In every well-lit, chic-decor office is a secret chamber of emotional intelligence which locks the keys to opportunities to succeed personally and professionally. The only problem being that the mundanes of the workplace distract us from identifying the obvious in the room.
Let's look at this role-play to understand it better.
Scene - The meeting room is empty. Our manager Ramesh is five minutes early. He enters and sits at the far end of the table. The rest of the team Mohan, Sonali, Renu and Judy walk in five minutes after the scheduled meeting time, all giggling.
Sonali- (giggling) Yes, that was so funny of him. Isn't he a total idiot.
Renu - Of course, senseless and comical.
Judy - I know, he is all over himself.
Mohan - (laughs out loudly)
(these bubbly teammates had just returned from a coffee-break in the cafeteria and were having a nice time cracking jokes on Mohan. When they see Ramesh already present in the meeting room ahead of them, drop dead quite and fill in the seats one after the other.)
Ramesh - (restless of the wait, is now assuming that these girls were joking about him.) So Mohan, if you are done with this, will you want to finish the task at hand? We have follow ups from management on why we are behind schedule and I have no answer to give. It's putting me in a bad spot now.
Mohan - But Sir, we are working hard already. You know that.
Ramesh - Yeah, I can see what you guys are working. (he smirks) It's Wednesday today and the management is expecting this task to be delivered by Monday. So please get some more seriousness and finish this off by Friday. I will review it over the weekend and then give an update to the management.
Sonali / Renu / Judy - (drop jaw, wondering why Mohan is being fired). But Sir, it is impossible to do this task by Friday. It is a month long job. We are stuck up with the technical problem already. The other DevOps team is not available either. They are pre-occupied too. This is not going to happen, Sir.
Mohan - Sir, please tell management that we will do this as soon as possible, but Monday is very unlikely.
Ramesh - Don't throw excuses at me. If you are done with your arguments, can we get back to work? I have some responsibilities here. And it would be great if you could see it from my viewpoint too.
(Ramesh walks out of the meeting room, huffing puffing and throwing around.)
Judy - Is he mad? What's wrong with him. Am I a robot to just take his orders and go about it? Has he lost his mind.
Mohan - He doesn't behave like this, normally. I have always seen him looking at the practicalities of things. Maybe he fought with wife today. (the team giggles again)
Sonali - Well, let's get back to our desks. But one thing is clear. I AM not spending my personal time or my weekend to do this task. Whether it is done or not, is NOT my problem. I don't take any music from any of my managers.
(The four nod, giggle, laugh and walk out determined to go about their business at their speed and levels of motivation.)
That's a routine (exaggerated and dramatized) situation in the workplace.
Imagine the conduct and output of the meeting if the team had a chance to communicate with Ramesh better? Imagine if Ramesh took a pause before assuming that the team was laughing at him? Imagine if the team had discussed with Ramesh the technicalities better and offered to negotiate?
Is there an elephant in the room that everyone was avoiding?
One cannot and should not assume just one person to be emotionally intelligent. It has to be brought in to practice across the floor. Emotional Maturity is expected from Renu, Sonali, Judy and Mohan too. Not Ramesh only!
I invite the reader to rewrite this story after assuming all the characters in this role-play have been trained, mentored or coached in the practicalities of Empathy and Compassion.