Career & Education

Walk/run events tied to emotional intelligence

Launching Leaders

with Debra Fraser

Sunday, May 19, 2019

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It's commendable that so many companies are encouraging their team members to be socially responsible in the numerous annual run/walk events tied to worthy causes. They not only provide an obvious public relations opportunity for organisations but perhaps, more importantly, they create a culture of empathy for those less fortunate. The phrase that readily comes to mind is emotional intelligence — an unheralded characteristic which more and more executive headhunters are seeking to identify in the 'right candidate'. The trait can't necessarily be acquired through day-to-day interaction with in-house human resource personnel; it may sometimes require specialised training or workshops with qualified HR consultants, over time, to develop and hone what is a critical workplace attribute.

Team Work

So how does a CEO assign company ambassadors who embody the spirit of the organisation and share it abroad, and who are worth far more than many an elaborate marketing campaign and ingrain into the fabric of company culture a spirit of charity? The most obvious way is to actively engage the community in which you serve customers and generate revenue. In many ways, this should be seen as a necessary customer engagement strategy to develop and maintain healthy and sustained relations with the company's core client base. This approach seems to contradict the usual tactic of trying to find a cause to support, and instead places focus on identifying the needs that best fit the organisation's mission. My company, for example, supports two basic schools in Montego Bay through breakfast programmes and Christmas treats. Additionally, we were able to contribute to the flood relief efforts in Montego Bay and to the community of Granville after a devastating fire. There is such a visible and almost measurable shift in the mentality and approach to work and each other that getting involved in social causes has on team members; so much so that it permeates all aspects of their on-the-job performance in noticeably positive ways.

Giving Forward

Many of the rewards of taking action and being socially engaged are not readily obvious to the untrained eye. But the immense value that ongoing training and role-playing have on keeping team members focused on helping each other become better individuals and better work partners cannot be overstated. I daresay that assigning company ambassadors who embody the spirit of an organisation and share it abroad are worth far more than many an elaborate marketing campaign. When leaders lead through their personal involvement and championing worthy causes that won't necessarily benefit the firm's bottom line, it sends a powerful message to everyone in the organisation that giving is as much a part of what they are about as making profits.

This Labour Day, be one of those social champions by not just sharing virtually but physically giving to those inside and outside your immediate family. It'll make you and your team members feel that much better, and a happy employee usually translates to happy customers.

Until next time, leaders, keep lookin' up!

Debra Fraser, MBA is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and a member of the Society of Human Resources Management in the US. Please direct comments to

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