Monday, April 16, 2007

Examining the alpha male at work

Examining the alpha male at work -

As an early-adopter of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EQ) I was thrilled to see this article. I, too, have studied the alpha male - - from the vantage point of EQ v. IQ.

Each of the 4 types of alpha males (commander, visionary, strategist, and executor) has its downside, says this article on's CareerBuilder, and, most interestingly, the climate is changing -- the alpha males may go the way of the dinosaurs as the influence of more women in the workforce has brought in emotional intelligence and affilitiave, collaborative behavior. Or is it the influence of more EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE in the workplace.

The great divide began when we had to leave Freud and Freudian psychology behind ... the drives - - sex and aggression - - well there's a lot more driving people today, like wanting to enjoy life, find meaning in their work, balance in their lives, and room for the emotional factor. Most important decisions must be made by other than strictly rational, logical means, after all. If you could choose the best stock rationally, all us investors would be millionaires - there are charts, after all. And if you could choose the best candidate for a job by their resume alone, it wouldn't be the miasma that it is, would it? No, it takes intuition, gut feeling, creativity, flexibility, and a host of other EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE competencies.

EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is now looked for as well as IQ in management, leadership and the workplace. In fact it's slowly being demanded in the workplace. If the average job in the US now is 18 months, one of the reasons people leave is because of abusive management. We cannot do our best work in an atmosphere of nit-picking, or where we're ignored, or devalued in comparison to data, for instance. And your EQ will tell you that most of us truly want to succeed, grow, learn, help others in the workplace to do the same, and to be appreciated. Not all the time, but just enough.

Take for instance the alpha male called The Executor. Probably my least favorite to work for because (to me) the Visionary is inspiring; strategists' minds are so fascinating and in my world they generally find a way to avoid much contact with people; and commanders are energizing. I worked for all of these types in my day (and that's why I'm not self-employed!)

Executors, however, are micro-managers who cramp your style, eschew anything creative or "outside the box," and never give priase, but rather pick, pick and pick, and most importantly, must assign blame. I've seen then stop the whole parade for as long as an hour or more, to get out their miocroscope and investigate a rather inconsequential incident. When I'm around one, I always want to shout, "Stop! Just fix it! Let your people free!"

So many things in the workplace today, particularly because it IS more collaborative, are a failing of systems or equipment, or simple one-time human error -- not something that can be fixed. And it takes a real micro-manager to stop the flow of a project, particularly under pressure of a deadline, to fly-speck and see "whose fault it was."

How much better to say to the human who failed at that one point, "That's not like you!" than to harp on the mistake. Someone who continually fails, sure, and particularly one who intentionally sabotages, but the average person having a bad moment or day ... well, it's NOT LIKE THEM, so move forward. Guilt, blame, tempers and anger accomplish th exact opposite of anyone's intent. And lets hope those few people, among them managers, who enjoy making other people miserable, are really on their last legs in the workplace.

Okay. Now I'm off my soap box. But I'm an emotional intelligence coach after all, and I KNOW that EQ matters more in managing people than IQ does. Perhaps the time has come to let the sheer intellect types work in isolation (which they generally prefer), and keep them away from management, which annoys both sides of the equation.

There should be ladders of promotion on two tracks - the people side, and the OTHER side.

The most heartening thing about the article is that emotional intellingence has become so well-known and valued.

We were an early-adopter and have helped so many people improve their lives, and the lives of those around them through emotional intelligence. It is truly the "common language," as I have trained and worked with people around the globe, who immediately catch on to the power of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is empowering. Get involved! See me for coaching, or to take the EQ course. Email me at

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