Emotional Intelligence is a trendy subject within companies.
However the concept in such is not so new. It always has been there, from the beginning of times. In fact we all are born with this capability.
Since 2006 top American companies like Google -Program Search Inside Yourself-, General Mills, Apple, NASA, Deloitte,… and many others have been innovating with the implementation of training and coaching programs based on E.Q and awareness development. These programs have been implemented not only for the employees but mainly for leaders. And as results these programs have brought more attention on their tasks, increased performance, less stress, more commitment to their employees and more well-being and happiness at work.
Which are the benefits that E.Q strategies can bring to leadership?
Daniel Goleman, known as the Father of the Emotional Intelligence, says Emotional Intelligence is the capability of knowing our emotions and the emotions of the others. E.I is built on a set of emotional competences: knowing my emotions, managing the emotions, motivating myself, recognising the emotions of the others and establishing relationships.
And I would like to add two more: emotional wellbeing in daily life and compassion. Emotional well-being means having mental stability or balance whatever happens in personal or professional life and its based in inner resources. This means being adaptable to the different situations and develop resilience to go ahead.
Compassion means being for the others and developing a strong relationship based in helpfulness, kindness and love.
Emotional Intelligence as a capability can be trained. We can learn how to observe, feel, understand and accept our and other emotions and thoughts. We can learn how to face difficulties with objectivity without an emotional impact. We can learn how to make better relationships at work based on empathy and active listening skills to achieve better results. We can learn even how to manage our anger, fear or other negative emotions using inner resources and integrated tools.
E.Q brings the development of emotional competences, emotional behaviours and a balance attitude for people. It also brings awareness.
What can be the impact of all of this for leaders?
Leaders face extreme external situations that require self-esteem, self-management, strong decision-making, listening and leadership skills –which also means self-confidence-, and high doses of empathy and humour. Moreover individual emotions and thoughts are also playing their role in these situations.
A good leader has to be almost an emotional and mental Superman to finish the day in balance.
Studies about stress all over the world (Peiró at all, 1996, Kelloway, Sivanathan, Francis y Barling, 2004) show that the leaders behaviour with employees can be one of the most common sources of stress in the workplace. Non-cooperative leadership styles can bring strain and worse results than a resonant –sharing and transformational- leadership style. If we add multitasking and bad communication to it, the result is a bad performance and losses for the company.
Positive manners however bring better results and prevent stress in employees.
Leaders play an important role into people´s performance. That means they have the responsibility to create the flourishing environment where teams can develop positive ways to achieve their own goals based on co-creating strategies.
So, what makes a leader behave in either inspiring or non-motivating way?
In a Harvard Business Review article, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman report on a dataset that asked over 300,000 leaders, managers, and employees what skills have the greatest impact on their success. 6 of the top 8 were EQ-related, 2 were IQ-related (source: https://hbr.org/2014/07/the-skills-leaders-need-at-every-level).
No doubt, individual emotional intelligence makes a leader being different as a leader and inspires teams. The way the leader can face (or not) the daily challenges -expected or unexpected- is the clue. And that requires the development of certain emotional competences like:
- Self-knowledge: knowing my emotions and my thoughts, and how my behaviour is depending on them
- Self-management: how being under control in stress situations, feeling fear, anger or difficulties
- Self-motivation: finding my inner resources to reach my objectives
- Building relationships: knowing the other´s emotions and using empathy, open listening, social skills and compassion
- Self-wellbeing: emotional and mental balance
New times for Human Capital development are arising. New leadership styles that combine good results with wellbeing at work are required, because individual harmony makes excellence in the workplace.
Leaders cannot manage people if they don´t self-manage first. They cannot lead others if they don´t develop certain emotional competences first, which are the basis of individual Emotional Intelligence. Therefore, training and coaching leaders in E.Q is the new must for innovation within companies.