Emotional Intelligence: The Key Ingredient To Leadership, Part 2
Emotional intelligence is quickly becoming a hot topic with today's corporations. In my company, leaders were recently required to complete workshops on emotional intelligence.
What is emotional intelligence? According to business authors Andrew S. Kane and Kristin MacDermott, it's defined as understanding the cause and effect of your emotions and managing them. It's about self-awareness and self-control.
Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared Kane and MacDermott's insights on why emotional intelligence is a key factor in a leader's success, above and beyond experience and skill set, and how emotional intelligence affects the leader mindset.
Today, we're sharing the impact of emotional intelligence on three other key areas of leadership responsibility: putting together the right team, executing the vision and developing future leaders.
Putting together the right team. The best teams are greater than the sum of their parts. This happens when each person is working in their strengths, getting their needs met, living in alignment with their personal and corporate values, and has beliefs that empower them to achieve their goals. Leaders with high emotional intelligence demonstrate these traits and understand how to assess them in potential hires.
For leaders to put the right people in the right seats, they must be trustworthy enough to have candid conversations that include discussions about strengths, weaknesses, setbacks, failures, needs, values and beliefs. Leaders with emotional intelligence are forthcoming about their own setbacks, failures and weaknesses because they have learned from them. Their own candor promotes honest conversations about the weaknesses of potential team members, which allows them to build a team with complementary strengths. Similarly, their alignment with the needs, values and beliefs that will empower the company allows them to discern whether candidates are truly a good fit.
Executing the vision. Great teams and cultures are built on trust. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are masters of five skills that allow them to develop cultures of trust: good communication, ability to delegate, listening, honesty and self-awareness of how they are perceived by others.
Good communication is honest, direct and constructive. Leaders with high emotional intelligence demonstrate empathy and know how to deliver feedback and criticism in a way that does not make people defensive. They are comfortable with uncomfortable conversations because they are in control of their own emotions. Their awareness about strengths, needs, and human behavior allows them to resolve conflict in a way that allows all parties to feel heard and validated. This awareness and the empathy that comes with it also allows them to communicate in a way that motivates, inspires and coalesces people around their vision.
Great leaders delegate. They are secure enough to want others to be better than they are at their jobs. They are not plagued by self-doubt and they can trust others, let go of control and allow others to succeed without micromanaging. Since they are confident in their own strengths and abilities, they never take credit for another's work. They allow others to shine and are quick to recognize and reward other people.
A hallmark of high emotional intelligence is the ability to listen-and listen well. This means listening without always having the answer, trying to solve the problem yourself or debating the issue. Leaders with high emotional intelligence understand the power of silence. They do not interrupt. They do not make every situation about themselves.
Leaders with high emotional intelligence are also honest. They admit what they don't know, and they talk openly about what they have learned from their challenges and disappointments. They also admit when they are wrong. This candor, authenticity and vulnerability allows people to connect with them. It makes people feel safe. It engenders loyalty.
The best leaders understand how they are perceived by others, which is critical to building trust. People who are unaware of, or fundamentally wrong about, how they come across to others miss opportunities to connect and instead make people feel uncertain and often insecure. Leaders who care about how their interactions affect others and try to address their shortcomings have better relationships, which should lead to higher satisfaction in the workplace and better retention of employees.
Developing future leaders. Emotional intelligence gives leaders the tools to develop others into leaders. It gives them a growth mindset, which is a belief in the human capacity to learn. In fact, great leaders actually encourage failure, because they know it's a catalyst for learning and growth. They know that great ideas come from cultures where stretching and trying new things—even at the risk of failing and learning—are valued.
Emotional intelligence gives leaders the confidence and wisdom to be great coaches and mentors, and the credibility to teach others because they have earned trust and respect by modeling alignment, authenticity and courage.
Emotional intelligence can be learned, but it requires leaders to open themselves up to honest feedback from others, and the reward is improved relationships that make a difference.
Source: Andrew S Kane, OBE, Ph.D. works with clients to tackle tough issues that arise as clients journey through their adulthood. He co-authored the article with Kristin MacDermott, LMFT, that was the basis for this PCT.