the EQ assessment. The CEO scores very low on impulse control, while the CFO scores low on assertiveness. The assessment does not say that either the CEO or the CFO is a “good” or “bad” person. It merely provides information to help both gauge their current EQ.
With this information in hand, the CEO and CFO are able to have an honest conversation. The CEO acknowledges her impulsiveness and recognizes how it must frustrate the CFO, who has the budget to worry about. The CFO talks about the difficulty he feels being assertive and commits to speaking up more. He asks the CEO for support in this so he can feel heard in their conversations. The CEO agrees. Going forward, the two can relate to each other from a heightened place of understanding.
A healthy leadership team with highly developed EQ lifts the entire organization. It’s like the old adage: On an airplane, put on your oxygen mask before helping your seatmate. People leaders must first tend to their own EQ development if they’re going to help their organizations become healthy. Once they have a healthy baseline level of EQ, only then can they tackle their company’s elephants. If your EQ is not where it needs to be, I highly suggest hiring a coach who can help you evolve.
In this chapter, I will walk you through some simple diagnostics you can use to get a feel for where your company stands in terms of challenges. The following diagnostic, shown in Figure 2.1 starting on page 11, is designed to help you and your fellow people leaders identify your company’s elephants. Once you do that, you’ll be able to attract the type of unicorns your company has always dreamed of.
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