EQ. Emotional quotient. Emotional intelligence. Call it what you like. Everyone says it like the new “phrase du jour” but how many people have it? How many people talk about it but don’t really practice it? How many of us, especially those who are stewards of our company’s biggest asset - people (aka managers) - actually know what it is and how to get it?
Emotional intelligence is not just the phrase that pays. It is, in my humble opinion, essential to being the best version of a people manager you can be. You can look up the definition of EQ and slice it every way to Sunday, but for me, it is all about connection. The way a manager connects to an employee and uncovers how they communicate, how they learn, what motivates them, why one thing is more important over something else. It is the way we create trust through authenticity and transparency. It is a trusted connection that is not to be eschewed and it isn’t a buzzword that will drift away as soon as the next new, shiny concept comes along.
Several studies have supported what we have all heard - that people leave managers, not companies. Yet so many managers that I have worked with spend very little time on building their EQ skills and finding ways to connect to employees beyond the projects, tasks, goals, results and to-do’s that drive the day-to-day operations in a business. Driving results is job #1, right? Results don’t happen unless people make them happen. You can have the best strategies and tactics in the world, but if you don’t spend the requisite time engaging and inspiring your employees in ways that are meaningful to them and drive real connection to the impact their having – well, strategies mean nothing.
I believe in coaching – helping people discern the issues at hand; leading them to discover the right answer, and guiding them toward visioning a solution. It’s an inclusive, empathetic way to manage – focused more on reflection rather than direction. Embracing a coaching mentality – pick whatever model you like – (I like the STRIDE model, personally – Strengths, Target, Reality, Ideas, Decision, Evaluation) – can help any manager become more inclusive, build more empathy, unlock motivations and build the critical social skills (think: influence, communication, leadership, change agency, conflict resolution, partnership, contracting) necessary to be not only a well-liked manager, but an effective one, too.
There was an article on Psychcentral.com about EQ. It cited that success is based in small part on your IQ and in larger amounts on your emotional capabilities. With those kinds of numbers, what do we have to lose in building a little emotional muscle? We have everything to gain – and so do your employees.
If you're curious about how to build EQ within your leaders and their teams, reach out. We have learning programs specifically designed toward EQ and trust.
Passive search? Actively looking? Who cares. I want the curious candidate.
There is a lot of talk going on out in the talent attraction world about what is better: the passive candidate who isn’t looking or the active candidate who is on the hunt. Frankly, I don’t care. I don't believe that the sense of urgency defines whether a candidate is good or bad; it just gives insight into additional motivations the person may have and may lend some view into the level of openness someone has about the type of role that they are going after. You can find someone who hasn’t thought about leaving their company and hasn’t taken an interest in looking elsewhere – and that same person could also be someone you don’t exactly want in your culture. I am more interested in finding out whether the person seeks things out – and that may or may not be seeking the next job. Dollars over donuts, time and time again, I’ll take the curious candidate over the complacent one.
What then, exactly, is the “curious” candidate? I think about it as the never-ending thirst. I want to find the person who has a history of asking questions; questions of themselves, their colleagues, and their company. It is the person that seeks to understand the “what for;” the “why” behind the what, and more importantly, the “how” behind it all. This is the person who has tried new things and sometimes won; more importantly, they have tried and then taken the time to consider what happened and what could have been done differently. They are also likely the person who wonders what their role was and what they could have done differently. These are the people that learn and grow and cause others, through their curiosity, to find new things and evolve.
These are the candidates who, when I ask if they have questions, have some to ask. They don’t just have the basic questions – you know – the ones about benefits, culture and work/life balance. They ask how decisions get made in the company. They ask what the team dynamic is like and who the influencers are on the team; they ask about what makes them so. They ask how employees get involved in driving strategy and getting things done. They ask what the non-negotiables are in the culture and why those are so important. They ask how open to change the company is and what is expected of employees in driving change. They seek to understand the underpinnings of the company – not just what we do, but why we do it and how it gets done.
Having the hunger for making things better through understanding spurs creativity and energy that moves things. This is the positive conflict that drives innovation and we need more curiosity out there. When I coach hiring managers, I tell them that these are the people they want to hire. When I mentor individuals, I tell them that these are the people they want to be. They are the curious ones – and those are the ones I want to talk to. And eventually, hire.
f you want a different way to discover, engage and empower those curious candidates who will seek to better your organization, give Verte Square a call. We'd be happy to help.
I was recently asked to submit thoughts for an article about candidate experience and what gives it the "wow" factor. I have lots of thoughts on that specifically (another post) but believe that candidate experience doesn't just end with the "hire." What you build in terms of candidate value proposition should link seamlessly with the employee value proposition and the experience should blend from candidate to employee, without edges. What took you to get that candidate to your company should be what keeps them there as an employee - and what you do in those first days can make all the difference.
Every business is different, to be sure. What it takes and how long it takes for a new employee to be fully functioning differs immensely, so it’s important to get alignment on what success looks like for the landing period. On-boarding should not be designed to overwhelm the employee and bring them to optimum or high-performance; ideally they will build that ability the longer that they are in role flexing the muscles you build during on-boarding. It should include what is needed to make them functional in role and be the missing link that helps to bring things together and paint the picture of success. It should give them what they need to start that journey of success.
How they get there is where the planning comes in so that every employee receives the same, high-quality exposure that gives them what they need to be successful. This can be done through a set of experiences that ready the new employee to spend the first few weeks or months getting the hang of how things get done. Important to root it in the values of the company - and help them get the connections, learning and skills that will make them successful in the long run.
If you're on-boarding program doesn't fit in the puzzle of business success, give us a call at Verte Square. We have partnered with clients to teach them how re-frame candidate experience to bring the results they and their candidates deserve.