Wired for Success

How to fulfill your potential

A New Look at Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Leaders who are deficient in emotional intelligence continue to be recruited.

Despite the considerable research from psychology and neuroscience, leaders who are clearly deficient in emotional intelligence continue to be recruited, chosen and promoted in organizations.

In working as a consultant and executive coach to senior executives and boards, I am still amazed at how they continue to be attracted by the stereotypical charismatic, ego-driven leaders who see no value in developing self awareness, emotional self-management and building positive relationships.

The term emotional intelligence or EQ was popularized in the mid-1990's by Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Inteligence, which was based on the work of researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey. In addition to creating initial legitimacy for EQ in comparison to general IQ, this work and the research that followed, opened the door to seeing emotions as a legitimate aspect of performance in the workplace. Up to that point, the discussion of emotions and feelings as a leadership competency had almost been taboo.

Howard Gardener and others subsequently identified multiple intellligences and unlike general IQ, which may be fixed for life, EQ was seen as something that could be developed. Subsequently, neuroscience identified aspects of our brains' workings that have signficant implications to how we lead and how employees behave and perform. David Rock very nicely described this in his books Your Brain At Work and Quiet Leadership.  

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While researchers identify and describe varying characteristics of EQ, the main ones are self-awareness, self-management, social intelligence and relationship management.

Shirzad Chamine, the Chairman of CTI, the largest coach training organization in the world, in his very insightful and useful book, Positive Intelligence, argues that only 20% of teams and individuals achieve their potential. He describes 10 mental sabateurs that prevent successful performance and actually cause significant harm. Postive Intelligence or PQ is the "percentage of time your mind is acting as your friend rather than your enemy; or in the other words, is the percentage of time your mind is serving you versus sabotaging you," Chamine contends.

Chamine focused his research on two dynamics:

  1. Often our minds are our own worst enemies by harboring characters that actively sabotage happiness and success;
  2. The muscles of our brain give us access to our greatest wisdoms and insights that have become weak by not being used.

Positive Intelligence provides a great personal leadership model and template for dynamic change through practical and yet simple strategies and exercises.

Our organizations can no longer afford to ignore neuroscience research and now, well-documented findings on the importance of implementing EQ knowledge in choosing and training our leaders. The cost will continue to be too high to do so.

 

 

Ray Williams is the author of Breaking Bad Habits and The Leadership Edge.

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