In recent weeks, we’ve posted about the importance of self-awareness and understanding behavioral styles to successful leadership. Related and equally important to one’s internal leadership skills—and outward leadership success—is emotional intelligence (EQ), especially when inspiring others to support strategic changes in an organization.
Ian R. Lazarus, FACHE, CEO of Creato Performance Solutions, suggests that “emotional intelligence requires that a person be socially-aware by understanding the emotional and behavioral makeup of the people around them.” In fact, he even declares leading with emotional intelligence flies in the face of a common guiding principle: the golden rule. Why?
Into every interaction we have each day, we bring our emotions. Our emotions are expressed through our behavior. So, for example, you might respond to a difficult situation by focusing on work and putting the anger aside. But your fellow employee who expresses anger through silence might see your solitude as something different altogether. While you’re concentrating and moving your project forward, he or she is seething and can’t understand why you haven’t noticed and aren’t responding. By treating your fellow employee the way you’d like to be treated, essentially giving them space, you’d actually be exacerbating the situation.
Lazurus adds, “It does sound good in theory: if I treat others as I wish to be treated, then the universe remains in balance and harmony. The problem is, we are all wired differently and there are near infinite number of behavioral responses and associated emotions that can come from our daily interactions…emotions that individuals will exhibit when they interact with others, face stressful situations, or undergo change. A person who is oblivious to this fact is headed for a series of frustrating relationships… Once I understand how a person is ‘wired’ behaviorally and emotionally, I am in a position to give the other person whatever they need.”
Of course, the logical chain of thought might lead you to form a team comprised of individuals who think and respond just like you. It would seem this is the best way to avoid the emotional roadblocks that show up while creating and navigating change. But from our post, earlier this week, we know this simply isn’t true. Teams face a variety of challenges in executing a given assignment, which means varied approaches (behavioral styles) are needed to solve those challenge and cross the finish line.
Lazarus concurs. In this article, he shares the dangers of surrounding oneself with like individuals, and states that instead, “an emotionally intelligent leader will honor the differences in his or her team and leverage them. Leveraging them means listening to them, learning from them, and appreciating them for who they are.”
The good news is EQ is an intelligence that can be honed and developed, and with this wisdom, you can engage your team towards embracing change and truly transform your organization.
What’s your EQ? Come discover this rapidly growing area of leadership development at A Proven Formula for Achieving Enterprise Operational Excellence at the Seattle Cluster, Aug. 19-20 in Seattle, with Ian R. Lazarus, FACHE and Wendy Novicoff, PhD, senior associate partner, Creato Performance Solutions and professor, University of Virginia School of Medicine. You’ll learn how to achieve sustainable improvement capability and operational excellence, both as an individual and on behalf of the entire organization.