Now more than ever, those in leadership positions in every single organization are being judged by their workforces. How we lead people through times of change and turbulence says a lot about us as leaders. Imagine if you were so effective as a leader that you were able to be your organization’s competitive advantage? Attracting and retaining the best talent and driving optimal performance. Would you be surprised to learn that emotional intelligence can give you that competitive advantage?
In 1990, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, coined the term “emotional intelligence (EI)” describing it as a: “Form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.”1
In 1995, Daniel Goleman popularized it through his work and best-selling book entitled “Emotional Intelligence”. In one of Harvard Business Reviews most popular articles “What Makes a Great Leader” Goleman states: “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence…it is not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant…they are entry level requirements for executive positions.”
As a female executive who has spent a large part of my career sitting on leadership teams, and coaching and working with top executives, often when the word “emotion” surfaces, it brings with it negative connotations. Some “feel” that emotions are a sign of weakness and have no place in the workplace. That facts are the only basis to solve problems and make decisions.
Logic vs Emotion
But where does our decision making come from? Emotions are actually very rational. In fact, countless research studies have concluded that up to 90 percent of the decisions we make are based on emotion. We use logic to justify our actions to ourselves and to others. I think Dale Carnegie (American writer and lecturer, and the developer of courses in self-improvement and interpersonal skills) said it best: “Remember when dealing with people that you are not dealing with creatures of logic but with creatures of emotion.” If our emotions drive our behaviours and the behaviour of others, then doesn’t it make sense that we need to really understand them? To learn how to identify them? Regulate them? And leverage them for better outcomes? And what is super cool is that EI can be developed; and there are some amazing tools out there to measure it.
Imagine a workplace where everyone works to strengthen their EI muscles in order to deepen connections and drive performance? By better understanding who we are and how we show up, and by purposely focusing on the role that emotions play in those around us, we make better decisions and connect with others in a more impactful way. That drives engagement and performance. Interested in learning more?