With a new year upon us, organizations are doubling down on finding innovative strategies to continue growing their companies in sustainable ways. These areas of growth include increased revenue, more effective corporate governance, better understanding of consumers and the social impact their organization has on the world around them. An area that needs to be continuously cultivated is the role of emotional intelligence as a recognizable instrument of progress. The responsibility of nurturing emotional intelligence, or EQ, as a key business tool takes on even greater importance in this ever-changing business landscape, highlighting the importance of mental health and well-being as fundamental to future business success.
When we discuss the ideas of mental health and wellness, it can often be seen as something so incredibly scary. However, looking at the year ahead, the path to greater corporate success is not to run away, but to find a mechanism to accept the need and implement an action plan that can have effective results. The path ahead is to reduce distractions and focus on goals. By breaking down these goals into smaller successes, it becomes easier to develop strategies and see the opportunity for the organization to gain its footing and create a balanced program that builds a more inclusive culture from the inside out.
So where does an organization begin? How can corporate leadership apply these tactics to develop a company with a holistic set of values while asserting competitive advantage from employer acquisition and retention to customer satisfaction? First, let’s start with the idea that organizations need to embrace the idea that authenticity is a fundamental principle. Acknowledging what organizations know and don’t know about mental health and wellbeing is a starting point. This level of authenticity opens the way for a larger conversation and asks what is needed and what can be provided to benefit the health of the organization in the long term? Authenticity allows for mistakes, but also creates an avenue for conversation where key stakeholders can help shape policy and define best practice.
In maintaining a level of authenticity, another vital ingredient in the mix is fostering greater empathy. Too often, empathy is not seen as a business tool, but should be considered one of the most important characteristics in any management tool. In an era where the future of work is being redefined at such a rapid pace, there is demand for the value offered by empathy and how to better understand what is needed from employees and customers. This emotional connection reaffirms the saying that “business revolves around people”. Despite new advances in technology and innovative strategies, the value of a person is paramount in the overall process.
Finally, a final element that enriches the larger mental health and wellness strategy throughout the business environment is the magnitude of kindness. The definition of kindness is friendliness, generosity and consideration. However, in the business world, kindness was too often pushed aside and seen as a negative thing. As the business world continues to evolve, there is a place for kindness, in fact, an obligation for companies to recognize it as the key to success. As the role of mental health and well-being becomes a more essential aspect of management practice, so does the role of kindness. Kindness can be innate for some, for others it is a skill that needs to be used over time. This possibility can be discovered through the power of listening.
In the next Mindset Matters column, we will continue this theme of EQ, mental health and well-being, and the power of active listening to serve as an essential business tool to harness the potential for organizational development and a way to rethink business principles.