Is it always true that if we work harder we will do better? In times like we are passing through now, if we put our heads down and push are we doing the right thing? What happens if we are already working very hard and if we are already expending more of ourselves than we like and leaving nothing for our personal lives – the wringings from a dishcloth. Is this sustainable?
The term work smarter is very old. However the term applies still to the concepts of using your efforts more wisely. What about working more intelligently? A friend of mine once said to me – smart is short term – intelligence is long term. I see a lot of well meaning managers and leaders, leading by example, burning the candle at both ends and bringing their people with them. For a time the work culture in Japan for instance precluded you leaving the office before the boss left even if it meant staying until midnight. Corporate in Japan had to turn off the lights in their buildings to make people go home. Bosses mean well and often lead this way – “work harder and we’ll get through this!”
But what about working more Intelligently. What about waking up your people to Awareness and making them more Emotionally Intelligent? What about using training to improve the success of your people, who properly motivated use these new skills to be better in all facets of their jobs. We have been hearing for years that we need to encourage people to be leaders and to strive independently for their team in their own interests as well as the teams. Well what about giving them the tools to develop their Self Awareness, Self Regulation , Empathy and Social Skills, all of which are directly related to success.
In 2004 Stanford’s Graduate School of Business stated that “Emotional intelligence skills such as vision, building relationships and developing people are more important to leadership success than typical leadership traits, such as external/market orientation, financial acumen and planning“. This study involved 265 corporate executives, directors, managers, business owners, and consultants. Sir John Egan, former head of the Confederation of British Industry, BAA and Jaguar is quoted as saying that “It is the really inspirational leaders who stand out in a crisis…Emotional intelligence is a big plus in hard times“.
I met someone the other evening – a small business owner – who said that becoming aware of his personality type made an immediate difference to the running of his business. He said he was able to re-organise his and others work to match his strengths. I have watched how the processes that improve awareness and Emotional Intelligence build better teams, comradeship and networks in business.
Better still its something we can do something about. Its not “out there” with the financial difficulties, its internal. We can get our people awake and working better together by applying simple techniques and opening up their awareness of themselves and others quite readily.
And success breeds success.
First Published 2009