Emotional Intelligence is the Leadership Game Changer

I have been curious about leadership development for decades. In the early 2000’s, I came across the seminal book Emotional Intelligence (EI) by Daniel Goleman which was groundbreaking in defining what makes a leader.  

Emotional and Social intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions effectively in ourselves and in others. It describes the behaviors that sustain people in challenging roles or as their careers become more demanding, and it captures the qualities that help people deal effectively with change. 

In Goleman’s earliest work, he conducted research with 188 companies and found that the qualities traditionally associated with leadership- such as intelligence and technical skills – are required for success, yet they are insufficient. The truly effective leaders have high degrees of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

When calculating the ratio of technical skills, IQ and emotional intelligence as ingredients for excellent performance, EI proved to be twice as important as the others for outstanding performance at all levels of organizations.

Since 1995, Goleman has advanced his research, refining the framework of EI qualities. These initial five qualities evolved into four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. 

Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding your own emotions. All of the other emotional and social intelligence competencies are built upon emotional self-awareness.

Self-management: Effectively managing your own emotions. Keeps you open-minded and focused. Helps you channel your energies and contain your frustrations.

Social Awareness: Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others. Helps you tune in and stay alert to others’ feelings and perspectives, and enables you to observe – accurately – influencers, decision makers, relationships and networks.

Relationship Management: Applying emotional understanding in your dealings with others. Enables you to bring out the best in others. Helps you deliver much more than you possibly can on your own.

Within each domain are 12 EI competencies which are learnable capabilities that foster outstanding performance as a leader.

Our self-perception or intention may not align with how others perceive our actions. The ability to close the gap between self-perception and reputation lies in the EI competencies. To excel, leaders need to develop the entire suite of EI competencies. Some competencies may be more naturally present than others. All competencies can be learned and measured.

An initial step to develop EI competencies is to complete a comprehensive 360-degree assessment which collects your self-rating and the views of others that know you well. The different rater groups should be your manager, the people you lead, peers, customers/clients and others you work closely with. The more raters included, the better perspective you will gain. Receiving results of a 360-degree assessment is the first step to map your journey in developing EI competencies. Coaching is the most effective method for supporting your development as you practice new behaviors and develop new perspectives.

I recently became certified in the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI 360) developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis in partnership with Korn Ferry. The assessment measures the 12 different competencies through reviewing 68 specific behaviors. I am excited to have a tool to support the learning I have gained about EI over the last 20 years. I can now support leaders in their journey from knowledge to measurement to development of behaviors.

If you are feeling like it is time to “up your game” as a leader, consider the ESCI 360 and coaching support to move to the next level as a leader. Not sure where to start? Let’s connect to explore your options.