Although many of us don't interact personally with the tech-verse every day, it's likely that many of us are familiar with GitHub, an internet hosting service used by software developers. Sometime in 2014, then CEO and co-founder, Tom Preston-Werner, resigned from the company following accusations of harassment against former developer Julie Horvath.
Chris Wanstrath, who stepped up as CEO after Preston-Werner's resignation, has very recently announced that he too will be stepping down from his position and will instead act as executive chairman at the company.
What's really important, however, is that prior to his resignation, Wanstrath, was able to address many issues at GitHub. He suspended the developer who allegedly pulled Horvath's code after she refused to sleep with him, rebuilt the company's infrastructure as its size outmatched its technical capabilities during a time of wild growth, and resigned after taking proper measures to look for a replacement.
Wanstrath's masterful handling of every obstacle Github encountered allows us to sum up why emotional intelligence is so important in four words:
What people feel matters.
Despite how much we may want to believe that our actions impact only ourselves, the fact is that every single thing we do will have an effect on the environment and people around us. And it's often up to us to rectify the situation if our audience feels negatively impacted by it.
Just like Wanstrath, we all have the capability to gracefully address every obstacle thrown our way. What's of utmost importance is that we put the opinions of others first so that we know how to properly respond to them when the time comes.
Understanding how people feel is the first step. The next is taking the right actions to address their negative feelings, and ultimately to change them to perceive you (or your company) favorably again in the long run.
So, if we take a page from Wanstrath's book, we'll know that almost any situation can be fixed--we simply need to put the feelings of others first.