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Leadership Training: Filling the Gap with Emotional Intelligence

The reality of the average worker is not improving, and the way people feel about their workplace relationships is a key contributor to the problem. Leaders at all levels struggle with issues of interpersonal interaction and employee engagement, many of which are likely tied to inadequate leadership training and support. Changes in the workforce further complicate the demands of leadership, challenging the effectiveness of the most widely accepted leadership theories. Fortunately, there is growing evidence that indicates what employees and leaders need to thrive, which includes a better understanding of the role of emotion.

 

Not the Trickle-Down Effect We Wanted

In 2017, CLO Media reported that U.S. companies invest as much as $24 billion annually in programs to develop leadership effectiveness, yet, during the same year, the Engagement Institute identified stressed leaders as a primary cause of employee disengagement, and linked this issue to an estimated annual cost of over $450 billion. A study by Steelcase reports that 1/3 of workers in 17 of the world’s most important economies are disengaged, and Gallup reported in 2015 that 50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job “to get away from their manager.” In addition, a Karolinska Institute study showed a strong link between negative leadership behavior and heart disease in employees, which further supports the claim that abusive supervisors are one of the most costly problems faced by businesses. (Additional references appear at the end of this article.)

 

The Role of Emotion in Performance

While it is impossible to link these problems to any single cause, the behaviors modeled by leaders in the workplace are clearly a contributing factor. This is often the context within which we hear about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in professional settings, recently identified as a core leadership requirement in Crack the C-Suite Code by former Cisco Global Executive Talent VP, Dr. Cassandra Frangos. Leveraging the role of emotions in workplace performance does not require alignment with any particular theory or school of thought in order to be solution oriented. We only need to acknowledge that employee and leader performance is influenced by emotions, and make that the starting point for interventions.

A Better Understanding of What Employees Need

It probably isn’t a stretch to say that most leaders are not adequately equipped to support the new demands emerging from the workforce. For example, introverts make up 30–50 percent of the workforce, but many organizations maintain workplace environments that introverts find counterproductive. Additionally, in the U.S. 31 percent of full-time employees report being unable to complete key tasks in their primary work locations, and 41 percent report lacking access to privacy needed for confidential workplace conversations. It is also estimated that as many as 20 percent of adults will develop PTSD at some point in their lives, and 18 percent suffer from anxiety disorders. This data raises the question of whether current and future generations of leaders are adequately prepared to provide for the emotional needs of employees.

We also continue to hear about “issues” with the millennial workforce, the significance of which is well-articulated in a story about cultural changes at PwC that describes the unwillingness of younger, key employees to give up quality of life in exchange for continued employment. This forced the organization to change on a fundamental level, and illustrates the point that leaders must be prepared to adapt to the needs of workers now more than ever.

 

A Call for Emotional Intelligence

Fortunately, studies identifying the negative effects of inadequate leadership often also shed light on possible solutions. For example, the previously mentioned Karolinska study showed that employees with inspirational managers reported less short-term sick leave. In addition, workers whose managers hold regular meetings are three times more likely to be engaged. Employees have also reported a desire for daily contact with their boss, and for their superiors to take an interest in their personal lives. Finally, a Gallup report states that “clarity of expectations is perhaps the most basic of employee needs and is vital to performance,” which further adds to the argument for leader EI training aimed at increased engagement, since some research reports that engaged employees outperform disengaged employees by 202%.

Coaching as an Effective and Vital Strategy

There has been no shortage of training materials generated over the years with the aim of developing Emotional Intelligence in leaders. Given the data highlighted above, these efforts have not been adequate. The solution lies in approaching the problem with greater accountability, structured learning, and evidence-based strategies for lasting, behavioral change.

Optimal learning and retention has been linked to Direct Instruction, which should include contextualized and hands-on learning of new skills, concepts, and processes. Mentor and/or coach support is also required to facilitate the transfer of new knowledge into more effective capabilities. This process includes attention to the difference between what a learner can do independently and what can be accomplished with the support of more experienced advisors. Dixon, Carnine, and Kameenui (1993) indicate that this type of development requires metaphorical “scaffolds,” created and maintained by more knowledgeable others, which are “gradually dismantled” in order to enable independent function.

