Leading With Emotional Intelligence

Janelle submitted her hand-written resignation from her job as an executive communications manager, effective immediately. Her C.E.O. shouting at her for the entire floor to hear, was the last straw.

Paul is having difficulty being accepted by his management team. Almost everyone finds him abrasive and blunt and consequently avoids him.

Sue-Ann can’t seem to keep her staff. Her department is the only department in the company with a high turnover.

We don’t need research to tell us what we already know. Relationships matter, not only in our personal lives, but in our professional lives also. Business, like life, is based on relationships. And the quality of your relationships is the natural by-product of the quality of your interactions. The days of authoritative leadership are long gone. The workplace has changed, and people are demanding and expecting a different brand of leadership. Leaders must be more emotionally intelligent to be more effective, to influence others and drive outcomes and desired results.

Emotional Intelligence

The term emotional intelligence was created by two researchers – Professors Peter Salovey and John Mayer – who define emotional intelligence as the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. Emotional Intelligence however was popularized in 1995 by psychologist and behavioural science journalist Dr. Daniel Goleman. Dr. Goleman described emotional intelligence, in his book, “Emotional Intelligence”, as a person’s ability to manage his feelings so that those feelings are expressed appropriately and effectively. This ability also involves utilizing this emotional understanding to make decisions, solve problems, and communicate with others. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace.

The Value Of Emotional Intelligence

The value of emotional intelligence in the workplace can be seen by examining how well the people in the organization work together. Emotional intelligence affects relationships between colleagues, between directors and staff; between C.E.O.s and managers. Emotional intelligence is applicable to every human interaction in the organization: from staff meetings to customer service, from management meetings to company presentations. Emotional intelligence is critical because people are an important part of any business.

The Dimensions Of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that categorised under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence. Personal competence comprises your self-awareness and self-management skills, with a clear focus more on the individually than on an individual’s interactions with other people. Self-awareness refers to your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen whilst self-management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively.

Social competence comprises your social awareness and relationship management skills. Social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviour, and motives. Social Awareness is essentially understanding basic human emotional needs and it helps you to effectively respond to team members thereby improving the quality of your relationships. Relationship Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully. The development of reflective listening and empathy will help improve your relationship management skills.

Are Women Better Leaders Than Men?

Empathy is critical for leadership. Generally, women tend to be better at emotional empathy than men. Women use this emotional empathy to build rapport and relationships, to be understanding counsellors, nurturing teachers, and supportive group leaders.

Numerous tests of emotional intelligence seem to show that women tend to have an edge over men. A new study conducted by the Korn Ferry Hay Group found that women outperform men on nearly all emotional intelligence measures. The study examined 55,000 professionals in 90 countries and revealed women outperformed men in 11 of 12 “emotional intelligence competencies” important for management success. Women scored higher in inspirational leadership, coaching and mentoring, organizational awareness and adaptability. The only category in which women didn’t receive the better scores was “emotional self-control,” where no gender differences were found.

Another study, led by Professor Martinsen, head of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at the BI Norwegian Business School, assessed the personality and characteristics of nearly 3,000 managers. His research revealed, that women were better leaders than their male counterparts in nearly all areas. Women outperformed men in four of the five categories studied: initiative and clear communication; openness and ability to innovate; sociability and supportiveness; and methodical management and goal-setting. However, men did appear to be better than women at dealing with work-related stress and they had higher levels of emotional stability.

Leading with Emotional Intelligence

A business that is led by an emotionally intelligent leader is one which fosters a culture that enables teams to work together to maximum effectiveness. This is a sure strategy that can only increase the organisation’s success, however measured.

Psychologist Ruth Malloy at the Hay Group Boston in her studies on excellence in leaders found that the gender difference impact upon leading with emotional intelligence disappears when you look at the top performers. When examining the star leaders- those in the top ten percent of business performance – gender differences in emotional intelligence abilities vanish: the men are as good as the women, the women as good as the men, across the board. In the end, it is not a matter of gender. It is a matter of how you treat your people. If you want to be a better leader, be a better human.

My article was first published in the Trinidad’s Business Guardian on 14th Februray, 2019.

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