What Is An Example Of Lack Of Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace?

What Is An Example Of Lack Of Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

An example of a lack of emotional intelligence in the workplace can be illustrated through a scenario involving a manager and their team…

Scenario – A company pushes to meet critical deadlines during a particularly stressful period. The team is working long hours, and the pressure is mounting. The manager, Alex, is focused on results and is anxious about meeting the project deadlines.

Lack of Emotional Intelligence – Alex notices that one of the team members, Leslie, has been underperforming lately. Instead of privately asking Leslie if there are any issues or if they need support, Alex decides to address this in a team meeting. In front of everyone, Alex bluntly states, “I’ve noticed some of us are not pulling their weight, and it’s affecting our deadlines. We all need to commit more to our work.” Although Alex doesn’t name anyone explicitly, it’s clear to the team that Leslie is being singled out.


  1. Public Embarrassment – Leslie feels embarrassed and demoralized, being called out in front of peers without any prior one-on-one conversation.
  2. Team Morale – The team’s morale drops as they perceive the manager’s approach as unfair and insensitive. This creates a culture of fear rather than motivation.
  3. Lack of Support – Leslie, dealing with personal issues that have temporarily affected their performance, feels unsupported and isolated, worsening their work engagement.
  4. Missed Opportunity for Empathy and Growth – Alex misses an opportunity to demonstrate empathy, understand the root cause of the performance issue, and provide the necessary support to help Leslie overcome it. This could have been a growth opportunity for both Leslie and the team.

Analysis – This scenario highlights several aspects of emotional intelligence lacking in the manager’s behavior:

  • Lack of Empathy – Alex fails to consider Leslie’s feelings and the impact of public criticism.
  • Poor Communication Skills – Addressing performance issues publicly instead of through a private, constructive conversation.
  • Lack of Self-awareness – Alex does not recognize how their approach to leadership and problem-solving affects team dynamics and individual motivation.
  • Ineffective Conflict Resolution – By not addressing the issue with Leslie in a supportive manner, Alex escalates the situation, creating unnecessary conflict and discomfort within the team.

This illustrates how a lack of emotional intelligence can negatively affect individual well-being, team cohesion, and productivity. Effective leaders must be aware of their own emotions and those of their team members, approaching sensitive issues with empathy, discretion, and supportiveness.