Are any of your key people under pressure at home? For ex-pat employees, there are a specific set of challenges to work through. The emotional intelligence necessary to excel at work can be just as useful at home.

 

I am the wife of an engineer in an energy company. A lot is expected of him in terms of focus and performance at work. He’s a great employee and thrives in his particular field, managing multiple projects in a complex and high-stakes environment.

When he gets home, he just wants to relax!

I’m also the mother of his children and for this article, I want to reflect back to a time, 6 years ago when our son, Thomas was 2 and our daughter, Sophie just an infant. We’d arrived in New Zealand only 18 months or so before and I was far away from family support in Australia. My job at home also came with a huge amount of expectation; from society, from my husband, and certainly not least from myself! Motherhood turned out to require so much more energy and focus than I had ever imagined. Doing it well was a complex business and high-stakes.  I felt exhausted by the time evening came.

When Dave got home I just wanted to relax!

You see the problem here? 

Yet this is an all-too-common scenario that I see subtly affecting culture in the workplace; especially in companies that have a high proportion of ex-pat employees. It may not show up dramatically because workers don’t want to be seen as weak or struggling in their jobs. Yet it can take huge energy to keep up appearances while peers and bosses are looking on. 

People who are being emotionally drained at home, have nothing left to emotionally invest in work. Being vigilant with our emotional intelligence can take a back seat when everyone’s exhausted and just needs to relax. Except there is no relaxing with a young family, especially when you have no local family support. The cracks in a marriage can start to show… the pressure becomes too much for any human. 

Back then I was a business owner and entrepreneur but not yet a coach. I’d really only scratched the surface of my own personal development and inner transformation. Desperately seeking a solution to our failing marriage I happened to come across my first psychometric test. It blew my mind. I made Dave take it.

 

When I read his profile – everything changed. 

It sounds ridiculous now but it suddenly became obvious that Dave and I were vastly different people – and that was ok! There were even others out there just like him! I hadn’t been seeing his strengths and I certainly didn’t let him off the hook for being challenged where I was strong.

This awareness, simple though it may seem, enabled me to re-frame my perspective and defuse many of the needless emotional landmines I had been creating myself. I can’t help but wonder how much grief my husband would have been saved if I’d come across his psychometric profile sooner.  Suffice it to say – things improved. I don’t think we would have made it if it wasn’t for that test.

It may seem that going to the effort of developing emotional intelligence further in the workplace may not have an obvious Return On Investment (ROI) – after all, everyone’s getting on OK. However, I’d like to offer something for your consideration…

 

Is there a less obvious yet hugely impactful ROI that you could be missing out on?

Happy families go a long way to creating happy workers.

If you’d like to furnish your employees with some simple yet powerful tools for self-assessment and self-awareness please contact your Advantage Business Advisor for a no-obligation chat. We have access to the full suite of world-class people and culture tools through the REACH Ecosystem and our clients love the insights they provide.

Until next time,

Helen Flitcroft | Business Associate