By TERRI RABICOFF
Scottsdale Leadership Class XIX
This is the second of a multi-article series discussing the relationship of leadership and emotional intelligence.
“He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise.”
Leaders need to know what makes everyone tick, starting with themselves. Many leaders do not often recognize, or take into consideration, the impact their behavior has on the very people they rely on for their success. Leaders must not only hold their employees fully accountable for “what” they do, they must hold those employees accountable for “how” they perform their work. To do this, leaders must first be ready to take a straightforward look at themselves to make sure their behaviors are in line with their organization’s stated values, and that their leadership practices are supported by strong emotional intelligence competencies (self-awareness, social awareness, self-management & relationship management). This is essential if the leader is willing to build strong, long-lasting relationships and effective leadership.
Dealing with emotionally precarious situations in the workplace can become complicated, and leaders sometimes side step issues they should confront. When these difficult situations are compounded with inadequate communication skills, the end result can become extremely volatile. The lack of ability to control emotions and display effective communication skills can lead to unsettled conflicts, low morale and diminished productivity. Effective management of employee frustration, anger and upset is critical to employee commitment, motivation and productivity, as well as to an organization’s overall health and profitability. The need exists to help leaders learn to use their emotions in a productive manner and, if necessary, to develop the needed skills for relating well with others.
The benefits of understanding how emotional intelligence competencies contribute to fostering strong leadership qualities for individuals and organizations has far reaching implications. “According to research conducted by Wilson Learning Corporation in Eden Prairie, MN, not only is there a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and job performance, but the biggest contributor to employee satisfaction — and thus productivity — is leadership” (Caudron, 1996, ¶ 3). Organizations can be instrumental in supporting this effort by identifying cultural and leadership principles that promote leadership supported by emotional intelligence.