The other important skill area to develop is social competence, which includes such attributes as social awareness, collaboration, empathy, and teamwork. Dye suggests that in order for emotional intelligence to flourish, an early careerist needs to take an integrated approach to self-awareness, which includes drawing simultaneously from both social and personal outcomes and experiences. 26 The key, then, is to cultivate and sustain a high level of both personal and social competence, and then to develop strategies for identifying and responding appropriately to behavioral patterns in the environment. This is done through personal self-perspective by simply monitoring reactions and emotions in the environment and leveraging personal behavior and visceral instincts accordingly. These efforts can also be gauged by interpreting the reactions of those around you. For example, each workplace develops a certain tone and tenor based on the personnel who work in it. Some may respond in unexpected ways consistent with certain styles and behaviors of management. The socially competent leader will know how to adjust his or her level of autocratic, intimate, participative, and interpersonal communication with others in a manner that predicts and fosters workplace behavior over time. This reflects what is called locus of control.
Persons with a high locus of control are able to process, receive, and transmit information absent of emotional content. For example, an individual who worked very hard on a business case analysis (BCA) that was not approved by his or her boss during a large staff meeting should refrain from an emotional outburst in front of other staff members. Likewise, leaders with a high locus of control would refrain from displaying a threatening demeanor when asked to support positions of contention in an organization where subordinate employees have a differing opinion.
Within the health professions, having a high locus of control can be important when discussing such volatile issues as end of life care and right to life issues. Leaders in the health profession must possess the sensitivity to recognize certain intangible elements in bio and clinical ethics that are both ineffable and important to the success of a nonpartisan leadership.
Although seemingly suggesting “common sense” workplace activities, leaders who fail to maintain a high locus of control and control their instinctive emotions can eventually become workplace hazards to themselves and the employees they supervise.