Why Emotional Intelligence is a Key Leadership Metric
in Successful Organizations
“If you are tuned out of your own emotions, you will be poor at reading them in other people” – Daniel Goleman.
An organization’s sustainability is silently yet deeply governed by the quality of its top leadership. Going by what Goleman encapsulates, would you take a moment off your routine and think about the leadership quality at your organization? In doing that, the question you should ask yourself is how capable are you or your top leaders are in handling your individual emotions or those of your employees in situations of distress and external pressures?
Many of us are born with a variety of talents and professional capabilities. However, our overall performance is majorly driven by our emotions. The pitfall is that we either supress those emotions or lose control of them – causing a damage to our relationships and performance—something that might cast a shadow over our best talent and capabilities. This behaviour comes purely from a low self-awareness. So, even if you are not born with Emotional Intelligence – you can indeed learn to practice it for driving business excellence.
As an Emotional Intelligence Facilitator, I often see Emotional Intelligence transforming lives – both professionally and personally. I have read many successful stories on how leaders such as Warren Buffett (CEO, Berkshire Hathaway), Ursula Burns (Ex CEO, Xerox) and Indra Nooyi (Ex CEO, PepsiCo), have transformed their organizations with the power of Emotional Intelligence. Being at the privilege of seeing how leaders, across the world perceive and practice Emotional Intelligence at work through the experiences shared by my clients, I felt all the more intrigued to widen my lens and gather insights from more such thought-leaders. Here is what they shared:
Asked “How emotional intelligence can shape the organisational culture and why it is a necessary skill for leadership effectiveness?”, here’s what Laura Trivulzio-Huijgen, Marketing Director from Bifi had to say:
“Every person brings emotions into the company – from the board of directors upto any level, and when you are dealing with stakeholder management, you really need to see how emotions are stepping into the way. That’s why is really important to look at data and try not to bring the emotional side in. You need to learn how to deal with emotions – how to retain positive emotions and remove negative ones. But not everybody is born with it and hence, emotional intelligence coaching can do magic.”
Further, Vishal Gupta, Organizational Behaviour Professor from IIM Ahmedabad, added, “There are two types of communication that take place in organisations: verbal and non-verbal. While we often place a lot of importance on verbal communication, it is the non-verbal communication that has the potential to impact organisations in a big way. Feelings (emotions) constitute a significant part of non-verbal communication. Even when we are not speaking, we are likely to be experiencing feelings (emotions). Good leaders have the ability to ‘hear the unheard’. Emotions form the part of the non-verbal communication in organisations. Leaders, who are able to understand the emotions of their subordinates are likely to be in a much better situation to take better decisions.”
Jonathan Dsouza, CHRO & Head IT, meanwhile, said that “Emotional Intelligence can powerfully bridge communication gaps within and across teams. Organizations where leaders demonstrate high EQ, strategy and execution are almost seamless (they don’t eat each other for breakfast) as – leaders are able to communicate the context with clarity and drive the purpose from the heart. Along with their teams, they are able to navigate ambiguity with less of panic. Team members feel a sense of purpose due to the security and the quality of conversations that happen due to such behaviours, thereby making teams passionate and self-driven.”
Neena Dasgupta – CEO Zirca, summed up that, “Having leaders who have high emotional intelligence allows the organisation to ensure its people and its business are managed with the empathy needed to guide and the wisdom needed to lead. People are the biggest asset of any organisation and its environment the panacea ensuring high productivity, low attrition and great ability to attract talent.”
Bringing out their individual experiences of witnessing the Emotional Intelligence -led transformations in their respective organizations, these leaders jointly emphasised one factor – that emotional intelligence has become a key leadership trait for organizations that drive business excellence by inducing excellence in their work culture. However, this trait or quality differs from the technical expertise of the leaders.
It involves intent, awareness and intervention through subject matter experts to understand, evaluate and learn how to practice emotional intelligence. Changing habits takes time and it can never be done magically. Motivation and perseverance can drive behavioural change.
How to Identify and Encourage Emotional Intelligence Within your Organization
Circling back to what we touched upon in the beginning of this write-up, here’s something for you to get started with: How would you identify the level of Emotional Intelligence within you or your organization’s leaders? Look for capabilities such as: self-awareness, assertiveness, patience, ability to influence others, self-regard, ability to drive goal accomplishments and the intent to empathise with team members. Most important is to know yourself, your emotions, and avoid labelling your team members as good or bad.
Further, here’s how you get started when you want to empower your leaders:
EI is not limited and confined as IQ. It can be developed over time. Training, coaching and constructive feedback can also substantially improve EI. Building one’s EI can occur easier and faster when you care, when you are willing to learn new behaviors that work and unlearn behaviors that don’t work.
On that note, we would like to learn how much would you agree or disagree with us or any of our thought-leaders above? You can write to us. If you have something to add rather, we would welcome your thoughts too here firstname.lastname@example.org.