Leadership – The Psychological Contract At Work

Work – Psychological contract

Leadership – The Psychological Contract At Work

This post discusses the theory of psychological contracts in the workplace and in the wider world outside work.

‘The Psychological Contract’ is increasingly relevant in workplace relationships.

The idea of Psychological Contract first emerged in the 1960s and it was widely discussed, particularly in the work of organizational and behavioral theorists Chris Argyris and Edgar Schein.

Many other experts have contributed ideas on the subject since then, and they continue to do so, either specifically focusing on the Psychological Contract, or approaching it from a particular or new perspective.   The Psychological Contract means many things to different people – it is open to a range of interpretations and theoretical studies.

Usually, the Psychological Contract refers to the relationship between an employer and their employees, and it relates to their concerns and their mutual expectations of that relationship, in terms of what each will put in and receive.

The Psychological Contract is usually seen from the standpoint or expectations of employees, although to understand it properly means you need to see it from both sides.

At its simplest, at work, the Psychological Contract is about fairness or balance. What can reasonably be expected! How will the employee be treated by the employer?  What will the employee put into the job? What will be the reward?

The closer you look at the real nature of the contract in any particular organization, the more complicated it becomes; there will be  unwritten “rules” and “expectations” on both sides.

The whole thing becomes more complicated when the organization is in change or when the outside environment intrudes – such as in times of recession when the employer’s ability to reward may be limited.

Of course, the theory and principles of the Psychological Contract can also be applied beyond the employment situation to human relationships, wider society and certainly in the world of politics between leaders and those led.

The concept of the Psychological Contract is still continuing to develop and it certainly is not recognized in all organizations.  It is even less well understood in the world outside work.

But respect, compassion, trust, empathy, fairness and objectivity – qualities that characterize the Psychological Contract, are worth the regard and respect of all of us, inside work and out.

contract

Emotional Intelligence and Your Job Search

Using emotional intelligence really can help you succeed in your job search.

But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it that success in life sometimes seems unrelated to intelligence and how hard you are prepared to work?

It has been said that your IQ can land you a job but your lack of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) can get you fired. However, demonstrating emotional and social intelligence is becoming more and more important in your job search.

Many more recruiters and employers now appreciate that emotional intelligence and social intelligence are great determinants of the success you are likely to achieve at work.  A study from Virginia Commonwealth University  has shown that “high emotional intelligence does have a relationship to strong job performance  — in short, emotionally intelligent people make better workers.”  As a result, companies like Microsoft and Deutsche Bank now use EQ tests in their recruitment processes.

Derren Thompson, Manager, Diversity Recruiting for Sodexo, one of the largest services companies in the world reminds readers in their  blog that the “businesses that will succeed in the 21st century will be the ones that allow employees to bring the whole of their intelligence into the work force – their emotional and intellectual self. Not only does this impact morale, but productivity increases, too.”

Recognizing the significance of this, means you can use emotional intelligence to help you succeed in your job search.

But what is emotional intelligence?

In 1996 Daniel Goleman wrote his groundbreaking book “Emotional Intelligence“. His exhaustive research had confirmed that success in life is based more on our ability to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capability or our physical strength.

According to Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist, “Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,”

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and manage your own emotions, the emotions of others and also group emotions. It can also be a way of engaging with others that draws them to you.

EQ requires four capabilities;

  1. Self-awareness,
  2. Self-management,
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship management.

But EQ can do more for you in your job search than just impress a potential employer, it can help you decide what kind of role to go for.

One way to begin is to ask yourself two questions:

  • First, when do you feel excited or curious? This will help you be clear about your interests and passions.
  • Second,  work out what makes you upset, depressed and angry, and why? This helps you identify your core values and that often makes the difference in whether a job or career will be the right fit for you.

Understanding your emotions can also help you maintain your optimism and cope with stress during a long job search – it can help you stay positive while you find the right role for you.

If you would like to know more about emotional intelligence and how it can help you at work as a manager and leader, go to our sister site WiseWolf Talking– Leadership, Management, Career and Personal Development.  If you would like to know what emotional intelligence might mean for you in your life outside work then please visit WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.

If you would like to read Dr Goleman’s book click on the picture link below and if you would like to try out an EQ test try this link http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3038

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. You can email her atwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 

 

 

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Using emotional intelligence can help you succeed as a leader. But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it that success in life sometimes seems unrelated to intelligence and how hard you are prepared to work?

In 1996 Daniel Goleman wrote his groundbreaking book “Emotional Intelligence“. His exhaustive research had confirmed that success in life is based more on our ability to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capability or our physical strength.

Dr Goleman describes five main elements of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

The ability to call on these five qualities can help you to succeed as a leader.

  1. Self-awareness means you are in touch with your own feelings and emotions. You understand how they affect your behaviour and how they influence those around you.  You can strengthen your self-awareness by keeping a daily journal where you record how you feel each day and then reflect on what you have written.  Take time during the day to monitor yourself, your feelings and how you are reacting to things.
  2. Self-regulation means you don’t let fly with negative emotions or make rushed judgments about things or people.  Successful leaders stay in control of themselves and they are prepared to be flexible while being accountable. To help you do this, you need know your values and where you are not prepared to compromise. Spend some time thinking about what really matters to you.  Make a commitment to be accountable for what you do and practice staying calm. A relaxation technique can help – try this technique on our sister site WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.
  3. Motivated leaders have a clear vision and work consistently towards their goals. Do you have that clear vision and is it still appropriate to you and your organization?  Find out more about developing the right vision at this link. If you get to the point where you are responding to events, rather than being proactive, then take action because your lack of motivation could put your organization at risk.
  4. For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful organization or a successful team.  Empathy means you can put yourself in someone else’s situation. Leaders with empathy help develop their teams as they develop themselves. They make sure that people are treated fairly, and they listen.  As a result they earn respect and loyalty. Practice imagining yourself in someone else’s shoes – put yourself in their position.  Listen carefully to what people say and pay attention to body language – respond to feelings!
  5. Leaders with social skills are good communicators – they communicate well and often. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news!  Leaders who have good social skills have the confidence to resolve conflicts before they threaten the team or the organization. Learn to talk to your team and if necessary do some formal training in communication skills and conflict resolution.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions, and those of the people you lead.   Having a high EQ means  knowing what you are feeling, what this means, and how your emotions can affect other people. For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. Take time to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.  They will certainly help ensure that you succeed as a leader.

If you would like to know more about emotional intelligence and how it can help you in job search go to our sister site WiseWolf Leaving the Public Sector.  If you would like to know what emotional intelligence might mean for you in your life outside work then please visit WiseWolf’s Your Happiness Factor.

If you would like to read Dr Goleman’s book click on the picture link below

You can try out an EQ test at this link http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3038

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career. You can email her atwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 

Leaders on the front line – taking criticism

As a leader you stand out from the crowd and, guess what, none of us are perfect.

When you are under the spotlight – even when the light is being shone by your own relatively small group – sometimes, you will receive criticism!

Some of it will be fair and some not.

If you learn to deal with it positively you will soon be able to stand back, see what is valid, and ignore the rest.

You will be able to use it to your advantage and that of your group!

There are characteristics that make us better and worse at dealing with criticism.

  • Mental Attitude  – Positive people don’t let criticism take a grip. Instead they look on the bright side, try to learn from it and then move on. When you are feeling negative, you can feel it deeply and begin to obsess about it. It can erode your morale and that of your group, so stay positive.
  • Courage – As Winston Churchill said “It takes courage to sit down and listen”. It will disarm your critics if you listen to them attentively and with openness. In those circumstances they are much more likely to give you a balanced view that could provide valuable feedback.
  • Hierarchy – Be prepared to listen and learn from criticism from any part of your organization and from customers and suppliers. It sometimes helps to regard it as free consultancy! You’ll be amazed how much respect you can gain from quite junior members of your team if you are prepared to listen and respond positively to their ideas including their criticisms. Disappointed customers respond well to being given a hearing and an apology for an honest mistake.
  • Emotional Intelligence – Being able to relate with positive emotion to your team is a key ingredient in inspiring them to success. That includes being able to recognise and acknowledge their emotions even when they are mad with you. Recognize it for what it is; empathise with it. Answer it positively and then move on. Have the grace to say sorry if, as a result of your action, someone on your team has found their work more difficult!

As for me, I have always been pretty thin skinned and found criticism quite challenging to deal with. But over the years, I’ve managed to train myself to take a far more balanced view. I would love to know what your experience has been and how you have dealt the criticism you have encountered.


Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her atwendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439