Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Results

In pondering the issues of leadership and Steve Jobs, the subject of emotional intelligence comes up. Is passion and creativity enough to lead a company to lasting success? Is “genius” enough when it comes to leadership?

Perhaps a better question is to ask, “Why do we follow/work for egocentric, immature and emotionally disconnected people?” Other than a desire to prove we can tolerate it and still survive, we may also be fascinated by the lure of passion and the possibilities of working for a genius. The downside is that poor relationship skills don’t often show up for a while.

Maybe we’re unsure of our own emotional intelligence, and wouldn’t know how to recognize it — or spot the lack of it —when we make job decisions. In order to refresh myself, I’m reading The Brain and Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Here’s what the research on leadership competencies has found:

  • Intellect is a driver of outstanding performance among leaders
  • Big-picture thinking and long-term vision are important
  • Emotional intelligence is twice as important as technical skills and IQ in leaders
  • The higher the rank of a person considered to be a star performer, the more E.I. capabilities determine effectiveness
  • When star performers are compared with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90 percent of the outstanding competencies are E.I. factors

Self awareness is the first component of E.I. This means that in order to have a good understanding of other people’s emotions, one has to first understand one’s own feelings, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives. How else can you be realistically honest about yourself?

How do you recognize self-awareness? It shows up as candor and an ability to speak accurately and openly about your emotions and the impact they have on your work. I always think one of the hallmarks of self-awareness is a sense of humor about one’s foibles.

But sometimes people are afraid to show that side of themselves, for fear of not looking “tough enough.” What do you think? Can you spot a self-aware, emotionally savvy person you work with?

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