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Why a Fluid Leadership Style Gets Results

Leaders who have mastered four or more leadership styles – especially the authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching – have the very best climate and business performance. And the most effective leaders switch flexibly among the leadership styles as needed.Such leaders don’t mechanically match their style to fit a checklist of situations – they are far more fluid. They are exquisitely sensitive to the impact they are having on others and seamlessly adjust their style to get the best results.

Fluid Leadership In Action

Consider Joan, the general manager of a major division at a global food and beverage company. Joan was appointed to her job while the division was in a deep crisis. It had not made its profit targets for six years; in the most recent year, it had missed by $50 million. Morale among the top management team was miserable; mistrust and resentments were rampant.

Joan’s directive from above was clear: turn the division around. Joan did so with a nimbleness in switching among leadership styles that is rare. From the start, she realized she had a short window to demonstrate effective leadership and to establish rapport and trust. She also knew that she urgently needed to be informed about what was not working, so her first task was to listen to key people.

During her first week on the job she had lunch and dinner meetings with each member of the management team. Joan sought to get each person’s understanding of the current situation. But her focus was not so much on learning how each person diagnosed the problem as on getting to know each manager as a person. Here Joan employed the affiliative style: she explored their lives, dreams, and aspirations.

She also stepped into the coaching role, looking for ways she could help the team members achieve what they wanted in their careers. She followed the one-on-one conversations with a three-day off-site meeting. Her goal here was team building, so that everyone would own whatever solution for the business problems emerged. Her initial stance at the offsite meeting was that of a democratic leader. She encouraged everyone to express freely their frustrations and complaints.

The next day, Joan had the group focus on solutions: each person made three specific proposals about what needed to be done. As Joan clustered the suggestions, a natural consensus emerged about priorities for the business, such as cutting costs. As the group came up with specific action plans, Joan got the commitment and buy-in she sought.

With that vision in place, Joan shifted into the authoritative style, assigning accountability for each follow-up step to specific executives and holding them responsible for their accomplishment.

Over the following months, Joan’s main stance was authoritative. She continually articulated the group’s new vision in a way that reminded each member of how his or her role was crucial to achieving these goals. And, especially during the first few weeks of the plan’s implementation, Joan felt that the urgency of the business crisis justified an occasional shift into the coercive style should someone fail to meet his or her responsibility. As she put it, “I had to be brutal about this follow-up and make sure this stuff happened. It was going to take discipline and focus.”

The results? Every aspect of climate improved. People were innovating. They were talking about the division’s vision and crowing about their commitment to new, clear goals. The ultimate proof of Joan’s fluid leadership style is written in black ink: after only seven months, her division exceeded its yearly profit target by $5 million.

Expand Your Repertory

Few leaders, of course, have all six styles in their repertory, and even fewer know when and how to use them. In fact, as these findings have been shown to leaders in many organizations, the most common responses have been, “But I have only two of those!” and, “I can’t use all those styles. It wouldn’t be natural.”

Such feelings are understandable, and in some cases, the antidote is relatively simple. The leader can build a team with members who employ styles she lacks.

Take the case of a VP for manufacturing. She successfully ran a global factory system largely by using the affiliative style. She was on the road constantly, meeting with plant managers, attending to their pressing concerns, and letting them know how much she cared about them personally.”¨ She left the division’s strategy – extreme efficiency – to a trusted lieutenant with a keen understanding of technology, and she delegated its performance standards to a colleague who was adept at the authoritative approach. She also had a pacesetter on her team who always visited the plants with her.

An alternative approach is for leaders to expand their own style repertories. To do so, leaders must first understand which emotional intelligence competencies underlie the leadership styles they are lacking. They can then work assiduously to increase their quotient of them.

For instance, an affiliative leader has strengths in three emotional intelligence competencies: in empathy, in building relationships, and in communication. Empathy – sensing how people are feeling in the moment – allows the affiliative leader to respond to employees in a way that is highly congruent with that person’s emotions, thus building rapport. The affiliative leader also displays a natural ease in forming new relationships, getting to know someone as a person, and cultivating a bond.

Finally, the outstanding affiliative leader has mastered the art of interpersonal communication, particularly in saying just the right thing or making the apt symbolic gesture at just the right moment. So if you are primarily a pacesetting leader who wants to be able to use the affiliative style more often, you would need to improve your level of empathy and, perhaps, your skills at building relationships or communicating effectively.

As another example, an authoritative leader who wants to add the democratic style to his repertory might need to work on the capabilities of collaboration and communication.

