Emotional Intelligence in the workplace in an account manager’s perspective
“You are smart, but that is not everything. The key to success is that you need to control your emotions when you are in the workplace.”
Having more than 15 years working in the Advertising industry; 5 years for Ogilvy and 10 years for Leo Burnett as an account manager. Currently, Ms. Pham Thi Dieu Anh is in charge as the planner position in a local advertising agency named METAN. Hence, with the extensive experiences, Ms. Anh stated that the hardest thing when working is how you manage the relationship with people you are working with. She emphasized on the relationship among colleagues is even more important than dealing with clients.
Leo Burnett Vietnam
Leo Burnett is one of the strongest advertising agencies in Vietnam. The company has successfully signed many contracts with big brands such as P&G, Tiger Beer, Samsung, etc. According to the Offical Board (2013), Leo Burnett Vietnam has 753 competitors among Vietnamese Advertising Agencies. Consequently, the agency has to compete fiercely to keep the agency stand firm in the market. Ms. Anh used to said: “This advertising industry is one of the toughest competitive industries, you have to live with the feeling of insecurity everyday because you won’t know when your clients are going to leave you for another agencies”.
Building a good relationship with co – workers is an essential thing, she told me that the culture type of each agency is also necessary because it determines the effectiveness of the whole process. As the account manager, she believes that there are two types of organizational culture. Linking back to the theory about 4 types of Handy’s model that has been covered in class, I believe that Ms. Anh wants to mention about the power culture where the leader in the company empowers all the employees. In fact, that leader makes his own decision for the agency. Ms. Anh believes that the positive outcomes of the work depend on the ability of the leader. If the leader is good enough to lead all the company; then that company will function well. By contrast, it is very risky if the leader makes wrong decision, which might bring down the agency. Another type of culture that she mentioned is the person culture where individual shares tasks and make decision together. Ms. Anh stated that she prefer the second working style because everyone can involve into the work and present their ideas which motivates people at work. However, by doing this model, the work might be slow down and the ideas won’t be sharp anymore.
“Salt and Pepper”
Another thing she told me was that an advertising agency should be Creative driven besides the help of Account team. It seems like Ms. Anh’ idea is contrast with Ohrt (2010) have stated. However, when thinking carefully, it is the same way of thinking. While Ms. Anh believes an advertising agency should be creative driven because most of the big ideas that come from the creative team, the Account team only has the responsibility to transfer to clients. Then Ohrt (2010) assumes that the most effective way is to combine the two, just like “salt and pepper”. In fact, Ms. Anh used to said “Account and Creative team is the face of the agency; hence, it is not true to say an advertising is an account or a creative driven’.
Do and Don’t
Talking to Ms. Anh, I now realized being an account manager specifically and account people in general are not a simple job. She emphasized on how people deal with conflicts in the best way, which can minimize the negative effects among colleagues. Besides, the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) ability, which is adapted to my report, is crucial elements for building relationship not only with clients but also within the agency.
Figure 2: Reproduced from: Selbelin 2012
According to Goleman (2004), incisive, analytical mind and endless great ideas cannot form a good leader. In fact, Allam (2011) assumes that the correlation between the EQ and the successful of a leader remains closely because it is the key feature towards developing meaningful constructive relationships either with all stakeholders of the organization or the internal teamwork is needed (Gale 2011). Hence, Golman’s model – the Emotional Intelligence comprises five skill areas; the interpersonal competences are: self – regulation and self – awareness; besides, three social competences include motivation, empathy and social skills. (Sadri 2012)
EQ in the workplace
Ms. Anh believes that respect and empathy are needed in each leader, particularly to her as an account manager. She told me that an account manager always come to a creative with a positive and friendly attitude. She assisted “In any cases, no matter what happens, as an account, you always have to support your team”. (Creative team) She continued “Creative people who are very sensitive and sometimes vulnerable, so that you have to take their sides whenever agency and client have conflicts”. Similarly to Solomon (2007), he assists that creative team has worked extremely hard on every project; so that they deserve to have the credit – “They earned it”, he said. Additionally, “Stepping in other shoes” is also a prohibit rule of Ms. Anh. She assumed that creative people are very professional in their work; they understand clearly the work that they are handle. Consequently, if we tell them what to do or reject their ideas without any reasons, which mean that, we do not respect their expertise. Moreover, she also focused on the motivation, she assigned that people with high motivation willing to learn and take rewards in their job. Hence, motivation account people should be a “solution-driven” for creative people. In some situation, creative person are stuck with his ideas, at that moment, account people is the one who are needed to help them come up with fresh ideas and closure the distance between creative and clients because the account is the one who takes the responsibility to bridging the gap between agency and clients. Besides, the social skills within each account are initials. She told me her own experience when working with creative people and using her social skills. She believes that the way people start a conversation is really important; through that, people find and share their common interests which lead to the effectiveness in the workplace and the empathy between two departments on each other.
To sum up, I believe that having a high IQ is not enough. Indeed, EQ is the thing that companies are looking for from their new employees because it can solve conflicts not only with clients but also within employees. Therefore, learning and gaining the EQ is necessary for both in the workplace and in our daily life.
Taken by author
Words count: 1106 words.
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