Tendulkar, Greg Chappell and the Ringmaster: Building Robust Emotionally Aware Leadership

Speaking on the launch of his much-awaited autobiography ‘Playing it my way’, the batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has hit out at Chappell, calling him a ‘ringmaster’ who imposed his ideas on the players without showing any signs of being concerned about whether they felt comfortable or not.

Not surprisingly Harbhajan Singh, VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan have backed Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s claims over former Indian coach Greg Chappell.

Studies of professional sports teams reveal similar results: Quite apart from the ups and downs of a team’s standing, its players tend to synchronize their moods over a period of days and weeks. The more cohesive the group, the stronger the sharing of moods, emotional histories , and even hot spots. People who work as teams in workplace pass on their feelings to one another leading to collective emotions of the group which can be both positive and negative.

The monkey-see monkey-do neurons of the limbic system in people catch feeling from one another even without speaking to one another. Not surprising then, that these feelings were being transmitted within the Indian team, in spite of no open discussions about the same in the dressing room.

The leader of the group (the person with the most formal or informal power) acts as the team’s emotional source. A true leader must through his language and behaviour have a positive emotional impact on the group’s collective emotions. The leader is the one whom the team looks towards for guidance and empathy during times of stress and uncertainty and his emotional state quickly rubs onto the team. Everyone models the boss.

Stress and uncertainty both are an integral part of the corporate and sports world and leaders at all levels must realise that they need to connect to people at the emotional level and drive the collective emotions of their teams in the right direction. Tangible business results are a function of motivation, passion and commitment and leaders need to create this climate in their teams and organisation. Leaders need to be aware of this emotional authority which comes from their formal authority and use it in ways to support individual and organisation goals.

Research in recent times has now set the stage for leaders at all levels to understand emotional intelligence as a critical skill to develop. Neuroscience has converted this so called soft skills to a hard skills backed by scientific data and improved efficacy of training people on this critical aspect. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management are the four domains of emotional intelligence.

Leadershape as a premium organisation working in areas of demystifying these domains has identified seven steps of moving from “Rational Ego-based As-usual Leadership??? to “Robust Emotionally Aware Leadership???. These seven steps are

  1. Understanding Leadership
  2. Increased Self Awareness
  3. Learning to manage own Emotions
  4. Use different EI Leadership Styles
  5. Create a performance-enhancing Culture
  6. Contract between Follower and Leader
  7. Identify Strengths and Key Development Needs.

The outcome of these interventions will enable leaders to commence on their individual and unique journey to develop new behaviours and habits while building on key strengths.

(for details on these interventions please mail to pavan@pmconsulting.in)

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