Hour to hour, day to day, week to week, executives must play their leadership styles like golf clubs, the right one at just the right time and in the right measure. The payoff is in the results.

Excerpt from Daniel Goleman’s book, What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters.

 

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IQ or EQ? You Need Both

IQ versus EQ

The CEO of one of the world’s largest financial companies told me, “I hire the best and brightest – but I still get a Bell Curve for performance.” Why, he wanted to know, aren’t the smartest MBAs from top schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton all highly successful on the job?

The answer lies in the interplay between IQ and emotional intelligence – and explains why you need both for high performance.

More than a century of research shows IQ is the best predictor of the job you can get and hold. It takes a high ability level in handling cognitive complexity to be in a profession like medicine, a C-suite executive, or a professor at one of those prestigious business schools.

The more your job revolves around cognitive tasks, the more strongly IQ will predict success. A computer programmer, accountant, and academic will all need strong cognitive skills to do well.

Then why the dismay of that CEO?

The more your success on the job depends on relating to people – whether in sales, as a team member, or as a leader – the more emotional intelligence matters. A high-enough IQ is necessary, but not sufficient, for success.

Just as is true for IQ, there are many models of emotional intelligence. In mine there are two main parts: self-mastery and social intelligence. The purely cognitive jobs require self-mastery – e.g., cognitive control, the ability to focus on the task at hand and ignore distractions.

But the second half of emotional intelligence, social adeptness, holds the key to that CEO’s question. As long as those super-smart MBAs are working by themselves, their IQ and self-mastery makes them high performers. But the minute they have to mesh on a team, meet clients, or lead, that skill set falls short. They also need social intelligence.

Claudio Fernandez-Aroaz, former head of research at Egon Zehnder International, spent decades hiring C-level executives for global companies. When he studied why some of those executives ended up being fired, he found that while they had been hired for their intelligence and business expertise – they were fired for a lack of emotional intelligence. Though they were smart, they were bullies or otherwise inept at people management.

Along the same lines, my colleague Richard Boyatzis, a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University, has found that the vast majority of leadership competencies that predict the performance of sales leaders are based on emotional and social intelligence – not cognitive intelligence (like IQ).

Then there’s a brand new meta-analysis of 132 different research studies involving more than 27,000 people, which I heard reported on by a co-author, Ronald Humphreys, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. That yet-to-be published analysis concluded that emotionally intelligent leaders have the most satisfied employees – if you like your boss, you’re more likely to like your job (just contemplate the opposite, morbid reality).

And reviewing all peer-reviewed research to date, the same study says emotional intelligence has been found to boost:

And then there’s general life satisfaction and the quality of your relationships.

So even though some academic studies seem to show emotional intelligence matters little for success in a job like sales, I’m skeptical.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

LMC-TG-300x

Put theory into practice with the Leadership: A Master Class Training Guide. Each module offers individual and group exercises, self-assessments, discussion guides, review of major points, and key actionable takeaway plans. The materials allow for instructor-led, self-study or online learning opportunities. Includes over 8 hours of video footage with George Kohlrieser, Bill George, Teresa Amabile and more.

What Makes a Leader

What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters presents Daniel Goleman’s groundbreaking, highly-sought Harvard Business Review and Egon Zehnder International articles compiled in one volume. This often-cited, proven-effective material has become essential reading for leaders, coaches and educators committed to fostering stellar management, increasing performance, and driving innovation.

FURTHER READING

Let’s not underrate emotional intelligence

It’s not IQ part 2

Leader spotting: 4 essential talents

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Bridge the gaps: what are your emotional intelligence strengths and limits?

How’s your emotional intelligence?

Just as for IQ, there are several theoretical models of emotional intelligence, each supported by its own set of research findings. Daniel Goleman’s model, which has fared well in predicting actual business performance, looks at a spectrum of EI-based competencies that help leaders to be more effective.

Here are some questions that will help you reflect on your own mix of strengths and limits in EI. This is not a “test” of EI, but more of a “taste” to get you thinking about your own competencies:

  1. Are you usually aware of your feelings and why you feel that way?
  2. Are you aware of your limitations as a leader, as well as your personal strengths?
  3. Can you manage your distressing emotions, such as by recovering quickly when you get upset or stressed?
  4. Can you adapt smoothly to changing realities?
  5. Do you keep your focus on your main goals, and know the steps it takes to get there?
  6. Can you usually sense the feelings of the people you interact with and understand their way of seeing things?
  7. Do you have a knack for persuasion and using your influence effectively?
  8. Can you guide a negotiation to a satisfactory agreement and help settle conflicts?
  9. Do you work well on a team, or do you prefer to work on your own?

