In a study of 1996 Daniel Goleman published his findings on the strong correlation between emotional intelligence and a company’s success. He compared highly successful leaders with average ones and found that nearly 90% of difference in their profiles was related to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities.
Today, over 20 years later, despite its importance the emotional impact of a leader’s behavior is nearly never discussed at the workplace – unless something goes horribly wrong.
But why are we so reluctant to acknowledge emotional intelligence as a serious success factor ? Why do we not consider to develop it like we do so easily with more ‘tangible’ skills?
The answer certainly lies in the fact that it is much easier to manage tasks than to manage our inner self. For many of us, this is the most difficult challenge of all, be it in your personal or professional life. As a leader you have to first know yourself before you can manage your emotions and influence the emotions of others in a positive way.
It is worth the effort
As pointed out by Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee in their essay ‘Primal Leadership’ Emotional Intelligence is carried through an organization like electricity through wires. To be more specific, the leader’s mood is quite literally contagious, spreading quickly and inexorably throughout the business.
In other words, if you as a leader spread positive energy and optimism your team members will follow you. If you are energetic and upbeat, your team will be in a better mood, more creative, and open for collaboration across the organization.
And the speed of mood spreading among people that are physically close is impressive. Back in 1981, the psychologists Howard Friedman and Ronald Riggio found that even when people sit silently together in a room facing each other, the mood of the most expressive one spreads to the others within less than 2 minutes – without saying a single word...
Laughter is the most contagious of all emotions
Positive emotions and warmth spread much easier than irritability or depression. And laughter is the most contagious of all, as long as it’s authentic and genuine. However, you have to make sure that you display behaviors and emotions that are suitable to the situation you or your company are in. It is not adequate to try to downplay a serious crisis by telling jokes. In challenging situations you should lead the way with a healthy dose of optimism and hope.
Emotional Leadership is the spark that ignites a company’s performance, creating a bonfire of success or a landscape of ashes. Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee
Emotional Intelligence can be learned
In contrast to IQ, you can improve your Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) through persistence and practice, or through a coaching that is adapted to this need.
A classic approach…
to enhance Emotional Intelligence is based on two self-focused elements, which I consider as the foundation you need to work on to go further : Monitoring your behavior and moods through self-awareness and managing or changing them through self-control. Once you have addressed these you can focus on your awareness of others and develop (if not already present) empathy to understand the consequences of your behavior, and you can work on building solid relationships.
A powerful approach
A less known but extremely powerful approach is to work on your inner self by opening up ways to dissolve your inner blockages, fears and patterns. You can access your inner self via the St. Galler Coaching Model (SCM)®, a value-oriented methodology that connects you to existing resources and trains new skills to enable you to live up to your full potential.
Whatever approach you chose, your Emotional Intelligence quotient (EQ) is certainly more important than your IQ or your technical skills when it comes to your performance as a leader.
What are you waiting for to strengthen your potential for success?