Leaders 4

So how would a classic case of motivation-misfired look like? Well! Pretty much this way…

A team-member not performing well…her manager calling her for a meeting…manager using the most confident voice, quoting the most quotable quotes, and maintaining the most intense eye-contact, and sending the team-member with a pat on the back…and…after a while, team-member eventually reverting to the same old behavior. Alas! Back to square one.

What was lacking on manager’s part? In one term – ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’. We, at Socialigence, define Social & Emotional Intelligence as the “Ability to adapt one’s behavior on the basis of awareness of one’s own emotions and attunement with others’ emotions”.And that’s what separates ‘leaders’ from ‘just managers’.


Coming back to the case at hand, what the manager didn’t realize is that motivation isn’t just a skill, it’s a process. Yes! Motivation = Motive + activation. So, the only way to motivate effectively is to first understand the motive before trying to activate it.And the real skill is to ‘understand the exact motive and then to activate it properly’.

Thus, for effective motivation, a manager should:

  • Listen more and speak less
  • Listen first and speak later
  • Listen well and speak normal
  • Listen for emotions and speak with reasons

Yes! It is about applying old Doctor’s rule – Diagnose before you prescribe – in the arena of interpersonal skills –bybeing there, paying attention, andeven spotting emotions through observing nonverbal behavior. This combination of words and body language gives you a reference point to work with.

However, for this ‘receiving’, manager has tofirst build aninner state of emotional stasis, which requires emotional awareness.This skill of being aware of one’s own emotions and regulating them is emotional intelligence. To complement, manager should then be able to utilize this awareness and attunement to adapt behavior in an apt way – known as social intelligence.

Yes! As one of the Top-10 Future Work Skills according to The Institute for the Future (IFTF), ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’ is what leadership comes down to.


Dr. Sandeep Atre (Founder-Director, Socialigence)