May 11, 2008

High I.Q. or Emotional Smarts?

I have always loved working with people. I was fascinated as to why the one was so successful in many areas of life and to see another struggle with little result. What was it that caused this difference? Then in 1995 I read a book by Daniel Goleman called simply, 'Emotional Intelligence' which made many things clear to me.

People with a high EQ possess the ability to understand their strengths and weaknesses and those of others. They are able to express their feelings and thoughts non-destructively. They have a high level of empathy and are therefore able to relate, understand and be aware of other people's feelings. People with a highEQ can afford to be open because they are generally comfortable with who they are and relate well to others. They tend to successfully cope with daily demands and challenges and cope with immediate situations realistically and withflexibility . They manage their emotions so that they work for them and not against them often resulting in a positive, optimistic and self-motivated approach to people and life.

John D. Mayer (a personality psychologist, who developed the concept of Emotional Intelligence) gives the following definition:
Emotional intelligence refers to an ability to recognize the meanings of emotion and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them. Emotional intelligence is involved in the capacity to perceive emotions, assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of those emotions, and manage them.

The demands of modern leadership require a new set of skills . The autocratic management style is being less and less accepted by people in the workplace, who now have a growing sense of independence and value. Successful leaders are democratic and let their team participate in vision and purpose. While giving opportunities for development and growth, autonomy and freedom, a good leader will take the responsibility of the team and be a mentor and coach. Managers who do not develop their emotional intelligence have difficulty in building good relationships with peers, subordinates, superiors and clients (Goleman, 1998).

Effective leaders will be conscious of their self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, commitment and integrity. Communication is an essential element in managing a team (as it is in any relationship). An effective leader is able to communicate directly and clearly and will listen. Nobody is able to read minds and without clarity in what is expected or what the direction, a team will not work in coherence and cooperation.
Self-awareness is the deep understanding of one's emotions, strengths and weaknesses, an ability to accurately and honestly self-assess.
Self-management is about control and regulation of one's emotions, the ability to stay calm, clear and focused when things do not go as planned, the ability for self-motivation and initiative. Both these are personal domains, the following are social domains and concern a person's ability to manage relationships with others.
Social awareness covers empathy and the ability to consider other's feeling e.g. when making intelligent decisions either on a one-on-one basis or as a group.
Relationship management covers the ability to communicate, influence, collaborate and work with others.

William A. Cohen said that great leaders are made and not born. If so, then everyone can become at least a good leader. Some people are born to shake the world, but those of us who are not can learn and develop skills.

Bruce Avolio, Ph.D., director of the Center for Leadership Studies at SUNY-Binghamton says:
We've discovered techniques to help you take the helm: Visualize obstacles; set goals and find someone who will hold you accountable to them; seek and incorporate feedback from colleagues; reflect on your best and worst moments; train gradually; broaden your model of leadership to include a full range of styles; and honor high ethical standards.

In a series of five studies, leaders of different ages and levels of experience from around the world participated in workshops with other members of their organizations. Based on this model, the teams developed practical problem-solving techniques and leadership that they successfully deployed over the following six to 12 months. Regardless of whether their skills were born or made, all got the job done equally well.

1 comment:

Lewis said...

there is a really interesting daniel goleman dialogue series called 'wired to connect' that is now being published that i thought you might be interested in. you can listen to free samples of the first five conversations on the publisher's website
best wishes, lewis