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Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

September 9, 2014

The big question - does higher Ei equal better results? Are organisations likely to be more successful with leaders and staff who are being more Emotionally Intelligent?

Emotional Intelligence, in my experience, is a key ingredient. According to Jo Maddocks (Occupational Psychologist and Ei author) "We all have it - the question is do we choose to use it?"

 

During recent engagement with a large manufacturing company I was chairing a Q&A session with key directors in the business. The objective of the session was to send a clear message to the team on recent changes in structure, answer any questions on future strategy and address some of the operational challenges. One of the key directors was incredibly well qualified, a technical and operational expert, well versed in the challenges of the business and the shape of things to come. Each time a question from the floor arrived he answered with authenticity, passion, enthusiasm and clearly illustrated his views.

 

Between questions he would reach for his smartphone - glance at it, click a few buttons, scan an email or two, and appeared to be engrossed in it. This continued even when other directors were taking questions. As far as the team were concerned, he made no attempt to explain his behaviour - and seemed oblivious to the detrimental effect on the session and on the team's perception of his relationship with the other directors. In Emotional Intelligence terms his lack of self-awareness, and lack of awareness of others played a part in this type of behaviour and undermined his great responses. Clearly an intelligent guy - but in this case emotionally unintelligent. It may have been that he was waiting for a business-critical email or message, or he may, for all I and the rest of the room knew, have been playing Angry Birds.

 

The missing piece of the jigsaw on this occasion was Ei. How can employers develop Ei in their workforce and so improve performance? Not an easy question, but one that Making the Link can help you to answer. 

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