DISCOVERY LEADERSHIP MASTERCLASS SERIES:Organizational change and the optimization of work performance (2)


… the role of emotional Intelligence

The concept of organizational change management brings to focus the necessity to acknowledge and apply structured processes and a set of tools to control any organizational change effect.

Leadership has a unique role in every change agenda not of only design change initiatives but also a responsibility of enacting and communicating same the needed strategies, plans and stop gap measures to address any shortfalls which could derail any effective change effort and outcome.

The structure of every organization encompasses an organizational systems, practices, processes and human capital development that coherently must function to produce results. Pursuant to the operational drive and the demand for greater organizational success and effectiveness, is the key player of leadership intelligence to administer and pursue the implementation of this change effort.

Therefore, it is imperative to site the great contributory role emotional intelligence plays in all organizational change agenda and the management efforts as crucial and worth notifying.

Meanwhile, since attaining the most feasible business performance outcome is considered the most significant aim of all organizations, this series seeks to draw insight from the relevance of emotional intelligence relative to the promotion of organizational change demands, the management of work-related stress and conflicts and the factors that inure to the satisfaction of optimum work performance.

In part one of the emotional intelligence series, I recorded that the ability of the leader to identify, understand, manage and use emotions puts the leader at a key strategic position to understand and appreciate the whole system of managing both the organization and the people who work for it. As such, organizations are required to concentrate on the emotional intelligence building capacities of its leaders as a challenging variable for the sustainment of high-performance culture and the development of a competitive privilege. Accordingly, emotional intelligence plays a very vital role in the influence of job performance of employees, the promotion of the strategic ability of the organization as well as serving as a great catalyst for mitigating all stress and conflict related cancers that often affect organization efficiency and productive outcomes negatively.

Organizational Change

Having said that, to deal with organizational change behaviour and processes is to emphasize the consideration of a very profound insight into managing people, teams, or a company meaning, navigating your way through a sea of change. The emotionally intelligent manager does not just steer a course through the sea. Such a manager sets the course.

Managers are better able to see where they need to go and get their ships to that distant land by creating change. How do they do this? One method of creating change is to leverage the emotional abilities and follow a general approach, or emotional blueprint to management. 

Meanwhile, when organizations speak about change, the critical consideration is on the management of systems, processes and practices that impact results and excellence. It’s key to mention that, every organization goes through changes and how these changes are managed determine how successful, effective and resilient there is for such an organization.

However, the quest for effective change management within organizations requires new thinking, strong leadership understanding and support of how organizational change occurs. This new thinking leads to new models for change and a successful strategy definition, effective communication, training and empowerment and the support measures to deal with all counter resistant variables that can potentially destroy the change efforts.

Therefore, the desire for change in organizations and the mechanism to drive same requires an understanding of the organizations mission, the guide for an effective execution exercise, the flow of necessary information and the technology to be deployed to ensure an organized framework and tools for a successful implementation outcome.

The secret to every successful change lies beyond the visible and busy activities that surround the change itself. Successful change at its core, is rooted in how to facilitate change with one person and see to how these individuals replicate the change effect to affect others positively.

The ADKAR Model of Organizational Change Management

ADKAR is an acronym which stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. The ADKAR model of Awareness of the need for change represents a person’s understanding of the change, why the change is being made and the risk of not changing.

The lifecycle of the ADKAR model begins after a change has been identified and it provides the framework and sequence for managing the people side of change. Awareness also includes information about the internal and the external drivers that created the need for change as well as what is in it for the stakeholders.

Desire speaks to the willingness to support and engage in the change. Desire is ultimately about personal choice, influenced by the nature of the change, by an individual’s personal situation as well as intrinsic motivators that are unique to each person.

Knowledge is about the information, training and education necessary to know how to change. Knowledge includes information about behaviours, processes, tools, systems, skills, job roles and techniques that are needed to implement the change.

Ability is the capacity to realize or execute the change. The ability to turn knowledge into action is desirous. Ability is achieved when a person or group has the demonstrated capability to implement the change at the required performance levels. Reinforcement on the other hand, speaks to those internal and external factors that sustain a change.

