Leadership ain’t what it used to be! And the challenges of a business leader in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) World aren’t those that you read in your job specification!
Never more so in industry have people needed to feel safe and to have a sense of belonging. Our brains are on full alert throughout most of our working week (if not our weekends as we struggle to find a good work/life balance). We vacillate from fight, flight, freeze, and survive to inertia mode. Of course it’s not all bad – we sometimes thrive along the way too. And, if we’re smart leaders, we check into recovery on a regular basis and have a self-actualization strategy to prevent anxiety and burnout.
With the Internet technology revolution and cyclical economic recessions human capital struggles to keep up. Child and business psychologists observe that empathy, the glue that binds us, is on the decline. Teams are working less well together. Leaders aren’t leading with emotional competence. And people are walking out of the workplace in swathes to become self-employed, because they won’t subscribe to the old ways of being managed.
Enter the emotionally intelligent business leader.
He or she knows where they are going, are self-assured, authentic and comfortable in their own skin. They have optimism, humility, perspective and balance. Great leaders are willing to learn and they practice what they preach. But above all, they are superb at building empathy and relationships that stand the test of the crazy business world in which we operate. Being this leader is a tall order. You have to be all things to all men and women.
So how do we survive and thrive as leaders today? How can we develop the competencies needed to win hearts and minds? How can we be bold and compassionate at the same time? And how can we prepare ourselves for the uncertainty of tomorrow. And the day after?
You can start by asking yourself these 8 questions:
1. How do you come across to those you lead?
2. How do you know (how you come across)?
3. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (brilliant) how would you rate yourself for skills like self-reliance, self-control and adaptability?
4. How straightforward are you as a leader?
5. Do you consistently do what you say you’ll do?
6. Do you communicate with integrity?
7. How much time do you spend listening to your people on a 1-to-1 basis?
8. How optimistic are you about the future success of your business?
There is much work to be done in persuading the patriarchy that the word “emotion” is valid in the same sentence as “intelligent” and “leader” – but we will get there. We have to! And before it’s too late, before robots replace the emotionally incompetent among the workforce.
In 2016 we have the hard, economic facts to make a compelling case for investing in emotional intelligence across our managers and leaders. It’s not going to happen overnight – EQ is made up of a broad and challenging set of leadership competencies. Take just one: self-control. Some leaders spend their entire careers grappling with their temper, their defensive nature, and their anger management.
But we have robust development methods and tools now. EQ is more important than IQ – certainly when working with people. We must continue to raise awareness and educate leaders on what it takes to be great. We can learn how to win hearts and minds as well as bolster the bottom line.
If you want to find out more about Emotional Intelligence in Leadership, or explore your own EQ, Amanda is our guest expert in The Academy for Talented Women September Webinar Masterclass on “How to ensure your Emotional Intelligence defines Who You Are as a Leader” on 21st September at 12.30pm UK time. As a member of The Academy you can choose to attend live or catch the recording that we upload in the members’ area. For 21st September at 1pm. Get all the details and become and enroll as a member by clicking here.