How do we feel when the person to whom we have to report or interact regularly does not understand our point of view or does not even care to understand? and how much do organizations pay attention to the ability to empathize with others while selecting people who might be interacting with outside customers and employees. In my view there is a total under performance with this regard in our society. A manager is usually selected either because the person was good performer in his / her field or as a manager lead to good results of the team. As they say that bottom line is important, but we also need to understand that organizations exist for longer duration than a year or 2. So results for a year or 2 may not be the correct indicators of the performance of a manager. Specially when a manager is responsible for a larger team, focusing on a short term results may harm long term potential of the organization.
Organizations should be structured in such a way that people with focus on the objectives and highest emotional maturity should be at the top and promotions should be based on the level of emotion maturity. at the end, if we want any behavior, we need to incentivize it. And the best incentives are current earnings and growth prospects.
We may begin with profit based organizations i.e. companies, and try to see how our ideas help there. If we want to develop profit based organization, we need best of human resource around, and good people are not only people with strong skills in the relevant areas, but the people who feel committed to the task at hand and the organization and are committed to do what ever it takes to make the organization succeed. How can we expect people to commit themselves if they do not feel understood by their superiors. an immediate superior is the main contact point for the employee, and for an employee the immediate superior represents the company. So anyone who is in charge of even a single person should really be good in empathizing with others. Such a person should be able to hear others problems and try to get close with them by paying attention to their feelings. He /she should have the attitude of understanding others before the desire to be understood. as the desire to be understood may lead to lots of behavioral problems. Our current companies are structured in a way that people best in their fields are promoted without attention to their emotional capabilities or it is not a major factor, (there is a lot of talk of soft skills) but most of it is not part of incentive structure. leading to the situations where best sails person may be head of the company, or best finance person is head, but the ideal situation would be that person with highest level of emotional maturity with business focus should head the company. The reason of the current situation is probably due to the fact that people who are heading these organizations are not mature so they do not understand the importance of this fact.
Equally relevant example would be the customer interface of a company, where hundreds or thousands of customers interact with company on a regular basis, the interaction occurs with customer care executives in the company. here also companies pay little attention to the emotional maturity of those customer care executives. A customer care executive is the real face of the company, and they too should have very high level of understanding of human feelings and should be able to handle unusual people with low maturity levels. Companies may argue that they do not get such employees, but the reality is that people do what is expected of them (not by words) but by real incentives. I.E. thousands of students strive to get good marks because that will get them good jobs leading to good career leading to good salaries. So if employees are paid better salaries for emotional maturity or lack of it prevents them from getting a job they will focus their energies to acquire higher maturity levels.
Next focus would be on our learning organizations and we may start with Schools which shape our future generations, we need to pay special attention that our teachers should be very good with regard to emotional maturity. Not only they should be tested during selection or training programs, they should be regularly be evaluated based on their behavior with children. A teacher who uses scolding during teaching, is not good as children also learn that scolding is a way to solve their problems. Since scolding or anger is a short term solution which does not require depth of thinking and provides immediate solution to many problems, lots of people learn that mental behavior. So we need to train our teachers who teach by their example behavior to the children those mental habits which lead them to work hard, be empathetic, and other traits for a better human being. For our schools and other learning organizations like universities, it is also important that head of the organization is also having the qualities required to understand other people and he / she is best as he / she only be able to select and train other teachers or professors who are good in this regard.
Family is a place where children learn their first and most of the other lessons of life. But if elders are themselves are not trained on skills of being empathetic with others, how would children would learn that. So elders should be focused on acquiring empathetic behavior along with respect of hard work, internalized habit of respecting once action and not caring much for the outcome. Practice of the above mental habits by teachers and our elders will lead to a generation which will be more effective in their work and will have less misery as cause of our misery is unrealistic expectations, and it can be cured by following the internalized mental habit of doing our duty with fun and not be concerned about the results. When we say not be concerned about the results, it does not mean ignoring them, but it means that our mind is not unduly worried with them, they might just be taken as feedback. It can be compared with measurement of temperature when we are heating something with fire. each measurement tells us how much of the target temperature we have achieved, and how long the fire needs to keep burning to achieve the target temperature.
Let us understand how emotional maturity may make difference to our governments, including both politicians and civil servants. they too need to be emotionally mature as they regularly interact with citizens, who are actually getting service from them. For example an empathetic police officer will serve public better than otherwise, as when people go to police, they are in trouble and they need an empathetic ear rather than a bullying guy. So it becomes important that selection and incentives for police are designed in a way that they are focused in learning how to be emotionally mature and empathetic. Similarly politicians and other public servants should also be more mature as they have to interact with the public or manage those who will be finally interacting with the citizens.
We need to figure out ways to incentivise people so that the entire society focuses their energy on being emotionally mature. It becomes important that we as a society value more the richness of mind rather than richness of money. IF we value money alone, then we insentivize people to target their energy to get more money at any cost. In this regard role of media including literature, TV, news paper and magazines is very important, as they build aspirations of people in general. We should target to structure our organizations in such a way that people with relevant skills core to the success of the organization and highest levels of emotional maturity should drive the overall operations of the organizations.
Careful analysis of prevailing problems in our society including the workplace, would lead to the conclusion that higher levels of emotional maturity may be the solution.