External reinforcements could include recognition, rewards and celebrations that are tie to the realization of the change. Internal reinforcements could be a person’s internal satisfaction with his or her achievement or other benefits derived from the change on a personal level.

These elements of the ADKAR model fall into the natural order of how one person experiences change. Desire cannot come before awareness because it is the awareness of the need for change that stimulates our desire or trigger our resistance to change. Knowledge cannot come before desire because we do not seek to know how to do something that we do not want to do.

Ability cannot come before knowledge because we cannot implement what we do not know. Reinforcement cannot come before ability because we can only reorganize and appreciate what has been achieved.

Organizational commitments and practices to Change Processes

Most organizations are managing multiple projects simultaneously. However, the key to a change effort is not in focusing on each piece in isolation. Rather, it is in understanding how the pieces balance off one another, how changing one element affects the whole structure, and the potential it has to perhaps eventually make it fall.

Organizational change is a web of interrelations. Changing one area will impact and throw a different area off balance. Managing change is not like operating a machine which requires managing a fixed set of relationships. Change is dynamic with fluid relationships, and the journey will be full of unexpected challenges and wonderful learnings

The obvious question is, is your organization capitalizing on its capabilities, competing by leveraging and building the optimal organizational capabilities for resilience? How is your organization effecting its core mandate by impacting its systems and processes and human capital development through a robust and efficient change management systems and practices? The answers lie in a deliberate and conscious attempt by organizations identifying what needs change, how the change must come about and the impact the desired change may have on the organization and its stakeholders.

The ability of leadership to work together productively, often under intense pressure, is critical to this change processes. Nonetheless, it is important to admit also that, a little unproductive behaviours of a single individual has greater effect of threatening performance and standards with the possibility of cascading throughout the organization. Conversely, the right attitude of cohesive leadership in stamping out and dealing with these cancerous organizational misfits lead to productivity and efficiency across the organization.

Organizational change that ensures optimum work performance

The relative impact about job performance indicators by organizations big and small largely is centred around productivity, leadership, quality and of following organizational code of ethics, rules and principles. Different studies are illustrative that high-level possessed emotional intelligence individuals have also excellent job performances. Individuals that promote emotional intelligence have success in their career as there is a relationship between success and emotional intelligence.

Achieving emotional intelligence skills for managers are very vital in the augmentation of efficiency and job performance and it is especially of utmost importance. As there is a relationship between the nature of the employee’s job and personal knowledge level, attitude, motivations and an understanding of views, the impact effect is that, his or her emotional intelligence is directly associated with job efficiency and performance.

That notwithstanding, several factors like quality of leadership, the environment, behavioral attitudes and the lack of motivation of employees of organizations could affect job performance as well. Instituting the appropriate measures in addressing the need for setting standards to improve or enhance quality performance and rules of engagement in these regard is a considerable task for management.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence and Job Performance

The obvious question is, do Emotional Intelligence in the workplace matter? There are a lot research findings about the role emotions in the workplace play through the conduct of several research studies to support it outcomes. Relative to these studies for instance, is how managers feel and the useful indicator and predictor of organizational performance. One of such research by Sigal Barsade, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, for instance demonstrates that how a management team feels has a direct impact on a company’s earnings. She discovered that a top management team that shares a common, emotional outlook that is positive will have 4 to 6 percent higher market-adjusted earnings per share than companies whose management team consists of members with diverse emotional outlooks.

Obviously, different moods influence our thinking in different ways and that, the interaction of mood and thinking influence leadership ability to handle job related demands or performance well. Positive emotions tend to open employees up to an environment for exploration and discovery. This is echoed well by “The broaden and build” theory of Barbara Frederickson suggesting that, positive emotions do more than make us feel good. It expands our thinking, helps generate new ideas and encourage us to consider possibilities. Generally, pleasant or positive emotions motivate us to explore the environment, broaden our thinking and enlarge our repertoire of behaviours. Positive emotion dares us to be different in every field of endeavour. It helps us see new connections and generate new and novel solutions to problems. Much more, positive emotions have other effects on us. For example, happiness motivates us to play or to interact with others; smiling and laughing signal others that we are friendly and approachable. In this way, positive emotions promote social bonds and stronger social networks and also inoculate us against negative events and emotions.

