Our ability to understand the human brain continues to evolve as further research and technological capabilities allow additional insight into this complex organ. For example, we have recently begun to understand the role of mirror neurons. We can fire these to influence positive actions, both when we act and when we see it performed in others. Thus enabling higher concepts like connection and compassion that employees can learn through mimicry of others. Therefore, leaders must understand how to recognize, understand, and manage our feelings to effectively and efficiently identify, understand, and influence the emotions of those in our care in a responsible manner.
"By teaching people to tune in to their emotions with intelligence and to expand their circles of caring, we can transform organizations from the inside out and make a positive difference in our world" ― Daniel Goleman
The leadership of an organization can create a more engaged workforce by strengthening overall emotional intelligence (EI). Doing so well leads to a strategic advantage of increasing job satisfaction, resulting in higher individual and team performance. These benefits are an outcome of:
1. Being more empathetic during difficult conversations.
2. Managing our emotions and those of our coworkers during stressful or overwhelming situations.
3. Enhancing conflict resolution.
4. Strengthening our ability to motivate and coach the workforce.
5. Increasing employee collaboration potential.
6. Building an environment of psychological safety.
Understanding that emotions precede thought is key to improving the potential for ourselves and others to achieve greater levels of success in our personal and professional lives. If these benefits are desirable, we should look at an overview of EI.
Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis share that EI comprises four domains and twelve elements:
1. Self-awareness – The ability to recognize emotions and how they shape our response to what is occurring in our environment.
a. 1) Emotional self-awareness
2. Self-management – The ability to manage emotions healthily, adapt to changing circumstances, control impulsive thoughts, and complete commitments.
a. 2) Emotional self-control
b. 3) Adaptability
c. 4) Achievement orientation
d. 5) Positive outlook
3. Social awareness – The ability to empathetically interact with others by recognizing environmental cues and power dynamics when working to establish group comfort.
a. 6) Empathy
b. 7) Organizational awareness
4. Relationship management – The establishment of stronger bonds in our interactions by inspiring and influencing the workforce through clear communication leading to high-performance teams void of conflict.
a. 8) Influence
b. 9) Coach and mentor
c. 10) Conflict management
d. 11) Teamwork
e. 12) inspirational leadership
These leading EI practitioners recommend assessment tools to include the 360-degree assessment that will help to gauge one's current capability in this crucial leadership area. They further suggest working with an expert who can improve areas that need strengthening.
A three-year study of Amadori, a European food manufacturing supplier to McDonald's, asked three questions:
1. Does emotional intelligence affect individual performance?
2. Does emotional intelligence affect organization engagement?
3. Does organizational engagement impact organizational performance?
The results found that EI predicted:
1. Forty-seven percent of the variation in the performance scores of managers.
2. A strong correlation between increased organizational engagement and EI explained 76% of the variation by a manager.
3. Improvement of the bottom line through higher organizational engagement.
An additional benefit was a 63% reduction in employee turnover of the sales force during the study period attributed to the emphasis on using EI skills. Enhancing managerial EI competencies through personal development led to a better corporate culture dealing with change and complexity.
The continuing emergence of a different understanding of the human brain allows us to implement further improvement plans to develop our EI skills. Savvy leaders will embrace emotional intelligence to reframe their ability to positively impact employee job satisfaction and performance. With proper help, we can improve these essential capabilities necessary to lead effectively with empathy and compassion. The potential for increasing individual performance that enhances organizational engagement with a resulting better bottom line should entice us to embrace EI fully.
A quick way to do an initial assessment of our Emotional Intelligence is a set of four tools. First, the author presents that the separation of good and great performers is a strong EI. Furthermore, we can use training to improve our EI, unlike our IQ. The recommended tools are:
1. Psychology Today – A fifty-year-old survey history comprises a comprehensive list of 146 questions - free.
2. Mind Teams - A quick 15-question assessment - free.
3. Institute for Health and Human Potential - Another short 17-question assessment - free.
4. TalentSmart – Those wanting to take their evaluation to the next level can use a for-fee service that includes self and 360 EQ and leadership assessment options.
Wise leaders will take the time to evaluate their EI and put a plan in place to improve it if necessary.
I am grateful to those that have worked to develop a more robust understanding of emotional intelligence. The importance of developing this essential skill has increasing value in our current state of unrest. In a contemporary environment, we need leaders with strong EI skills if we are going to pull ourselves out of the current downward spiral of social unrest and political divisiveness.
Next week's blog will look at the need for leaders to understand the benefits of coaching to strengthen the adoption of the humanist manufacturing framework.
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