I See You and You See Me, But Do I See Me?
It is absolutely clear to Bob that his colleague Karen has no clue as to how she comes across to others. The two of them are directors in a large metropolitan hospital, and competition among all the directors for resources, recognition from the chief nursing officer (CNO), and the potential for promotion is fierce. Bob really likes Karen and would love to help her gain more insight into her interactions with others and how she perceives herself in these interactions. He has watched her time and again in the Directors Council interrupting others, using sarcastic language, and demonstrating counterproductive body language and facial expressions when others present their perspectives on controversial issues. In Bob’s opinion, Karen is a very effective leader for her managers, but he wonders whether she exhibits some of the same behaviors in her meetings with her managers. It seems like Karen’s managers are satisfied in their roles and have a good relationship with Karen, but Bob can’t be sure. He really is uncertain whether he should speak to Karen about how she is being perceived in the Directors Council or whether he should just let it go because it isn’t really his issue. On the other hand, because of their friendship, Bob feels compelled to try to help Karen gain more self-awareness and read the faces of other individuals around the table for feedback on how they are reacting to her comments and how they perceive her.
The entire director team recently participated in a 360-degree analysis of their individual skills, competencies, and behaviors in their respective roles. Input from their peers, subordinates, and supervisors was received, analyzed, and developed into an overall analysis of their strengths and areas that need to be developed for them to be successful in their roles. Bob is not certain how Karen fared with the 360-degree analysis, but he suspects that some of their peers may have been critical of her behaviors. He wonders whether he should ask Karen to join him for coffee to discuss their respective assessments, but he is not sure if she would value his openness about the situation. Bob is clear that he is not willing to discuss the matter with their boss, the CNO, because he does not perceive her to be a good leader. Although it would be her role to coach Karen and encourage her to use the hospital’s resources to improve her self-awareness, Bob fears that the CNO would use the information against Karen.
Bob has spent considerable time reviewing his own results from the 360-degree assessment and has reflected on the positive and negative feedback regarding his own skills and competencies. He was pleased that his subordinates perceived him as being a very authentic leader who is committed to the employees, engages them in decisions, and is physically present in both crisis and positive situations. His subordinates perceive him to be very open and easy to engage in conversation and indicated that he values them in their roles as nurses. Although he could not determine where the input came from among the executive team, he was highly rated for his resilience and nimbleness in managing crises and other difficult situations. He seemed to be highly regarded for his character and integrity among his colleagues as well as his subordinates and supervisors. An area that was noted for further development included the need to improve his ability to find a balance between his work and personal life because he was perceived to be a “workaholic,” which had affected his personal life adversely. Those who knew Bob well realized that he had recently gone through a separation with his significant other. Other areas that Bob needed to improve were his ability to listen nondefensively when others were critical of his proposals and his ability to identify and develop some of his subordinates for a viable succession plan. Bob recognizes that he has a tendency to do everything himself instead of encouraging others to participate in activities to gain knowledge and experience to prepare them for future leadership roles. Although Bob was busy taking notes about how he could improve his own performance, he was constantly reminded of his dear friend Karen and his uncertainty about how he could most effectively help her gain more self-awareness and improved emotional intelligence.
Question 1: What level of emotional competence do you think that Bob demonstrates in his work with his subordinates, supervisors, and colleagues?
Question 2: What level of emotional competence do you think Karen demonstrates with her colleagues on the Directors Council and with her direct reports?
Question 3: Develop a script that Bob might use to talk with Karen and give her feedback about her interactions with her colleagues on the Directors Council.
Question 4: Address what leadership theory/theories is/are in use.
Key takeaways from the Chapter:
-Efforts to increase employee engagement with the work and people of health care are essential leadership activities.
-The increasing science of relationships supports the work of effective relationships.
-Emotional competence includes not only emotional intelligence but also the ability to practice and become effective emotionally.
-Moving from competent to an expert in emotional competence requires intense self-awareness, resilience, openness, and willingness to coach future healthcare workers.
-Emotional incompetence is easy to recognize but difficult to change in spite of the incredible benefits of doing so.
Bob demonstrates a high level of emotional competence in his work with his subordinates, supervisors, and colleagues. He is reflective and self-aware, as demonstrated by his review of the results from the 360-degree assessment and his recognition of the areas that he needs to develop. He is also committed to developing others, as evidenced by his concern for Karen and his desire to help her gain more self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Bob’s ability to engage his subordinates in decision-making, his commitment to their well-being, and his resilience and nimbleness in managing crises all suggest that he has a high level of emotional intelligence. He is also able to receive and incorporate feedback from others in a non-defensive manner, which is a key aspect of emotional competence.
Karen appears to demonstrate a lower level of emotional competence with her colleagues on the Directors Council and with her direct reports. Bob observes that Karen interrupts others, uses sarcastic language, and exhibits counterproductive body language and facial expressions. These behaviors suggest that Karen may struggle with self-awareness and the ability to regulate her emotions in the workplace. While Karen may be an effective leader for her managers, her behavior in the Directors Council suggests that she may not be as effective in more collaborative settings. It is unclear whether Karen has received feedback from others through the 360-degree assessment, but Bob suspects that some of their peers may have been critical of her behaviors.
Bob might use the following script to talk with Karen and give her feedback about her interactions with her colleagues on the Directors Council:
“Karen, I’ve been reflecting on our work together in the Directors Council, and I wanted to share some observations with you. I’ve noticed that at times, you interrupt others and use sarcastic language, which can be counterproductive in collaborative settings. I’m concerned that these behaviors may be impacting how others perceive you and your effectiveness as a leader. I know that you care deeply about our hospital and our team, and I believe that with some increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence, you could be even more effective in your role. I’d be happy to discuss this further with you and offer any support or resources that could be helpful.”
The leadership theory that Bob is using in his work with Karen is transformational leadership. Transformational leaders are characterized by their ability to inspire and motivate others to achieve their full potential, and they often focus on developing the emotional intelligence and self-awareness of their team members. By offering feedback and support to Karen, Bob is demonstrating his commitment to helping her grow and develop as a leader. Additionally, the focus on emotional intelligence and self-awareness aligns with the principles of servant leadership, which emphasizes the importance of caring for and developing others.