Interview with Scott Watson
In your talks you proclaim the importance of Emotional Intelligence in strategic business decisions. Why is that so?
The quality of relationships throughout a leadership team directly reflects how well they will collaborate and communicate, or not, when making important, and sometimes business critical decisions.
When a high levels of trust, collaboration and empathy exist throughout a leadership team, rather than only within pockets of it, higher quality decisions are made due to greater levels of transparency, mutual trust for personal character as well as technical competence, and a genuine understanding throughout that the decisions being made are for the organisation’s benefit rather than to serve personal agendas.
Plus, the best quality decisions aren’t made when the decision makers are in a state of panic or fear, so it is vital that leaders, individually and collectively are equipped with the skills needed to manage themselves more effectively.
Can you provide 3 tips to improve one’s personal Emotional Intelligence?
- Improve your Self Awareness by inviting candid, collaborative feedback from four people you trust. A healthy amount of Self Awareness provides a leader with the opportunity to understand the impact you have on others, what you do well, and the opportunity to explore and address specific areas where you may benefit from being more aware and flexible.
- Begin to notice which specific situations cause you to become angry, despondent, motivated, inspired even. By becoming more aware of the source of the emotion and how your inner-world impacts your level of engagement you can quickly learn how to easily access your internal resources which will enable you to escape emotional states which, when prolonged aren’t helpful or productive, and to access the emotional states which enable you to operate effectively and perform optimally.
- Create a ‘Safe Space’ with your team. Creating a ‘Safe Space’ means actively promoting, inviting and sharing candid, meaningful dialogue and feedback with each other. The only boundaries are:
- 1. That everyone, despite seniority or position in your organisational structure, is equal and deserving of attention and consideration.
- 2. In this safe space, everyone commits to providing feedback which is intended to add genuine value to the recipient and the team.
- 3. This space is not a forum for publicly berating or criticising colleagues to serve your own personal agenda.
What are reasons why many leaders fail in motivating their teams and how can they be prevented?
The leaders who aren’t successful in motivating, engaging and enabling their teams to perform optimally can often be:
1. Promoted From An Unrelated Role
The leader was promoted to their leadership position, not because they had demonstrated any capability, skill or even desire to lead people effectively, but because they were technically brilliant in a completely unrelated role. Usually a role where they were solely responsible for achieving his or her own targets and goals. In this situation, the transition from Technician to Leader can be somewhat challenging, for the leader, and their team members.
Be open to counter-balancing your technical skill and expertise with some deeply human EQ competencies such Self Awareness, Impulse Control and Empathy. Developing a healthy level of each of these competencies can prove extremely productive and worthwhile in developing a genuine sense of team.
2. Excessive Focus on Task Achievement
Excessive focus on the achievement of goals and delivery of specific tasks outweighs the need for and value of, ensuring that team members are equipped, enabled and actively encouraged to achieve goals and successfully deliver tasks on time, right first time, virtually every time. Leaders are measured on what they deliver for the organisation and this brings an element of pressure, so to an extent task focus is an operational imperative. Maintaining a healthy balance between task and people is though essential.
Provide clarity for your team right at the outset regarding what your most important collective goal is, what you expect from them, and why these expectations are so important, plus, remember to tell your team what they can reasonably expect from you. You may be surprised at just how quickly your life as a Leader becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.
3. Auto-Pilot Leadership
The Leader whose auto-pilot leadership style is one of ‘Command and Control’ rather than collaborative and considerate is actually hurting rather than helping the organisation. Yes, there is a time and a place for command and control leadership, but the problems manifest when it is, or is felt to be by employees, that this style is the norm. Often, but not always, the Leader is not aware of how his or her leadership style is impacting team members; and unless a high trust relationship exists between the Leader and team members, it takes a very brave team member to give the Leader some candid feedback on how s/he might benefit from changing their approach.
Create a safe environment which actively encourages authentic, solution focused feedback both to you from team members, and from you to them. As the Leader, you deserve to hear what your team members are thinking, and to understand how they are feeling in relation to how you lead them and communicate with, and support them.
What results can clients expect from your talks?
Audience members can expect a bespoke presentation which is designed specifically to meet their unique requirements, rather than an off-the-shelf presentation which is general and not of any genuine value to them. Following my specialist input, improvements verified by A-Speakers, clients reported by client organisations include:
- The successful retention of £8.2 million worth of customer accounts the client had resigned itself to losing to competitors.
- Team sales performance improving by 40%.
- Personal productivity increasing by 30%.
- Significantly enhanced levels of employee engagement.
- The seamless transition from financially costly silo working to more cost effective collaborative working
I focus on how to create a significant and positive change in how leaders and teams perform within their organisation. This is done by combining verifiable case studies with proven, time-tested and easy to apply tools, techniques and principles which will enable positive changes to happen. Even though corporate leadership and people management are serious subjects, audiences enjoy my collaborative, thought provoking and entertaining presentation style. It has been likened to ‘a good chat with a good friend’, and this approach is partly responsible for audience members proactively applying what they learn with me and realising genuine value long after our time together.
Do you have a favourite experience from your professional speaking career?
I absolutely love enabling audience members to be open to thinking differently, to exploring different and new ways of thinking, communicating and delivering even more value for their organisation, and actually enjoy their journey more too. Knowing that clients can laugh while learning and then hearing that they are achieving measurable positive changes in their operational performance is very humbling for me.