The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a wave of solidarity, trust, and empathy in countless organizations. The reason? The consumer and society in general are increasingly sensitive to how companies are responding to the impact that the pandemic has brought and are guiding their purchasing decisions on those that best reflect the deepest values of the human kind.
A survey conducted by the consulting firm Deloitte, sampling from 2,447 consumers worldwide, they indicated that 79% of those surveyed recalled situations of how a company responded positively to their needs and supported society in general by developing actions of solidarity, trust, and empathy. "In these wild times of uncertainty, people look to brands for help and reward those who can meet their most urgent needs in the moment," (Deloitte, 2020).
Will an a-emotional leader be able to respond to this challenge? Probably not. For this reason we need to assist leaders in deepening what gives meaning to their lives, to recognize and accept that their emotions constitute them as human beings, and that they help them in their decisions to achieve the results that both they and society whole want. Those of us who have had the opportunity to open deep conversations with people in leadership roles know that they feel burdened and frustrated by the endless pressure to compete, which in turn negatively reflects on their relationships with their employees. For example, according to a 2013 survey by Gallup revealed that only 13% of employees worldwide are motivated by their work (63% are poorly motivated and 24% show active disinterest). (Laloux, 2018). In turn, the same consulting firm has found that workplaces where employees feel most unmotivated suffer almost 50% more accidents and are responsible for almost 60% more quality defects, in addition to, suffering costs of much higher medical care. (Kofman, The Revolution of Sense, 2018). Even before the arrival of COVID-19, it was already observed that high levels of stress in the workplace have led to an increase in mental illnesses. Proof of this was displayed in the most recent report by Mental Health America (MHA), an American organization dedicated to promoting mental health, indicating that during 2020 the number of people seeking help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed 93% and 62% respectively, and that more people are reporting frequent thoughts of suicide and self-harm (America Health America, 2020).
On the contrary, organizations that have motivated, adopted, and developed a leadership style resonant in their organizational culture, they have shown surprising results in their global numbers. This was exemplefied by the consulting firm Great Place to Work reporting that during the first half of 2020, the Spanish organizations with the best figures in their organizational climate achieved this due to exceptional levels of trust between employees and their leaders. These results occurred when leaders took the time to communicate clearly, transparently, and regularly with their work teams (86% of respondents reported positive scores in these areas) (HR Digital, 2020).
Without question, a resonant leader, as Goleman describes it, develops an internal coherence that allows him to achieve outstanding results when he expresses his own values, attunes to the emotions of the people around him, and when he awakens passion and enthusiasm in teams. (Goleman, Boyatzis, & Mckee, 2016)
These results also coincide with the approaches of Fredy Kofman and Frederic Laloux in relation to the organizations that have emerged in recent years. Kofman describes them as "Conscious Organizations," those where the leader encourages the employee to observe himself in a virtuous and meaningful way, and where there is growth, well-being, peace, happiness of the individuals, respect, and solidarity. (Kofman, The Conscious Enterprise, 2008). For his part, Laloux argues that the types of organization that have emerged throughout human history are the result of the prevailing consciousness of the time and, because of this today, we are at the gates of a "Teal-Evolutionary Organization." This is one that is understood as a living system that promotes relationships without hierarchies, with a set of practices that motivate the integration of the human being in all its dimensions, and with the consolidation of a purpose that serves the whole of humanity. (Laloux, 2018)
Isn't it about time to abandon this mirage of the a-emotional leader? Is this not an illusion that we must get rid of?
There is no way back. We are at the forefront of a great opportunity to evolve in the development of our emotional consciousness, and from there, create a conscious organization that opens space for an emotional leader. Anyone who hopes to seek this with others to achieve this result, in any organizational context, today needs to: