, Developing Real Leadership: The 5 BIG Mistakes ( # 3)

Developing Real Leadership: The 5 BIG Mistakes ( # 3)

February 14th, 2012 Posted by Leadership Coaching, Leadership Tools, Performance Coaching

Focussing only on the intellectual competencies…

Management is largely about the ‘head’; it’s planning and control, systems processes, problem solving, written communications, and so on and it’s really important for organisations to have people who excel at these functions. There’s no doubt that in order to be competent at any of the above there is a certain level of intelligence (IQ) needed. However, this is management.

Leadership, on the other hand, is all about the heart; it’s feelings, it’s emotions, it’s connectedness, our sense of respect and values. It’s about being aware of ourselves and being able to understand others. These competencies are much more intangible and are often referred to as ‘soft-skills’…they’re called this because they’re much harder to grasp. People who exhibit these skills generally have a high Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Real leaders, and people who are, in general, happier in life, have a high level of EQ. An example of some of the research on the importance of EQ as a predictor of success is the Sommerville study, a 40 year longitudinal investigation of 450 boys who grew up in Sommerville, Massachusetts. Two thirds of the boys were from welfare families, and one-third had IQ’s below 90.

However, IQ had little relation to how well they did at work or in the rest of their lives. What made the biggest difference was childhood abilities such as being able to handle frustration, control emotions, and get along with other people (Snarey & Vaillant, 1985 cited by C. Cherniss, 2000).

Measure key soft-skills in all performance reviews – the application and measurement of these will be different for leaders and for staff.

If we are to manage things and lead people we must be able to deal with the whole person but firstly we must be able to deal with ourselves, to manage our thoughts and our emotions. We must learn to ‘respond’ rather than react. The very word [empathy] seems unbusinesslike, out of place amid the tough realities of the marketplace…  Rather, empathy means taking employee’s feelings into thoughtful consideration and then making intelligent decisions that work those feelings into the response (Boyatzis, Goleman, & McKee, 2002).

To help develop leadership competencies within an organisation is it important to measure the softer skills and adherence to organisational values in a similar manner to the harder skills that normally determine the objectives of a role.

What are your organisational values and what are the behaviours associated with these? How can they be measured and, if an employee is not living up to them, what professional development is available to them?

It is not possible to leave our emotions at the door when we walk into the office. Human beings are emotive creatures and the decisions we make are largely driven by the emotional centres of the brain. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has shown that it is impossible to make a purely intellectual decision without involving those areas that are associated with “gut” responses, empathy and emotional intelligence (Caceda, Gilkey, & Kilts, 2010).

If people do not share a common vision, and do not share a common business reality in which they operate, empowering people will only increase organisational stress and the burden of management to maintain coherence and direction (Senge, 1992). Deepening awareness of personal and corporate ethics and values will enable managers to make decisions and take actions in a consciously principled manner. It is increasingly important that managers model ethics and values to reinforce the organization’s standard of conduct. (Orr, & Sack, 2009).

“Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.”
~ Lance Secretan, Industry Week, October 12, 1998

Knowing what you know now!  How can you become more ’emotionally intelligent’ in your work environment?  What simple steps can you take to draw out the best in your people…and in yourself?

Knowing what you know now!  How can you become more in tune with your employees’ emotions?  How can you help them overcome a challenging time they might be facing to enable to move past it and perform at their best?



If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more in life or business, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.

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