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mattbrowne's avatar

The impact of emotional capitalists - Does your job allow you every day to do what you are truly best at?

Asked by mattbrowne (31595points) February 11th, 2010

Recently I read an interesting online article published by the UK HR Magazine quoting various Gallup surveys:

”... findings confirm earlier research by Gallup which found no single factor predicts the productivity of an employee more clearly than his or her relationship with a direct supervisor. More specifically, Gallup found the main drivers of productivity for employees were feeling cared for by their supervisor or someone at work and receiving recognition or praise in the previous seven days. Both demand regular encouragement of development. (...)

People are at their best when they have the opportunity to maximise their skills and interests. Gallup found the most satisfied workers answered yes when asked: ‘Does your job allow you every day to do what you are truly best at?’ Work that creates opportunities for people to shine ultimately leads to increased productivity.

When leaders appeal to their employees’ strengths they engage the primary driver of human performance – values. The real drivers of performance are not sticks and carrots but values and vibes. The things that really matter to people are feeling valued and having the chance to contribute value. The factors isolated by the reports are those associated with emotional intelligence. Successful leaders in the new economy are those with advanced social and emotional skills. In essence they are emotional capitalists.”

What are your thoughts?

And are you allowed every day to do what you are truly best at?

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13 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Yes.I work as an artist.I have wanted to do this ever since I was a little girl.I am at my best when I can create something.I also find alot of time to procrastinate and goof off :)

BoBo1946's avatar

Speaking from personal experience Matt, no! Worked for a major insurance company for 25 years and they were very detailed oriented. Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Always loved helping people that were in trouble. I was a property insurance adjuster and worked total fire losses, hurricanes, etc…and loved the people part and that was my forta, but hated the unreal amount of documentation and paperwork. Sure, you got to justify your payment, but there is a such thing as “overkill!” And, my last 5 years, they actually cut way back on the paperwork. Lot of repetitive reports were not required. Really enjoyed my last five years…..

noyesa's avatar

No. I’m still in college and I work for a local engineering company part time doing website development. Web development is a hobby and passion of mine, but unfortunately what I’m doing here hardly counts and it’s usually more frustration than it’s worth.

My boss is awful. Has more degrees than a hot day in Honolulu, but couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper bag. Everything is about meetings, producing documents, and sending e-mails—not that I don’t see the benefit in good communication and strict documentation, but that’s not what he’s asking for. He wants these things because he seems to think that if they exist, the project is moving along smoothly. Even if they’re redundant, irrelevant, and unproductive.

It could be that I’m young, it could be that I don’t have my degree yet, but he doesn’t seem to trust the work I do. But I’m the kind of person people tend to trust. Our old general manager thought I was some kind of prodigy—he actually trusted my decision as the web developer, novel idea. My boss now… well, he wants up-to-the-minute, excruciating detail so he can know where all of my effort has been put because if I don’t, he starts to think that nothing is getting done. Software development is the kind of process that spends a lot of time not looking anything like the finished product, and he doesn’t seem to understand delayed reward.

He is the General Manager of the company. I don’t understand how he can stay sane trying to examine every line of text, e-mail, line of code, quote, service request, or anything else the company produces—and it just makes his employees believe that he wants to see everything because he doesn’t trust anyone to produce anything competently on their own.

Of course, weeks will go by without hearing anything directly from him. Friendly “hello” in the hallway, followed by a snotty passive-aggressive e-mail in my inbox right before the end of the day on Friday.

I bother going through all the detail on this because it’s the little things that managers can do to piss off, patronize, and degrade their employees that make them unenthusiastic about work they actually enjoy doing. I used to love my job. Now I’m thanking the heavens that this is temporary. I actually did leave the company to work somewhere else for a while. Even if the kind of web development I’m doing here is very simple, and I’m capable of much more, I don’t exactly mind doing it. But mixed in with the amount of political and egotistical crap I have to put up with, it makes me loathe going to work every morning. Lesson learned—if you don’t like your job, find a better one. It’s worth it.

Cruiser's avatar

I would say from my own experience that study is dead on correct. I was self employed for 16 years and have now worked here for 14. I have always had the perfect environment to do what I do best in both situations I have worked in. The only difference is here I have never been told what to do I just do what needs to get done and I have had little to no praise which is OK by me but would have been nice to have an “atta boy” now and then.

I do know he values my services enough to trust me to sell me his company which is praise enough for me and gives me the emotional capital to want to do it too!

kevbo_emergency_question's avatar

My previous employer came upon this revelation during my time there and attempted to implement changes based on those findings, but from the point of view of many who worked in the administrative departments (HR, Legal, Marketing, etc), many found that day to day behaviors remained the same as they ever did. It was very difficult for that organization to change its culture because of some entrenched VPs and other senior administrators. A few were let go after I left, and things improved some, but I think overall the behavior and culture of the “senior leaders” drove what changed and didn’t.

mattbrowne's avatar

I’m really quite optimistic that “natural selection” keeps weeding out companies which mainly rely on emotionally-crippled superiors and unempowered employees. The emotional capitalists so to speak will simply outperform their competitors.

Trillian's avatar

I agree. I believe that I’ve even pointed this out before in different threads. Right up there with money and benefits, employees need recognition and validation as being a valued, contributing asset. I could tell a story about my day job but I’m tired and still kind of sick about it.
I also concur with the Natural selection idea, as there is a specific company who is doing this very ting opposite the company for whom I work. People leave my company all the time for the other. Now I know why.

noyesa's avatar

@mattbrowne Great observation. The company I work at went through a layoff frenzy went the economy went sour, which restored a lot more balance. Our manager to engineer (eletrictal/mechanical/software) ratio was damn near 1:1, which is absurd. The majority of those who went were managerial types who did nothing but create more overhead.

Sure, their ideas seem great on paper, but at the end of the day, the company is keeping track of value added per employee, and when the shit hits the fan like it did this year, those who are assets stay and those who aren’t go.

Unfortunately, the root of the problems was the people doing the layoffs, and they’re just the same.

mammal's avatar

@mattbrowne i’m skeptical, you can put lipstick on it, chocolate coat it, if you prefer a political example.. it’s still a pig

YARNLADY's avatar

The concept makes sense, but for the sake of this discussion, I am going to nit pick the wording in the article. Nobody thinks the stick and carrot really means ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’. We all recognize that means ‘incentives’ so why use that comparison? To make it even worse the rest of the article goes on to support the use of incentives (carrots).

And, in answer to your question, yes, as a homemaker, I have the opportunity to make every day what ever I want it to be.

Trillian's avatar

@YARNLADY Incentives are ok and negative consequences are necessary. but I can look up some sources for you that explain how the top fortune 500 companies have lower turnover rates and better productivity by empowering their employees to make decisions and recognizing that the employees are a valuable commodity rather than a number. I mentioned before that Admiral Boorda first opened my eyes to “Deck-plate” management and the principles are sound.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Trillian Yes, I’m reading the empowerment approach as ‘incentive’.

mattbrowne's avatar

@mammal – You mean emotional capitalists or fair superiors are pigs too?

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