Article (November-2018)


Do not win an argument, forgive others

Dr. Deepak Malhotra

Designation : -   Chief People Officer

Organization : -  NSHM KNOWLEDGE CAMPUS, Kolkata


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How do you describe the concept of workplace emotions and how far it affects your professional and career growth?
DM Emotions shape our belief and due to diversity, re-organisations, mergers, transfers, change has become constant in our one-click lifestyle. Most of us are juggling multiple priorities with limited resources.  To succeed in today's work environment, says Daniel Goleman, author of Working with Emotional Intelligence, it's important to understand our emotions, control our reactions, and recognize how our emotions affect our actions and the actions of others. Happy and engaged workers are productive, leading to approximately 20 per cent spike in performance (University of Warwick). A dissatisfied employee suffers from more physical ailments ranging from headaches, gastritis, high blood pressure, and other health issues which affect productivity. Just like any happy (or unhappy) family, our emotions have an infectious impact on those around us at work.
In reality is it possible to control your emotions all the time when you know you are spending more time at your workplace than your home?
DM Managing our emotions, enables us to handle the changes and challenges of diverse culture and workplace, such as adjusting to a new boss or co-worker, working on a team, or handling a conflict with a co-worker or customer. Emotions are derivatives of our beliefs, sometimes hard to control. I strongly believe that if we can change the way we manage our emotions at work or in life, we would be more productive, engaged, happy, and overall satisfied.  Some practical suggestions to become emotionally healthy in the workplace :
  • Weigh your own feelings (situational).
  • Prioritise and place in order, pick "must-dos" based on urgency and importance matrix.
  • Affirm yourself, ask everyone around to be reasonable.
  • Choose your battles, don't win an argument & loose a war.
  • Let it go. Forgive others. "Un-forgiveness is as effective as drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."
In today's work world where multi-generational workforce is working together, what approach would be best suited for emotion management, since all these generations have different expectations and varied thought process.
DM A happy workplace can have significant impact on the business results and the overall success. It is no rocket science to conclude that there is a huge impact of engagement on productivity. Diversity impacts directly on individual's skills or knowledge fissures, technology management, self-confidence, multi-tasking drive, ability to peruse challenges, and work in teams. This is different for different age groups. There is no one-fit-for-all approach at an organization level. Since there's no such thing as a perfect organisation, you must decide what you can do today to make your office a happier place. Feelings drive emotions. Learning to manage our most challenging emotions takes effort, but the payoff is big.
Performance either makes or breaks an organization in testing times. You as a people leader should know, who would fit in your organization, what will it take for a good team member to stick with the organization, and how would they like to be treated. Engagement also directly depends on the value system of the organization. It's important to align opportunities to learn and grow, aiding environment which continually supports performance, work and life balance, and attainable booty month on month. It is interesting to note that more than 60 per cent of engaged employees report positive fitness and are happy to be there.
What is the role of HR in creating an environment for maintaining an emotional balance at the workplace?
DM The blurring of personal and professional life calls for an emotionally intelligent employee. I strongly feels it is an equal responsibility of HR and people leaders to drive the same. We must create solutions that make a positive difference to people and organisation. We must go beyond and look for possibilities unlimited. Our work must drive through towards a future that is more humane, and a lot more liveable. Given, the current context of diverse culture and educational background of the workforce, it increasingly becomes the responsibility of the Organization (or the Human Resource function) to build this culture and the competency.
a. We must enable an ethos of openness at the workplace.
b. Provide training to managers for handling milestone events, as people stick with you for learning opportunities.
c. Institutionalization of the cross-culture groups.
d. Identify role models and who may champion at managing emotions.
e. Train on self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
How do you see the leadership styles evolve to cater to the emotional needs of the employees? Which leadership style would work best in today's times?
DM Leaders fall too easily into the trap of seeing the people who work for them as employees first and people second. Yet, it's the people who determines whether or not your company will be successful. Decoding emotion takes an understanding of different communications and personality styles. Effective leaders lead with emotion. They do this by learning or using four skill sets :
  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-management.
  • Social-awareness.
  • Relationship-management.
A manager is someone who facilitates team member's success and on the other hand a leader leads based on strength and not titles. A great manager allows different leaders to inspire and emerge. Based on the situation it may be any of the following styles of leadership :-
  • The pacesetting leadership.
  • The influential leadership.
  • The affiliative leadership.
  • The coaching leadership.
  • The intimidating leadership.
  • The egalitarian leadership.
If you take two cups of authoritative leadership, one cup of democratic, coaching, and affiliative leadership, and a dash of pacesetting and coercive leadership "to taste," and you lead based on need in a way that elevates and inspires your team, you've got an excellent recipe for long-term leadership success.
While emotion is a very human concept, do you think technology does have a role to play in creating effective emotional management practices at workplace?
DM By integrating emotional intelligence with the existing artificial intelligence, AI is taking a crucial turn on its journey to becoming a transformational technology. AI technologies lack essential factors like emotional intelligence, that's why AI has not succeeded in taking over a major aspect of our careers and lives. Infusing emotions, empathy, and morality is the next milestone for this amalgamation. The buzz around artificial emotional intelligence is real. Leaderships that will able to effectively incorporate contextual understanding and empathy into their technologies will become the front-runners in this race to technological excellence. However, they must also be cautious of the social and personal implications of such a huge transition.
Tell us an incident which required you to exercise great control over your emotions while at workplace and your learning from it.
DM As a people leader we face such incidents on day to day basis. It is very difficult to single out something. Throughout my career I have worked with diverse teams and I believe every day I am learning something new including from this interaction with BW.  Tomorrow is already here and the best - prepared leaders are those leading in the future. So dare to be bold and make EI a part of your organization's leadership development skills, it could well be the differentiator you need. Agility and the ability to change and transform quickly are strategic business drivers that can't be ignored.