These theories stress the importance of a third party to guide development, which is also a foundation of a scientifically supported psychological modality, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The CBT approach focuses on identifying thoughts, beliefs, and reactions that contribute to ineffective behavior, and learning how to manage this process. The adaptation of CBT for the specific purpose of addressing the requirements of leadership coaching has already been proposed, and the combination of this approach with more effective learning strategies is exactly what the next generation of workplace Emotional Intelligence development should be based on.

This means that coaches and mentors should be an integral part of EI training. It also means that programs will need to reach employees at all levels of organizations to begin creating internal networks of EI coaches and communities of EI practitioners. If there is one thing we can probably all agree on about EI, it is that the way people treat one another has a direct impact on workplace performance. From that perspective, workplace EI development should focus on creating environments where employees and leaders are fluent in a common language and theoretical framework for better understanding one another’s needs.

 

Recommended Resources:

 

The recently launched Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification serves to fill a gap in current executive coaching programs. Emotional Intelligence offers an evidence-based framework for executive coaching that draws upon the disciplines of Neuroscience and Cognitive Behavioral Science, while one-on-one guidance from a Meta-Coach and a coaching practicum offer opportunities for detailed feedback. We are now accepting applicants who would like to learn this specific methodology for coaching their clients. This fall, we will also be launching an online program for learning the fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence.

 

 

 

 

For more in-depth reading on leadership and EI, What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters presents Daniel Goleman’s ground-breaking, highly sought-after articles from the Harvard Business Review and other business journals in one volume. It features more than half a dozen articles, including “Reawakening Your Passion for Work.”

 

 

 

References:

1. “U.S. companies invest as much as $24 billion annually in programs to develop leadership effectiveness”

2. “the Engagement Institute identified stressed leaders as a primary cause of employee disengagement, and linked this issue to an estimated annual cost of over $450 billion”

3. “1/3 of workers in 17 of the world’s most important economies are disengaged”

4.”50% of the 7,200 adults surveyed left a job ‘to get away from their manager'”

5. “abusive supervisors are one of the most costly problems faced by businesses”

6. “as many as 20 percent of adults will develop PTSD at some point in their lives”

7. “18 percent suffer from anxiety disorders”

8. “Employees have also reported a desire for daily contact with their boss”

9.”scientifically supported psychological modality, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)”

10. “The adaptation of CBT for the specific purpose of addressing the requirements of leadership coaching has already been proposed”

 

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Research: Mindfulness May Increase Mental Performance at Work

During my study of the relationship between mindfulness and leader effectiveness, 100% of the leaders I interviewed (all having months or years of prior mindfulness training and practice) linked mindfulness to improvement in their personal and professional lives. The majority described this as being significant, often using terms such as “profound,” or “life-changing.” My previous articles on EI draw from this research, exploring the way mindfulness influences each of the 12 Emotional Intelligence competencies, based on interviews with organizational leaders from around the world.

My findings ultimately reveal the following:

Mindfulness influences changes to awareness and behavior that, in turn, play key roles in producing favorable workplace outcomes.

Improved Mental Performance and More Effective Behavior

One of these changes, improved mental performance, was described by participants as having a positive, overarching effect on functions such as decision-making, susceptibility to distractions, and attention. This is not surprising since mindfulness is sometimes defined as meta-awareness, including our ability to non-judgmentally observe where our attention is and is not focused.

This capability can become a “real-time” skill set, taking the form of simultaneous observation of our interaction with others, and our internal reactions to that activity. The leaders I interviewed described this level of awareness, reporting that it provided them with a degree of “mental clarity.” Below are the specific benefits described, and the percentage of participants who reported experiencing them:

  • Ability to identify signs of potential conflict (in time to take corrective action) – 90%
  • Capacity to more effectively navigate organizational relationships – 88%
  • Improved ability to recognize emotional reactions in themselves and others – 86%
  • Increased attentiveness and patience with others – 74%
  • More productive responses to the emotional states of others – 100%
  • Recognition of the negative influence of stress and anxiety – 88%
  • Openness to new ideas and input from others – 90%

Descriptions of these benefits were provided in the context of how mindfulness helped leaders gain new information about themselves, others, and their workplace culture. This information was then incorporated into their efforts to improve the effectiveness of their interactions with others. As the graphic below illustrates, leaders described an upward spiral of improvement. New insight about self and others fed back into additional, positive changes to beliefs and awareness, which paved the way for more effective behavior.

