We spent some time with Mauro hearing his growth story and the impact that Mygrow has had on his life. The following is what he had to say, shared with his permission.
My journey of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) development requires some context and history.
I am an engineer working for Coca-Cola in Mozambique. I have managed a plant within different areas of Engineering and then also coordinated various activities across all sites in Mozambique that include groups of people over the years. In 2017 became the manufacturing manager of 89 people. During this time I came to realize that I was lacking something in leading and managing those under my responsibility and influence. The scope of my challenges grew as my responsibilities increased, and I found that the problems I faced as a leader became more about people, and less about numbers.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was lacking, but I became convinced that I had to find this ‘missing ingredient’ in my personal development. I could see how my behavior and leadership impacted those around me, and that my actions were speaking louder than my instructions.
I approached Monica, our L & D manager, with some research that I had been doing. I had discovered this thing called EQ, the need for development, and a major thought leader named Daniel Goleman. I was convinced that this was what was missing and what I needed.
I was encouraged to learn that Monica had also been looking into this, and had discovered Mygrow, and I soon embarked on my personal development journey with them.
I started on the front foot, knowing that I was looking for radical change. I was motivated by the belief that leaders can positively impact people, and I committed to this as the reason for developing myself.
Looking back on the past few months of doing Mygrow, I have seen a significant shift in myself.
I used to believe that showing emotion was a sign of weakness, and that feelings were a waste of time. I was extremely task driven, and so I would always put the goal or the deadline ahead of anything or anyone else. I would put aside any other needs, whether mine or my teams, in order to get things done. My financial goals and tasks were on the top of the list. From a leadership perspective I tried to fix everyone and their problems, listening to solve, rather than understand. I used to be able to close my office door and just work, irrespective of the needs of my team, prioritizing output over people.
I have grown hugely since then. Although I went in with the motivation to be better at work, the impact of Mygrow has gone far beyond that of my work life. Yes, it has equipped me with new skills to lead people, but it has also hugely impacted my family space. Mygrow enabled me to understand and read the people in my life, and respond to them in a way that is helpful and positive.
“I am seeing the results that as we allow people to be more human at work, we are more unified, and able to move in the same direction together. I am making more room for people to grow, develop and learn from their mistakes…”
Mygrow has helped me learn to embrace my emotions. Engineers are not taught to embrace their emotions, and I believe that we need this incorporated into our studies. My wife is a great example to me in this because she accepts her emotions, whereas I tend to suppress them. I have come to see, and believe, that showing emotion is in fact a sign of strength rather than weakness. I have learnt that without emotions you physically cannot make decisions, and that our emotions are an integral part of our lives and human experience.
I have grown in confidence and self-expression. Reflecting on when I was younger as a teenager, in an attempt to feel accepted, I would sometimes ‘go with the flow’ of what friends wanted even though it went against my values. This desire for acceptance (which we all want as humans) also meant that I would be very hard on myself, and tend towards perfectionism. I have since realised that this pressure, and way of thinking, was not good for me. As I am processing and growing I am facing these feelings, growing in confidence, living freely according to my values, and finding acceptance in myself.
On the work front, I now value not only the goals and the outcome, but also the journey and how we get to the goals as a team. I am feeling so much more equipped to lead people. I have learnt that rather than needing to be ‘fixed’, people need a listening ear. They don’t even need me to solve their problems, but rather to listen and understand. Employees also come with families and personal lives, and you cannot separate them from their professional lives. I am seeing the results that as we allow people to be more human at work, we are more unified, and able to move in the same direction together. I am making more room for people to grow, develop and learn from their mistakes and, unless someone is unwilling and is purely negligent, I am allowing for a more ‘educative approach’ seeing that mistakes are a part of the learning process. I am seeing the change in those under my leadership.
I used to get stuck in my office and put my head down. Now I cannot go for more than two hours before wanting to connect and check in with my team, and see how everyone is doing.
Developing my EQ skills as a leader has given me the confidence to collaboratively lead a team. We are actually currently looking at our 2022 principals and goals together as a team of 300 people. That is a lot of input and voices to manage and lead in the same direction. Two years ago I would not have had the maturity to do this, and to take this approach, but I have since grown in this area – for myself as well as my team and family.
I can now confidently say that EQ development was the ‘missing ingredient’, not only in my leadership, but in my life as a whole.