Delivering on HR

14. May, 2020

Article:
HR and Leadership

Why do great leaders inspire us? Why are we always willing to go back and work for them? They must have some special qualities that attract us to them and provide us with great satisfaction when we do work for them.

We can classify these qualities as having the vision, boundless energy and enthusiasm, great communication skills, a great understanding of the business and its customers and perhaps, the most often heard quality of charisma. It may be all of these. However, these qualities are manifest through a primal quality called emotional intelligence or EQ.

Possessing Emotional Intelligence allows the leader to create resonance with his/her people and this quality will drive performance, which in its turn will allow organisations to realise its power. Countless research has demonstrated time and again that a leader’s emotions and actions have tremendous impact on those they lead and the power to inspire, arouse passion and enthusiasm, which in turn will keep people motivated and committed.

So what is this Emotional Intelligence? Daniel Goleman in his inspiring and leadership changing monumental work describes the importance of Emotional Intelligence in leadership and to every person’s lives. What brings to mind is how we communicate. When we have to relay bad news, we can do it many ways. A good leader with the appropriate Emotional Intelligence competencies will do it with understanding, self-awareness and social skills. A very appropriate case in point was while working with Charles Schwab in Sydney, and as the head of HR of our Australian operations, had to close down our operations and retrench all our staff. Prior to the retrenchments, Charles Schwab himself came through a video Town Hall meeting and explained the situation, apologised for the hardship this will cause all of us and expressed how sad he was to do this to us. His understanding of the emotions that we were feeling at that time, in terms of our personal, financial and professional difficulties, was so apparent. He displayed and expressed compassion and empathy and a positive outlook for the future that it made all of us more energised about the future. That was an example of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership. I do remember that event to this day and his approach and would certainly return to work for that organisation if I had another opportunity, purely because of the values espoused by the CEO and Founder and the employee centric approach of the organisation.

So, how is this related to HR?

HR has a key role to play in promoting this type of leadership within the organisation by ensuring that this philosophy and the principles of Emotional Intelligence is inculcated among its employees. However, the first step is to ensure that the leadership team is on board and the core values of the organisation encapsulates the principles of Emotional Intelligence.

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