Real World Examples of Applying Mindfulness at Work

Many of the leaders reported that improved mental performance made them better able to identify and filter out distractions such as emotional reactivity and bias. A senior manager with one of the largest research and publishing firms in the world described this experience in the following way: ” you’re able to calm yourself down and put yourself in a better position to listen to someone… it helps me to be calm and think clearly and to focus…I find I’m able to be composed and organized and clear in my communications.”

Leaders specifically mentioned that mindfulness training helped them be more present when interacting with others. This included a greater ability to monitor what their attention was focused on or being distracted by. They also mentioned becoming better at observing whether or not they were listening carefully, asking relevant questions, and picking up on interpersonal cues and organizational context.

This type of observation, and the value it provides, was well articulated by an executive specializing in global communication and strategy: “(mindfulness) enables you to read other people better and be more sensitive to what’s driving their commentary, their presentation, their behavior…their body language. That makes the connection between the two of you much more on an equal footing basis. So you’re no longer either selling to a position of power, or talking to a position of power. You are in fact exchanging information and dealing with each other on footing that is, at least emotionally, much more equal.”

A new appreciation for the importance of empathy in the workplace was also identified by leaders as a benefit arising from improved mental performance. This resulted from developing a stronger ability to identify and manage the role their own emotional reactions played in their perceptions of others.

A leader who has held executives roles at one of the largest organizations in the world elaborated on this point in the following statement: “It definitely increases your empathy by helping you put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You slow down your responses, and when you sort of look at why that person is reacting in that manner it helps you be more compassionate because the moment you have empathy you start thinking from a very human perspective about the situation and trying to understand what the problem is. And the moment I take that approach I realize that I have solved the problem more effectively.”

What You Can Do to Cultivate Better Mental Performance

Look for opportunities to practice in the workplace, since this will help you develop exactly the type of capabilities needed for improved performance. The following suggestions come from details shared by leaders on this topic during interviews:

  • When interacting with others in-person or remotely, put your phone away, turn off your email, web browser, or even your monitor
  • Try and continuously monitor where your eyes are focused during interactions with others, as well as your facial expression and what it may be conveying
  • Take notes on what you are observing during interactions with others, specifically what they may be expressing through tone, body language, and choice of words
  • Regularly ask questions aimed at surfacing misinterpretations
  • Take time each day to identify emotional reactions that may have a negative influence on your mental performance

Improved mental performance can be developed through regular practice, not unlike athletic training. There are a variety of software tools and meditation practices available that help strengthen intensity and duration of attention, however, they may not improve your ability to actively observe and more fully understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For this type of development, consider formal mindfulness training, but be sure that the instructor is thoroughly qualified, and plan to make a consistent time commitment if you want results.

Recommended Reading:

Emotional Self-Awareness: A Primer – The first in our series of primers on the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, with author voices including Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Richard J. Davidson, and the author of this article, Matthew Lippincott. The complete collection is also available. 

Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body (audio)  New York Times-bestselling authors Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson unveil new research showing how meditation affects the brain.

The Brain and Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman illuminates the state of the art on the relationship between the brain and emotional intelligence, and highlights EI’s practical applications in leadership roles, education, and creativity.

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Inspirational Leadership Arises from a Working Understanding of ESI

Inspirational Leaders Arise from a Working Understanding of ESI

The process of becoming an inspirational leader involves the development of multiple Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESI) competencies, each contributing to new realizations about how to lead more effectively.

Emotional self-awareness and emotional self-control drive this transformation, particularly in the context of learning to apply ESI in real-time social interactions. That was revealed in part of my 2016 study on leadership, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence. The analysis included use of the ESI model developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, and indicated that leaders linked strength in inspirational leadership to greater career success and satisfaction.

The Competency of Inspirational Leadership

Inspirational leadership focuses on an individual’s interest in, and capacity to lead, regardless of their formal title or position within an organization. Strength in this competency is exemplified by the ability to unify others towards a common goal, which involves other competencies such as influence and organizational awareness.

