Surely leaders need to be tough and ruthless? We often are played images of strong silent military leaders, Gordon Geko in Wallstreet or directive global dictators in the media. Today, we are beginning to recognise that view of leadership is a clichéd stereotype. Good leaders engage with their employees at an emotional level. Consider Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford who regularly sends thank you notes to his employees. He states his job is to seek to serve. Or Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo who swears by communicating ideas simply and leading purposefully. Daniel Goleman suggests, emotional intelligence or EQ counts for 90% of the success of high performers!
In an earlier insight post, we provided evidence suggesting employees value humanity from their leaders in the form of ‘selective vulnerability’. Team members are juggling more demands than ever before with more organisational complexity in a new hybrid world, more information to manage and absorb, more life challenges in terms of family well-being and the cost of living crisis. They need leaders that understand and connect, as well as manage and lead. The best leaders know how to use their emotional intelligence as a way to bring the best out of others. Leaders can do this through role-modelling ethical behaviour, subjugating personal needs for those needs of the wider team; protecting and supporting the vulnerable; giving credit where it is due and making their teams feel acknowledged and cared for. The Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report (2023) indicated that managers need to understand that employees need and want to be seen.
Historically if you were better than the rest of the team at spreadsheets, writing strategy or editing marketing copy, you were promoted to a leadership position. In today’s world of AI, it is well-honed emotional intelligence which will give you a competitive edge. AI can tackle the aforementioned list.
The great news is that EQ can be learned. We can all grow our emotional capability and below are some very simple ways to get you started:
- Start today by looking for some of the great things your team are doing and say thank you. Not just thank you, but thank you with a specific example – ‘thank you for …stepping in when Havel was off sick…’
- Admit when you are wrong. You could begin with ‘if I were to do this again, I would…’
- Get in the trenches with your team – when there is a deadline, or someone needs help, if you can, be the first one to offer that help.
In this powerful and entertaining talk, Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, shows you how to use this emotional intelligence to your advantage.
Discover our latest whitepaper on emotional intelligence, exploring its potential to boost leadership effectiveness and cultivate trust within teams.