Jack was a high potential actuary on the fast track to a senior level leadership role. He was brilliant and everyone knew it – he made sure of that. But his 6’2”, 250 lb. stature, coupled with his in-your-face intensity, became a stumbling block. Plus he was prone to emotional outbursts when others failed to meet his high standards. His peers, management and even some clients found him intimidating. The junior associates he was responsible for mentoring rarely approached him. He was derailing his own career.
What Jack needed was a healthy serving of self awareness to recognize how his emotions were controlling him. He also needed a dose of social awareness to see how his behavior impacted others and that it was impairing his ability to move up. Have you ever heard the phrase “hold up the mirror for someone”? That’s what we did.
We reviewed his 360 feedback and identified his behavior patterns that needed to be modified.
Luckily, his brilliant mind quickly grasped these emotional intelligence concepts and he was able to immediately start applying some self management techniques to remain calm in the face of adversity and display a less intimidating, yet still confident, presence. Some of the adjustments were as simple as leaning back in his chair, remembering to keep a pleasant expression – perhaps even smiling more, and controlling the tone of his voice. He also adopted an empathetic technique for listening – an excellent relationship management skill – that encouraged more people to approach him for guidance.
One of Jack’s responsibilities was to mentor junior associates – but most of them were too afraid to approach him. Making the minor adjustments mentioned above and exercising more self-restraint to allow them to talk more while he listened made all the difference. Within weeks the junior associates were seeking his counsel without prompting.
As a result of these behavioral modifications, by the end of the six-month coaching engagement Jack was given increased responsibility and secured his place in line for the senior leadership role. Thanks to raising his emotional intelligence (EQ), Jack was able to keep his career on the fast track!