If these findings hold water and relevant for application in this contemporary world of organizational change and job performance, then emotional intelligence holds the master key to unlocking leadership and management potential for sustenance and effectiveness relative to employee hiring, promotion and retention plans and the cultural maintenance practices that seek to harness skills and support the need for excellent job satisfaction. However, stressing the organizations’ need to have an understanding of the importance of emotional intelligence in the interest of job performance, would enable better implementation of mentorship, coaching and other skill development programs to retool and upskill employees to deliver on their mandates. By applying emotional intelligence in both leadership and management, can improve the manager ‘s and employees’ effectiveness and efficiency in satisfying job performances notwithstanding.

Emotional Intelligence as a Conflict and Stress Management Tool

Research has establish the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Conflict management and Occupational Stress. Today’s Jobs require understanding, communication, empathizing with and learning from team members to avoid stress and conflicts. Research has indicated that emotional competence is associated with task effectiveness and social integration. Conflict has been identified as a major aspect in the field of management and behaviour. All organizations are susceptible to conflict with no exception. Conflicts means difference which can be due to factors such as interest, values, understanding, styles or opinion-a process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party. Conflict management style are the behavioural patterns that individual employ when dealing with conflict.

Occupational stress also called job stress or work stress has been recognized as a widespread problem in almost all the organizations worldwide. Every individual experience some sort of stress in his or her jobs. Stress refers to the dynamic state caused by various physical, social and psychological demands, which is perceived by individuals as threatening or exceeding his/her coping resources. Occupational stress is an emotional and physical response of individuals to perceived harmful or threatening work place conditions.

By research, occupational stressors are grouped into Extrinsic and Intrinsic factors relative to the job performance namely:

  • intrinsic factors to the job (poor working conditions, long hours, shift work, new technology, work overload)
  • role in the organization (role ambiguity and role conflict)
  • relationships at work (relationships with colleagues, superiors, and subordinates)
  • career development (lack of job security and status incongruity)
  • organizational structure and climate (lack of participation, sense of belonging, communication)
  • Organizational interface with outside (family problems, life crises, financial difficulties, conflict)

The Impacts of Stress and Conflicts and the need for Management

Managing stress and conflicts through these tough times requires making tough decisions as a leader by balancing the mind with the heart (emotional intelligence skills). If the leader cannot make these tough decisions because he/she wants to remain too nice and as such are unable to handle negative emotions and conflicts, it is suggestive that, he might be an effective manager when times are good but flail around helplessly in times of trouble. By tough decisions I do not advocate toughness, meanness, or outbursts as a management tool but rather the identification, use, understanding, and management of the entire spectrum of our emotions to make things happen for the benefits of the employee, the leader and the organization as a whole.

Nonetheless, if the issues of stress at the work place is not properly handled, the tendency is to experience an adverse effect on job performances. Stress leads to behavioural changes and the inability for its management and control leads to physical strains, demoralized spirit and passion and a cause for impairment in functioning at workplace. Consequently, the effective stress management practices in a work-related environment is the motivation and productivity that it guarantees the organization. For when the leader and or the employee are stressed, the development of the team, meeting production deadlines and communication processes are curtailed.

Every organization is prone to some conflicts and the way leadership handles and deals with them as they happen determine its success. Different approaches call for handling conflict related issues as mention here:

Conflicts management Styles

The role of emotional intelligence and the management of Stress and Conflicts.

Emotionally intelligent people consider their emotions and others, discriminate among them and use the information to guide their thinking and action. However, they work to maintain interpersonal relationships, adopt different numerous conflicts resolution approaches or styles to prevent and or manage any conflicts to avert all possible negative reflections on job performances. Emotional intelligence again promotes better negotiations and regulations and ensures, a well-integrated team, enhancement of creativity and good performance. Emotionally intelligent individuals are able to manage their emotions well to avoid confrontations.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence and empathetic leadership’s impact can make or break employee engagement, productivity and shift the course for any organizational change and fortunes.

Discovery… Thinking solutions, shaping visions.


The writer is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group. He is an Executive Director and the Lead Coach in Leadership Development and best Business Management practices for Discovery Leadership MasterclassCONTACTS:

|Thought Leadership | Training & Dev. |Management Consultancy |Business Conference|

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]


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