In addition to a self-evaluation, it can be helpful to solicit honest feedback from peers, either in the form of anonymous written critiques or in a group setting with people who know you and can  give you feedback about your behavior.

You can also investigate the 360-degree Multi-Rater Assessment, a process that Daniel Goleman helped to develop. Here’s how it works: a certified coach asks your bosses, peers, direct reports, clients, and sometimes family members to critique your emotional and social intelligence abilities. Using this feedback, you can then start to understand the gaps in your EI abilities and look for ways to improve your performance.

No matter which approach you take, chances are you’ll receive some negative feedback. Try not to to focus on your EI shortcomings though; they’re just as important in order to fully understand your strengths.

emotional intelligence mattersLearn more about developing your emotional intelligence in Daniel Goleman’s book, What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters. The book presents Goleman’s groundbreaking and highly-sought after articles from the Harvard Business Review as well as his Egon Zehnder International articles compiled in one volume. This often-cited material is proven-effective and has become essential reading for leaders, coaches, and educators committed to fostering stellar management, increasing performance, and driving innovation.

Consider your “deepest values and loftiest dreams.” How would these be part of your daily life? – See more at: http://www.success.com/article/the-leadership-secret-to-supercharging-your-team#sthash.szPKo2h8.dpuf

To figure out which aspects of emotional intelligence need work, Goleman’s What Makes a Leader suggests “imagining your ideal self” five to 10 years from now. What would your typical day be like? Who would be there? What sorts of relationships would you have with them? Consider your “deepest values and loftiest dreams.” How would these be part of your daily life?

Next: Learn how your ideal self compares with your current self. Goleman recommends answering such questions as:

• Are you usually aware of your feelings and why you feel that way?
• Can you manage your distressing emotions well””e.g., recover quickly when you get upset or stressed?
• Can you usually sense the feelings of the people you interact with and understand their way of seeing things?
• Do you have a knack for persuasion and using your influence effectively?

Don’t just introspect. You also need to find out how you make others feel and how they see your leadership style. This can be tough to glean, of course, especially from employees. One possibility is to solicit anonymous written critiques. You also might form or join a support group in which peers who know you well (perhaps outside your company) give you frank opinions about your behavior.

Then there’s “360-degree Feedback,” a process Goleman helped develop. In 360, a certified coach would have bosses, peers, direct reports, clients and sometimes family members critique your “social intelligence”””the empathy and social-skills part of EI. Among other things, they would consider your sensitivity to people’s needs, your mentoring style, your interest in others’ opinions and your tendency (or lack thereof) to bring out the best in people.

Once the feedback rolls in, resist the temptation to dwell only on your EI shortcomings. It’s “just as important, maybe even more so, to understand your strengths,” Goleman writes. He finds, for instance, that most entrepreneurs are resilient and innovative. “Knowing where your real self overlaps with your ideal self will give you the positive energy you need to move forward to the next step in the process””bridging the gaps.”

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/the-leadership-secret-to-supercharging-your-team#sthash.szPKo2h8.dp

To figure out which aspects of emotional intelligence need work, Goleman’s What Makes a Leader suggests “imagining your ideal self” five to 10 years from now. What would your typical day be like? Who would be there? What sorts of relationships would you have with them? Consider your “deepest values and loftiest dreams.” How would these be part of your daily life?

Next: Learn how your ideal self compares with your current self. Goleman recommends answering such questions as:

• Are you usually aware of your feelings and why you feel that way?
• Can you manage your distressing emotions well””e.g., recover quickly when you get upset or stressed?
• Can you usually sense the feelings of the people you interact with and understand their way of seeing things?
• Do you have a knack for persuasion and using your influence effectively?

Don’t just introspect. You also need to find out how you make others feel and how they see your leadership style. This can be tough to glean, of course, especially from employees. One possibility is to solicit anonymous written critiques. You also might form or join a support group in which peers who know you well (perhaps outside your company) give you frank opinions about your behavior.

Then there’s “360-degree Feedback,” a process Goleman helped develop. In 360, a certified coach would have bosses, peers, direct reports, clients and sometimes family members critique your “social intelligence”””the empathy and social-skills part of EI. Among other things, they would consider your sensitivity to people’s needs, your mentoring style, your interest in others’ opinions and your tendency (or lack thereof) to bring out the best in people.

