Overfocus on technical skills

All managers on the planet have to find the optimal balance between getting results and the impact on people.

All managers on the planet have to find the optimal balance between getting results and the impact on people. What we overemphasize is the getting results part. Which means that managers are scrambling to try to get those results in ways that they know; the ways they have on hand.

So what you find managers doing, in lieu of having proper training in leadership, is they are hard on people. They have high quotas and targets. They are threatening to people, telling people that if they don’t make their quota they’re gonna lose their job. They do ridiculous things like fire the lowest performing person on a monthly basis.

You know there’s really two motivators for us. One is the carrot and the other is the stick and we respond much better to the carrot. What’s in it for us? how is it going to benefit us? When we know those things and understand those things then it’s much better for creating the kind of workplace culture that people want to work in.

People are attracted to that particular organization that has taken the care and attention to create that kind of an attractive culture that’s where they want to stay. They don’t want to leave.

People have attraction problems and they have retention problems when they don’t pay attention to workplace culture. And in order to create workplace culture they assume that their managers have the personal and interpersonal skills to create that kind of culture.

But they don’t necessarily.

In fact, that the woman who made the concept of psychological safety famous, Amy Edmondson, the Harvard University business professor, she wrote in her book, The Fearless Organization, that many managers don’t have the emotional intelligence to create psychological safety. Now I’m paraphrasing her because the actual details of that quotation are many managers don’t have the emotional intelligence skills to realize when their people are holding back, when their people aren’t asking the questions they need to ask. And this is all part of being intelligent about emotions. It’s understanding that emotions drive everything that we do and that emotions are far more important in our behaviour than we ever thought through much of the 20th century. We always knew that emotions were important but at the same time you’ve also heard “let’s leave emotions out of it.” ”Let’s use cold hard logic on this.”

The overfocus is on technical skills and results, not on the people.

Listen to the whole interview on Be the Anchor.

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