EI and Leadership

As a leader, you set the emotional tone that others follow. Our brains are hardwired to cue in (both consciously and unconsciously) to others’ emotional states. This is particularly true for leaders. People want to know how a leader feels and will synchronize with authorities they trust. The emotional tone that permeates your organization starts with you as a leader, and it depends entirely on your emotional intelligence, or EI. When employees feel upbeat, they’ll go the extra mile to please customers. There’s a predictable business result: For every 1% improvement in the service climate, there’s a 2% increase in revenue. The table that follows, provided by TalentSmart’s Dr. Travis Bradbury, contrasts the behaviors of high-EI vs. low-EI leaders: Leaders with Low EI Leaders with High EI Sound off even when it won’t help Only speak out when doing so helps the situation Brush off people when bothered Keep lines of communication open, even when frustrated Deny that emotions impact their thinking Recognize when other people are affecting their emotional state Get defensive when challenged Are open to feedback Focus only on tasks and ignore the person Show others they care about them Are oblivious to unspoken tension Accurately pick up on the room’s mood CEOs Score Low EI Measures of EI in half a million senior executives, managers and employees across industries, on six continents, reveal some interesting data. Scores climb with titles, from the bottom of the ladder upward toward middle management, where EI peaks. Mid-managers have the highest EI scores in the workforce. After that, EI scores plummet. Because leaders achieve organizational goals through others, you...

Emotional Intelligence, IQ, Personality and Income

Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect. There is no connection between IQ and emotional intelligence. Intelligence is your ability to learn, as well as retrieve and apply knowledge. Emotional intelligence is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. While some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it. Personality is the stable “style” that defines each of us. It’s the result of hard-wired preferences, such as the inclination toward introversion or extroversion. IQ, emotional intelligence and personality each cover unique ground and help explain what makes us tick. When we feel good, we work better. Feeling good lubricates mental efficiency, facilitating comprehension and complex decision-making. Upbeat moods help us feel more optimistic about our ability to achieve a goal, enhance creativity and predispose us to being more helpful. How does emotional intelligence contribute to professional success? The higher you climb the corporate ladder and the more people you supervise, the more your EI skills come into play. TalentSmart tested EI alongside 33 other important workplace skills and found it to be the strongest predictor of performance, responsible for 58% of success across all job types. Likewise, more than 90% of top performers in leadership positions possessed a high degree of EI. On the flip side, just 20% of poor performers demonstrated high EI. Your emotional intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills, and it impacts most everything you say and do each day. It strongly drives leadership...

The Emotional Brain

There’s no escaping our emotions. Whether we like what we feel or not, we’re emotional creatures. Our first reaction to any event is always emotional. We have no control over this part of the process in our brains. We can, however, control the thoughts that follow an emotion, how we react, and what we say and do. Your reactions are shaped by your personal history, which includes your experiences in similar situations and your personality style. When you develop your emotional intelligence, you’ll learn to spot emotional triggers and practice productive responses. EI is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. It affects how you manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. There are a couple of popular definitions, but most experts agree that EI is composed of four core skills that are paired under two primary competencies: personal and social. Emotional Intelligence What I See What I Do Personal Competence Self-awareness Self-management Social Competence Social Awareness Relationship Management Personal competence includes self-awareness and self-management skills that focus on your interactions with other people. Self-Awareness is your ability to perceive your emotions accurately and be aware of them as they happen. Self-Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to be flexible and positively direct your behavior. Social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior and motives to improve the quality of your relationships. Social Awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on other people’s emotions and understand what’s really...

Leadership’s Link to Emotional Intelligence

More than anyone else, the boss creates the conditions that directly determine people’s ability to work well. ~ Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership Ever wonder why some of the most brilliant, well-educated people aren’t promoted, while those with fewer obvious skills climb the professional ladder? Chalk it up to emotional intelligence (EI). When the concept first emerged in 1995, EI helped explain why people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs more than two-thirds of the time. I see this in the work I do executive coaching. Some of the brightest seem to be lacking when it comes to emotions. In the United States, experts had assumed that high IQ was key to high performance. Decades of research now point to EI as the critical factor that separates star performers from the rest of the pack. People have been talking about EI (also called EQ) ever since psychologist Daniel Goleman published the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence in 1995. Everyone agrees that emotional savvy is vital, but we’ve generally been unable to harness its power. Many of us lack a full understanding of our emotions, let alone others?. We fail to appreciate how feelings fundamentally influence our everyday lives and careers. Goleman has brought out another book, The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, which helps explain more. It turns out the emotions are an intricate part of decision making. We don’t realize how much of an influence they have over everyday planning and interacting. People with injuries in the emotional center of the brain retain their intelligence or IQ, but are unable to function well when they lack...

The Bridge to What Matters

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. ~ Helen Keller Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney always communicated their “why” – why the reasons they acted, why they cared and their future hopes. Great business leaders follow suit: Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, believed air travel should be fun and accessible to everyone. Apple’s Steve Wozniak thought everyone should have a computer and, along with Steve Jobs, set out to challenge established corporations’ status quo. Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton believed all people should have access to low-cost goods. Starbucks’ Howard Schultz wanted to create social experiences in cafe’s resembling those in Italy. Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to you to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and your own values: In what way can you make a difference through company products and services? How can you express what truly matters in the work you do? In what ways can you make a difference in the world through the people you work for and with? Making a Difference When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages. You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with what you want them to do. You must first communicate why it’s important. Strive to be like the leaders...