An inspirational leader will exhibit a sense of pride in his/her work, but also understand the importance of creating a sense of group ownership, and an engaging work environment. The ability to effectively present new or challenging ideas to a group is another attribute of inspirational leaders, as is the ability to lead during times of crisis.

What Inspirational Leadership Looks Like in the Workplace

The leaders I interviewed for my research spoke extensively about how they motivated and inspired their teams. However, they also revealed that these capabilities arose from development of self-awareness. This process was described as being profound, and transformational in relation to participants’ understanding of what is required to be a truly effective leader. For example, the Head of Talent Development for one of the largest hospital networks in the U.S. linked inspirational leadership to a new understanding of the way feelings influence engagement, which he summarized as “we need to really access the way we treat people, the way we treat ourselves, the way we understand emotion in the work place.” In this instance, new realizations about the role played by emotion in workplace performance significantly influenced this participant’s beliefs, and behaviors relating to inspirational leadership strategies.

Another participant, the Senior Manager for a leading global consulting firm, elaborated on the importance of inspiring employees via authentic relationships: “you develop this sort of connection with the person you’re managing…there’s this empathy that goes on when the person you’re managing respects and appreciates you for trying to understand what’s really going on.”

Other leaders shared details of how they engaged their direct reports on an emotional level. For instance, the senior legal counsel for a leading international healthcare product manufacturer talked about the importance of modeling behaviors in the context of inspirational leadership: “I’m going to try my best and do the best I can, and I think just that one little thing can be inspiring to my team.”

Participants also frequently mentioned the importance of earning trust, such as an HR leader for a major US healthcare network, who stated “I’ve always really worked to try to build trusting relationships with individuals through, not necessarily my words, but my actions.” Another participant, who has been responsible for supply chain operations at three well-known global organizations, touched on the value of demonstrating ethical behavior, saying “… if that leader is doing it with integrity, people are all in… and will join with you at the hip to do what you’re trying to do.”

Developing Yourself as an Inspirational Leader

The leaders I interviewed believed that their success depended upon their ability to effectively articulate team objectives, and actively support others in achieving them. They understood that success required them to demonstrate the behaviors needed to reach those goals on a daily basis as well. Fundamental to these realizations was an awareness that others can detect exaggerated statements, false confidence, and insincerity.

There are a number of steps you can take to develop the type of engaged and supportive workplace relationships associated with Inspirational Leadership. A good place to start is honestly assessing whether or not you are overloading yourself with tasks that could be delegated to others. This is an important step, since task-oriented workload takes away from time that can be invested in personal and team development. In addition to protecting you from burnout, properly managed delegation cultivates trust and respect between leaders and their staff as well.

Part of this assessment should also include some reflection on why you may have unrealistic expectations for yourself concerning the amount and type of work you should be able to support.

In addition, give some thought to what you believe others expect of you, and whether or not some of your workplace behavior may be motivated by trying to fulfill standards that are difficult to live up to. The objective of this activity is to begin exploration of beliefs around workplace roles with others as part of a trust-building process, contributing to the following:

  • honest dialog about performance expectations and areas for improvement
  • stronger relationships based on openness and vulnerability
  • sharing of lessons learned from failures and successes
  • opportunities to share responsibilities and recognition

Leaders told me that involving subordinates in activities such as risk assessment and decision-making also had a positive impact on team loyalty. They reported that being open about their own feelings of fear and worry relating to these and other leadership activities helped their direct reports better understand, and relate to, the difficulties of being a leader. Overall, leaders indicated that their ability to inspire performance improved as they invested more time into cultivating personal connections with others through these types of activities.

Recommended Reading:

Our new series of primers focuses on the 12 Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, including Emotional Self-Awareness, Adaptability, Influence, Teamwork, and Inspirational Leadership.

The primers are written by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, co-creators of the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competency Model, along with a range of colleagues, thought-leaders, researchers, and leaders with expertise in the various competencies – including the author of this article, Matthew Taylor.

See the full list of primers by topic, or get the complete collection!

 

 

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Research: How Teamwork Powers Mindful {and Effective} Leadership

More effective teams result from a leader’s investment in their personal development of self-awareness, emotional self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

This is one of the findings from my in-depth interviews with 42 leaders exploring the role of mindfulness in strengthening their leadership capabilities. The study also included use of the Emotional and Social Competency Indicator (ESCI) model developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, and found all twelve of the leadership competencies present in the participants. Teamwork was the competency most highly referenced by the participants, who provided detailed descriptions about the value they had received from focusing on cultivating their own, and other’s capabilities to be better team members.