Once the feedback rolls in, resist the temptation to dwell only on your EI shortcomings. It’s “just as important, maybe even more so, to understand your strengths,” Goleman writes. He finds, for instance, that most entrepreneurs are resilient and innovative. “Knowing where your real self overlaps with your ideal self will give you the positive energy you need to move forward to the next step in the process””bridging the gaps.”

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/the-leadership-secret-to-supercharging-your-team#sthash.szPKo2h8.dpuf

To figure out which aspects of emotional intelligence need work, Goleman’s What Makes a Leader suggests “imagining your ideal self” five to 10 years from now. What would your typical day be like? Who would be there? What sorts of relationships would you have with them? Consider your “deepest values and loftiest dreams.” How would these be part of your daily life?

Next: Learn how your ideal self compares with your current self. Goleman recommends answering such questions as:

• Are you usually aware of your feelings and why you feel that way?
• Can you manage your distressing emotions well””e.g., recover quickly when you get upset or stressed?
• Can you usually sense the feelings of the people you interact with and understand their way of seeing things?
• Do you have a knack for persuasion and using your influence effectively?

Don’t just introspect. You also need to find out how you make others feel and how they see your leadership style. This can be tough to glean, of course, especially from employees. One possibility is to solicit anonymous written critiques. You also might form or join a support group in which peers who know you well (perhaps outside your company) give you frank opinions about your behavior.

Then there’s “360-degree Feedback,” a process Goleman helped develop. In 360, a certified coach would have bosses, peers, direct reports, clients and sometimes family members critique your “social intelligence”””the empathy and social-skills part of EI. Among other things, they would consider your sensitivity to people’s needs, your mentoring style, your interest in others’ opinions and your tendency (or lack thereof) to bring out the best in people.

Once the feedback rolls in, resist the temptation to dwell only on your EI shortcomings. It’s “just as important, maybe even more so, to understand your strengths,” Goleman writes. He finds, for instance, that most entrepreneurs are resilient and innovative. “Knowing where your real self overlaps with your ideal self will give you the positive energy you need to move forward to the next step in the process””bridging the gaps.”

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/the-leadership-secret-to-supercharging-your-team#sthash.szPKo2h8.dpuf

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Daniel Goleman’s “The Focused Leader” Wins HBR McKinsey Award

Best-selling author and psychologist Daniel Goleman is the 2013 HBR McKinsey Award winner for his article “The Focused Leader,” which was adapted from his book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. A synopsis of that section on leadership is available in Dr. Goleman’s new collection What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters. The book is a compilation in one volume of Dr. Goleman’s groundbreaking, highly sought-after Harvard Business Review articles and other business journal writings.

The award-winning article sheds new light on how leaders can direct their most valuable resource – their attention. Drawing on the latest neuroscience research, Goleman argues that leaders must cultivate a higher level of awareness about what truly matters, and demonstrates how they can do so through various methods of attention-training.

Since 1959, the HBR McKinsey Awards have recognized practical and groundbreaking management thinking. “It shows how important a leader’s focus is today,” said Daniel Goleman.

 

 

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What makes a leader: why emotional intelligence matters

Daniel Goleman’s What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters is the author’s collection of business journal writings on his key actionable findings about leadership and emotional intelligence. This often-cited, proven-effective material is essential for stellar management, performance and innovation. The collection makes available his most sought-after writings in one single volume.

The collection reflects how Dr. Goleman’s thinking has evolved about emotional intelligence, tracking the latest neuroscientific research on the dynamics of relationships, and the latest data on the impact emotional intelligence has on an organization’s bottom-line.

The articles have become essential reading for leaders, coaches and educators committed to fostering stellar management, increasing performance, and driving innovation.

Print copy available March 14, 2014. Digital copies available in early February.

Save 30% on pre-orders of 20 or more copies. Email mike@morethansound.net for details.

 

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VIDEO: Daniel Goleman on the importance of downtime

Young people are having increasing difficulty focusing in our fast-paced, technology-saturated world. This constant distraction impairs learning, emotional regulation, relationships, and ultimately success in life.

In this video from Edutopia, best-selling author Daniel Goleman discusses how regular periods of rest throughout the school day help the brain learn more efficiently.

To further help young people develop attention skills, Dr. Goleman draws from the latest psychological and neurological research detailed in his new book FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence to offer guided audio exercises made for kids and teens. These exercises can be used in the classroom or at home.