Emotional Intelligence and Leadership
by Roy Childs
Emotional Intelligence has become a vital part of how today's leaders meet the significant challenges they face. Emotional Intelligence can help leaders in an evermore difficult leadership role, one that fewer and fewer people seem capable of fulfilling. And in the middle of the "Talent War", especially at the highest levels in organisations, emotional intelligence can give developing leaders a competitive edge.
In this article, we'll take a look at:
How the importance of Emotional Intelligence was recognisedIn 1980 Reuven Bar-on was researching the qualities that lead to success. He showed there was much more than traditional Intelligence or IQ and developed the concept of Emotional Intelligence - the Emotional Quotient or EQ was born.
In 1985 an influential psychologist called Howard Gardener also challenged the current view of intelligence and proposed 7 multiple intelligences which included social intelligence.
The idea that success in both life and in work (at least where managing people is a significant factor) became highly credible and organisations have recognised how their best leaders and managers need to develop their understanding of themselves and others.
In 1995 Daniel Goleman published the best seller "Emotional Intelligence" which has done a great deal for popularising the concept.
Why Emotional Intelligence is needed in LeadershipEmotional Intelligence does not fit the classic historical models of leadership. The latter are usually associated with great figures of military history and conjure up charismatic and sometimes despotic images. However, people often use the same language for leadership today - bold, brave and tough with a strong sense of purpose and resolve. However, this does not fit today's needs, because:
- today's workforce does not accept the autocratic style often adopted by leaders following historical models of leadership.
- leadership has had to evolve to match a growing sense of democracy and independence in the workforce
- employees now have far more options and choices than the foot soldiers of yesterday
The new demands leaders have to meetLeaders now need to manage and lead an "empowered" workforce and go beyond the consultative, co-operative and democratic styles of today. These new demands include:
- consultation and involvement - but leaders still get criticised for not having and communicating a compelling vision and purpose
- autonomy and freedom - but leaders are still expected to take full responsibility when things go wrong
- opportunities for growth, challenge and glory - but leaders must be on hand to coach and mentor us so that we develop our potential
- inclusion and team spirit - but we still want our leaders to give us individual recognition and acknowledgement.
How to use Emotional Intelligence in developing leadershipThere are now a number of models and questionnaires aimed at measuring Emotional Intelligence, often based on self-report questionnaires. However, this approach has obvious limitations in identifying levels of self-awareness - how can you be aware of what you are not aware of!
So, whilst questionnaires can play a part, better approaches also involve:
- experiential exercises
- 360 feedback processes These provide much more effective and comprehensive ways of identifying possible strengths and weaknesses in Emotional Intelligence terms. When the self-assessment and 360 is undertaken online, and results processed by someone independent, it assures confidentiality to the extent that achieves a much higher level of honesty in the feedback and assessment. This approach challenges complacency and can enable people to grow and develop.
ConclusionThe assessment of EI in leadership is complex. The use of simple self-report questionnaires to explore self-awareness has significant limitations. Team Focus approach the topic using a sophisticated variety of approaches including 360 feedback and experiential exercises. This brings the whole concept alive and allows individuals to go beyond their existing knowledge and comfort zones thus producing real impact, growth and change. TFL are happy to work with companies and to guarantee change and improvement. For further details contact Roy Childs.
© 2004 Roy Childs