Which career paths use calculus
Feeling instead of calculation
Are our feelings not more than irrational waves of feeling to which we are at the mercy of better or worse? Or can we also use our emotions as positive forces to successfully shape our careers?
"If there is one secret to success, it is to understand the other's point of view and see things through one's eyes" (Henry Ford)
It was more than 25 years ago that I received a “career tip” that still concerns me today: “If you really want to be successful as a woman, then it is important that you learn to keep your feelings to yourself; Emotionality has no place in management. ”At the time, a manager and mentor whom I valued very much gave me that on my professional path.
Interesting how such statements are engraved in our memory. Even more - they begin to change our attitudes and with them our behavior. Because I took to heart the advice this man gave me for a long time. I worked hard to suppress my feelings when it came to my career advancement, my role in management or leadership. Without knowing what fell by the wayside.
Of course, in the last decade, the perceptions and insights of what leadership is all about have changed significantly. Last but not least, it is thanks to Daniel Goleman that "emotional intelligence" is no longer an empty phrase with which trainers and coaches try to motivate managers who are tired of training to attend another management seminar.
We have long since inhaled that good leadership is more than just setting tough goals, developing new strategies and formulating visions every quarter. We know that leaders without the ability to empathize and without a sensitive communication style are quickly perceived by employees as social dyslexics. Employee motivation and loyalty, identification with the tasks and the company - and thus success - largely depend on how well managers succeed in establishing a "relationship". A charismatic manager knows what it means to ensure human coexistence at all levels of the organization. Mutual trust, appreciation and mindfulness are the cornerstones of a good working atmosphere that provides security even in crises.
And yet - the reality is different. How often are we still confronted with the fact that feelings and empathy are not absolutely desired, let alone necessary, in executive floors. Women in particular who decide to embark on a career path then struggle with the possible “too much” of their own emotionality, which is seen as a stumbling block.
Emotionality has a negative connotation. Someone who is “emotional” is assumed to act impulsively, mindlessly, actionist and far removed from any logic and structure. These are statements about reaction patterns that tend to be ascribed to women and are all too often unreflectedly adopted as collective truth.
“Everyone sees what you seem. Few feel what you are "(Machiavelli)
However, being “emotionally intelligent” does not mean having NO emotions or not showing them. It means dealing intelligently with feelings - your own and those of others - on the (work) day. And that means above all to be able to have a good feeling for what my counterpart needs: which form of communication is adequate or how this person wants to be guided and has to be guided individually. In short: Emotionally intelligent & competent leadership means being able to enter into a relationship and perceiving my counterpart as a “whole person”.
As a manager, am I not only able to see the role, task and function of my vis a vis, but can I also adjust to their personality, attitudes, attitudes and points of view? Do I get involved with the other person who - like me - has a considerable range of (emotional) sensitivities that have to be taken into account in order for successful cooperation to be possible?
Today leadership primarily means "relationship management". It is interesting that our society ascribes the necessary social skills more to women (also a prejudice?): Women have a particularly pronounced degree of empathy, have a "natural" gift to sense early what others need, are better able to "read" it makes it easier for people to relate to what goes on in others.
However, so that these competencies and capacities can be used successfully for everyone, our emotional substructure is required. We have to have a state of what we feel, how we perceive, what we need, so that we are well and we can successfully do our (leadership) work. This presupposes that we do not detach ourselves from our feelings, but learn to perceive them, listen to them and, above all, feel (ourselves). Our emotionality is an essential part of who we are, what defines us as a personality - and what our decisions are based on! How can we ever really be "authentic" when we deny what moves us inside?
People want to be led by people.
"But how can I be empathetic, feel what my environment needs from me as a manager, if I am not able to perceive my own feelings?" This question, asked by a top manager during a coaching session, brings it up Point. The answer: not at all.
The prerequisite is to identify and allow what is going on in us, to see our feelings and sensitivities not as weaknesses but as essential strengths. Then emotionally intelligent handling of our environment - and ourselves - gets a naturalness and authenticity. We trust ourselves to act authentically and lose the fear of showing how and who we really are.
We all - women and men alike - will appreciate the positive, long-term effects of emotionally intelligent leadership. Isn't it high time to finally give these “female” skills more space on the management floor?
It took me many years to realize that my emotionality is a diamond that has MANY facets. Each and every one of these pages is an integral part of who I am. As a human. As a woman. Every day I learn anew how I can best make this piece of jewelry shine. And with the right ambient light it works more and more often!
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