Leaders – don’t be so emotional?

An emerging trend in the exploration of leadership development is the role of emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) can be described as the ability to identify, understand, and express emotions.  EI involves processing emotions into thoughts and the ability to manage both positive and negative emotions.

Dan Goleman (a leader in the field of EI) asserted that EI involves the ability to motivate oneself even while frustrated, to control one’s impulses and delay gratification, to manage one’s moods to think clearly, and to remain hopeful.  Dr. Wanda Maulding asserted the need for intellect and emotional intelligence, stating “If we humans were obligated to make decisions based on intellect alone, without the aid of our emotions, in many cases we would make very poor judgments”.

Mark Vickers wrote a very interesting (and frankly, very timely) article in the March 2011 edition of Talent Management Magazine that merits review – especially by those interested in developing exemplary leaders within their organizations:

Are your leaders emotionally stunted?

In the 20th century, talent leaders used to contrast hard-headed, no-nonsense quant jockeys with touchy-feely, empathetic, people-oriented types. They often picked leaders from the first group because they viewed them as strong, decisive and unhindered by emotion when they had to make tough choices.

It was never a useful or accurate decision-making tactic, but now it has become a dangerous one. Recent results from Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) surveys indicate that organizations led by emotionally void leaders are likely to be seriously handicapped.

In my workshop “Branded! for Effective Leadership”, I discuss the 9 signs of effective leadership – congruent competencies that I’ve observed and recognized across various leaders I’ve interacted with over the past 20 years. Although I don’t discuss EI (yet), I caution people to not overlook a multitude of additional leadership qualities – and the perils of assuming “one trait is better than the other”.

Click the title to read Vicker’s article – and think about what you or your organization is doing to insure that leaders are given access to tools that will help them properly develop their own EI…and how that ultimately benefits the entire organization.


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