Human organization—be it political, social, cultural, economic or any other kind—is essentially “a pattern of relationships between and among individuals and groups”. The relations may be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, formal, informal and so on depending upon the multitude of needs or goals of human organizations. Individually a human being is alien, helpless, limited, useless, meaningless, constrained and insignificant biological iota of existence in the environment. All these negative signs of such biological iota evaporate when they are related or inter-related for some purpose in the community or society at large.
In the long journey from early homo-sapiens to present day humans, they have been able to move forward when they have stayed related and connected pursuant to their perennial survival needs since the primitive days of animal instincts to the present days of cognitive excellence. It is felt that the cognitive revolution of homo-sapiens about 30,000 years back might have increased their perceptive ability for relatively greater collaboration among the group members to do their hunting and gathering pursuits and facing other survival challenges. It appears that cognitive resonance of group or tribe members due to conducive relations played the most important role for survival, growth and subsequent great historical revolutions—first agricultural revolutions about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago and scientific revolutions about 500 years ago transforming the weakest human species to strongest one.
Given the historical reality of the gradual empowerment of homo-sapiens, it is an evident fact that human relations matter very significantly in any organized human activities—be it a micro-enterprise or a mega institution like state. Conducive human relations can bring tonic effect on all individuals in them and conversely bad ones can create an environment of toxicity to adversely impact them in their existential pursuits. Dehumanizing relations of domination, exploitation, suppression, oppression, coercion and the like are nothing less than violence against them. When the favorable human relations are made to prevail in human organizations, the spontaneous outcome that follows is cognitive resonance of people in human organizations with more creativity, innovations, productivity and many other good things.
So, human relations in human organizations are to be fostered and managed very consciously in a prudent manner by the concerned management and administration in them. The earlier boomers and X generations were indoctrinated to do hard work and be disciplined at the cost of anything in the light of hard work ethics. With the coming of generations Y, Z and post Z, there is now a paradigm shift in the realm of human relations in management and administration. Z and post Z are the zoomers who are smart people, guided by knowledge and smart technology and lovers of autonomy and more freedom with tendency to be self-regulated. Earlier hard work ethics is mismatch for them. Their work ethics now is smart work and liberty. So the management and administration have new challenges of managing human relations in the work places.
In the changing context, the managerial knowledge and skill for applying emotional intelligence (EQ) over and above the intelligent quotient (IQ) has come in the center place and assumed the pivotal importance. There is need for more sugar rather than vinegar in the leadership approach and style. Smart work demands cognitive resonance from the people. Now human brawn has been taking a back-seat to better accommodate the cognitive power and tonic emotions for all. So, the science of management with focus on knowledge of human psychology necessary for appropriate leadership approach and style for promoting and maintaining the favorable human relations is now within their easy reach.
Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence has argued why EQ can matter more than IQ by immediately benefiting health, relationship and work of those who are self-aware, self-disciplined and use empathy. It has been observed that competent emotionally intelligent leaders are good team players, are used to maintaining open-door policy in their communication, can keep smile on their faces even in stresses, are emphatic listeners and love to stir people not only by the rational hooks, but also by the emotional ones. They do not impose their points of view on others; rather they consider others’ points of view while discharging their tasks and responsibilities. They are capable of getting others cognitively resonant and thus establish tonic relations with them. They are not owls of night living in isolation into the holes of trees in day-time, they shine on the people they relate with.
Goleman has identified six leadership styles in terms of emotional intelligence competency—visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, space-setting and commanding. First four styles can cause cognitive resonance in the minds of people while leading them. The space-setting and commanding styles go to cause cognitive dissonance. Depending on the situations, the leaders apply their relevant styles to different situations. Though the last two styles cause cognitive dissonance in the minds of people, in the crisis and emergencies, these can be used to deal with the delinquents for short periods. In the present competitive time where the windows of opportunity open for short period, the leaders will succeed when they are able to keep their people satisfied and satisfactory. When people are resonant, satisfied and satisfactory, then as a natural consequence, profit, surplus and productivity follow to the human enterprises.
The author is a columnist and vice-chairman of CDIP.