The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Dr. Lwanga Martin Mwanje

Godfrey Kakembo, a Management Consultant, was driving down Acacia Avenue just after fixing the troublesome gearbox on his red Mitsubishi RVR when he received a call on his cell phone. He noticed the number was one of his clients, Stephen Kadaga, the head of APEX Microfinance Uganda Ltd. He pulled over to the side and took the call.

“Hello, Stephen,” he greeted. “How is the office?”

“Well, I have got a huge problem here,” answered Stephen. “A few days ago we hired a new Operations manager but I am almost having a revolt from the team. I need your help urgently to see what we can do.”

Godfrey quickly run through his diary and promised to drive by the APEX office the following day at about 2:30 pm.

Once he got there Stephen quickly brought him up to date with the issues. “I can’t believe the guy we just hired is not working out with his team. He emerged as the best in the interviews, scoring very high on the psychometric test. He has a B.Com (Upper Class Honors); a Post Graduate Diploma and is a CPA. Besides, he has also attended numerous short courses in East and Southern Africa. But things are just not working out. Since he joined two team members have resigned, morale has plunged to an all-time low and I expect more quitting!”

“You said he scored best on the psychometric test,” asked Godfrey.

“Oh, yes,” answered Stephen. “I thought he is a very bright fellow.”

“Did you use any other tool to determine his strength and weakness?”

“We asked him a few of those questions and he was without a blemish,” replied Stephen. “He has always been at the top and he could hardly identify any areas of personal weakness.”

“Well, may be that is the problem,” Godfrey said, “But I need to first investigate why other team members are not warming up to the new guy before I come to a conclusion. Can I carry out a brief employee survey?”

“Of course you can!” said Stephen. “Please, let’s get a way of tackling this situation before it escalates.”

The next week Godfrey executed an employee survey. The comments he received were quite revealing. His new staff described the new Operations Manager in these sweeping terms:

“A task master! Once I told him I was not feeling well and he said I was just lazy.”

“Always boisterous of his qualifications! He loves pointing to his successes.”

“He tore my work in front others calling it rubbish.”

“Never gets out of his office to socialize with staff and keeps all day to his grand office.”

“We hardly have meetings with him because he says there is no need.”

After receiving these comments Godfrey summarized them in an Evaluation Report of the New Operations Manager at APEX LTD and reported back to Stephen.

“My findings leave me with the conclusion that you have a classic case of manager who has a high IQ but a low EQ.”

“EQ! I have never heard of that.”

“Emotional Intelligence,” answered Godfrey. “Such a person needs coaching in people skills and Emotional Intelligence otherwise it is just not going to work out.

In 1995 the American psychologist, published the New York bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. In it, Goleman argued, that it was important especially for every manager to tune in to their emotions and expand their circles of caring and empathy. 

Occasionally, as in this case, one could find a very brilliant manager who is unable to pull a team on his side, because he knows it all or has no time to suffer fools.  Emotional intelligence is one of the most important skills for any managers.

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