When Leaders Pay More Attention To Performance And Neglect Emotions

By Joseph Tan|07-07-2017 | 6 Min Read
Are You Reaching Out to Someone's Emotions Today?

Feelings are facts.The fact is that human beings are emotional creatures. Yes, we do have our rational sides, but when looking at what influences our behaviours the most, research shows that we base 70% of our decisions on emotional factors and 30% on rational factors (Driving Employee Engagement, Gallup 2014).

The employees of today are no longer turning up to work for work sake – there are now multiple emotional elements at play which cannot be addressed by just having clearer job descriptions or even specific key performance indicators.

I am not saying that a focus on performance is not important, rather a focus on performance only is necessary but not sufficient to create sustainable performance. The likelihood of sustainable performance is higher when there is emotional stability.

From an engagement standpoint, emotional stability is defined as the personal state of well-being preceding the demonstration of motivated, sustainable performance. In other words, the right internal state of the employee becomes the seed bed for contribution and performance at a deeper level.

Here’s the good news – you don’t need to be a trained psychologist in order to create this sense of emotional stability in your organization. It begins with the habit of not routinely ignoring the efforts of your employees.

Employees who do not feel adequately recognised are twice as likely to say they will leave their company in the next year (Gallup workplace poll, 2005).

According to Gallup’s well-known Q12 employee engagement survey, variation in the area of recognition or praise for doing a good work is responsible for 10 to 20% differences in productivity, revenue and customer loyalty. This is a significant contributor!
 
This might interest you:How To Woo Employees With Empathy
 
Have we become so focused on the bottom-line that we no longer check-in on the emotional state of the team members? There are three emotional disciplines, when practised, will ensure that we put the horse (emotional stability) before the cart (high performance).
That means, as a leader, you need to first of all, address the emotions, then you will be able to influence the performance.

  • The emotional discipline of being available
  • The emotional discipline of being humble
  • The emotional discipline of by being sensitive

Being available

To be available is a commitment to be flexible with your own schedule and priorities in such a way that people are more important than tasks.

This requires discipline because we tend to be self-centred when it comes to how we plan our time. Availability, on the other hand, helps employees create a workplace where individuals contribute their talents in order to achieve shared goals.

When practising availability, there is this overall sense that we are all in this together and that resources are shared to achieve the common good of the team. Here are two ways by which you can hone the practice of being available to others:
1. Ask questions in order to find out what others need – Just giving out instructions alone may not be sufficient, especially if the other person is new to the role.

Just the act of asking questions already demonstrates your sincerity of wanting to connect with the other person.
2. Resist the temptation to guard your own “turf” – This may sound paradoxical but take the counter-intuitive step of helping others to succeed and in so doing, create deep team engagement and loyalty.

Being humble

Humility is acknowledging that achievement does not come about by your hands alone, rather it is the result of the contribution from others.

Despite the popular image of the super-confident leader who has all the answers, the reality is this – there is no such thing as a self-made leader. Everyone of us are where we are today due to the investment made by others in our lives.

As you understand the benefits you have received, you can develop an attitude of gratitude for others’ contributions.

Humility acknowledges those who provided opportunities, improved your talents, helped you recover from mistakes, made your life more enjoyable, or criticise you.

Let others know what you appreciate about working with them – True appreciation communicates respect because there is a willingness to work with people who are different from yourself for a cause greater than your own personal agenda.

Accept criticism, and consider others’ ideas – Humility allows you to receive criticism and benefit from experience. Correct a humble person, and he or she will learn something. This type of attitude greatly contributes to the emotional stability of the team.

 
Being sensitive

How well are you in monitoring the feeling and desires of others so that you can respond appropriately? Seeing from another’s perspective is like using binoculars.

You will see additional details, but they will not mean much unless you know what you are looking at.

Similarly, sensitivity can help you only when you relate to others from a desire to do the right thing.
 
See also:When You Need To Give A Hug
 
Individuals often struggle with sensitivity, not because they cannot understand others but because they see themselves as right instead of looking to find what is right.
1. Pay attention to mannerisms and other small indicators that someone is worried or concerned – When a person is depressed or sad, he or she would seldom broadcast his or her feelings openly. It requires sensitivity to perceive the true attitudes and emotions of those around us.
2. Do not presume to know why a person reacts a particular way – Put yourself in the shoes of those you need to understand.

Misunderstandings do the most damage when individuals do not honestly confront others, do not recognise real issues, or do not know how to approach conflicts.


Even when you do not immediately understand, ask non-threatening questions and help others sort out and explain their thoughts.

Emotions need engagement

Needful as it is, emotions cannot exist in a vacuum else it will be self-directed.


What is required is an engaged culture where emotions are accepted and processed in such a way that it is directed towards the long-term benefit of the individual which eventually will raise the performance of the team.

If you are managing a team, remember – you are not just managing performance, you are also managing the emotional state of the team as well.

You might be surprised – a small act of emotional connection, a sincere gesture of praise and recognition or a listening ear can go a long way. This is the secret to sustainable high performance, why not start by reaching out to someone’s emotion today?

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Joseph is a Leaderonomics faculty trainer who is passionate about engaging with leaders to transform culture in organisations. Previously, he was CEO of Leaderonomics Good Monday. He is currently based in the United States
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