Emotional Intelligence Makes Better Leaders

Emotional intelligence has become a hot topic among executive coaches as more and more research has shown that those with high EQ (Emotional Quotient) make better leaders. A growing body of work shows that leaders who rate highly in the components of emotional intelligence are better at customer service, sales, motivating employee performance, and developing support for ideas and strategy. All these activities have a measurable, positive impact on a company’s success.

Every company has stories of the intelligent, ambitious manager who was promoted to an executive position only to fail dramatically while another less obviously gifted colleague soared in a leadership role. The difference may be emotional intelligence.
Researchers at the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University, found important ties between emotional intelligence and measurable business results.
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Researcher Daniel Goleman, who pioneered the concept of emotional intelligence and leadership, states that “research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”

In his research, Goleman polled 188 companies, many of which are large multinationals such as Lucent Technologies, British Airways, and Credit Suisse, for the qualities they look for in outstanding leaders. Psychologists also developed profitability and success models to identify start performers in each firm and interviewed them extensively. At the end of the project, researchers had a recipe for excellent leaders.
When Goleman’s team analysed the results of the data, they discovered that in the ratio of technical skills, intellect, and emotional intelligence, emotional intelligence was nearly twice as important as the others for success at all corporate levels.

This begs the question: How can companies identify and encourage emotional intelligence in their executives?

How to Identify Emotional Intelligence

According to Goleman’s research, there are five broad components of emotional intelligence that can be identified in managers and employees.
Executives with an abundance of these qualities are very likely to make excellent leaders.

  • Self-Awareness: the ability to understand your own moods and needs and their effects on those around you.
    • Hallmarks: self-confidence and a self-deprecating sense of humour.
  • Self-Regulation: the ability to control or redirect disruptive or negative moods and actions and the ability to think before acting.
    • Hallmarks: Comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity and open-ness to change.
  • Motivation: Passion for work that extends beyond money and status and a drive to achieve goals.
    • Hallmarks: Optimism in the face of failure and a drive to achieve.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand the emotional makeup of others and skill in treating people according to their needs.
    • Hallmarks: Cross-cultural sensitivity and expertise in building and retaining talent
  • Social Skill: Proficiency in building networks and finding common ground for rapport with others.
    • Hallmarks: Persuasiveness and effectiveness in leading change.

Assessing and Building Emotional Intelligence

There are many tools available that enable companies and individuals to assess their own emotional intelligence. At Third Sigma, we usually recommend that people start with a Myers-Briggs®personality test.

The Myers-Briggs® test is useful for:

  • Promoting mutual understanding and respect
  • Providing an opportunity for more open communication
  • Highlighting the importance of understanding and managing diversity
  • Giving insights into how to resolve conflict
  • Providing a complete approach to understanding yourself and others, and finally
  • Providing a tool to speak to others from their perspective

The MSCEIT is another great online tool that assesses ability to problem solve with and about emotion in 4 key areas:

    • Recognising emotions,
    • Using emotions to assist thinking,
    • Understanding emotion and
    • Using emotion to reach effective longer term outcomes.

These tests represent a useful starting point for determining one’s emotional intelligence and are helpful in developing a strategy for future growth and training. Through development, even those without a high level of innate emotional intelligence can improve their skills and leadership ability. Leadership Development can consist of individual executive coaching or workshops to assist Leader to improve  in those areas identified in the tests.

Contact us direct on 1300 733 092 or via the contact form to find out more about how to increase Emotional Intelligence in your leaders.

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