Teamwork is defined by cooperative rather than separate, or competitive work. It also includes working towards common objectives, and taking ownership of both positive and negative outcomes. Individuals with strength in this competency will be able to build and maintain working relationships, in addition to promoting an environment conducive to input from teammates. They will also be:

  • Supportive of other teammates or group members
  • Involved in facilitating cooperation
  • Appreciative and respectful of others’ opinions and suggestions

The leaders I interviewed linked teamwork to a variety of benefits, including greater innovation, employee autonomy, and business growth. They also reported that their improved ability to develop effective teams resulted in stronger relationships between teammates, and greater loyalty to the organization. Finally, participants credited mindfulness with helping them understand their own role in being a good team member in the context of relationships with subordinates, peers and superiors. Leaders tied these improvements to their effectiveness, directly attributing career success to the combination of greater team capabilities, and the willingness of others to help them.

How Leaders Create Cultures Conducive to Teamwork

Study participants demonstrated a working understanding of multiple leadership theories, such as Situational, Transactional, and Transformational. Their leadership behaviors, however, tended to be more reflective of the relational leadership theory and dispersed leadership approaches. Specifically, they understood the importance of being able to meet the needs of the people and groups they worked with, and realized that the definition of a good teammate may not be the same for everyone. They also knew that they, and members of their teams, may need to adapt their behaviors in order to successfully align with the frequently changing goals of the organization.

Participants reported that investing in attentiveness to others had a powerful impact on the strength of their relationships. The HR head for a leading global manufacturing firm summarized this as “…the deepness of listening and relating to a person and helping them connect on an individual level so they feel valued and connected to you as a leader,” which he directly attributed to improved team performance. A leader with a Fortune 10 Firm also touched on the importance of being open to receiving feedback from his direct reports: “I asked for feedback and insights from the people that I work with, and therefore they felt comfortable giving it to me.”

The importance of following through on commitments to coworkers was also stressed by participants. For example, the senior legal counsel for a leading healthcare product manufacturer shared the positive impact that her previous managers’ interest in her work life balance had on their relationship. As a result, she made sure to care for her direct reports in the same way, and take on additional personal workload if necessary: “…I want to make sure that people when they’re off, they’re truly off…certainly something can wait or we’ll try to get something else done.”

Making certain to not be perceived by others as paying lip service to concepts such as participation, respect, and fairness was highlighted by participants. A Department Head for a major US Hospital Network illustrated this point when describing the way he interacted with a newly promoted manager on his team: “I’ve decided to allow space for her and her team to design the new model, and giving everyone space to have their own thoughts and ideas.” His comments echoed what other leaders had to say about the relationship between team performance and the leader ensuring that each member feels valued and motivated to make continued contributions.

How to Create a Stronger Team

Leaders were consistent in expressing their belief that you need to pay careful attention to being a good teammate if you want to be a member and/or leader of a high performing team.

This includes study and refinement of team development activities, and active observation of whether or not your interactions with others make them willing to support you as a teammate. These aspects of cultivating teamwork were summarized by a participant who has held Controller and CFO roles for three leading corporations: “I’m being respectful and…really listening, really understanding where they’re coming from… and then reflecting.”

Some steps you can take to promote teamwork that were described by participants include:

  • Work with your team to agree on a formal description of a good teammate
  • Jointly design a plan to help each member become a good teammate
  • Create and maintain open feedback channels
  • Focus on a culture of improvement, aimed at learning from mistakes

It is also important to keep in mind that building trust with your teammates requires authentic and compassionate behavior on your part. This means being available to openly discuss their fears and concerns, and working with them to find ways to manage these issues. Making a sincere effort to help teammates manage stressful situations more effectively will also contribute to greater engagement, as will modelling the behaviors you expect of others in the workplace.

Recommended Reading:

Our new series of primers focus on the 12 Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, including Emotional Self-Awareness, Adaptability, Influence, Teamwork, and others.

The primers are written by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, co-creators of the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competency Model, along with a range of colleagues, thought-leaders, researchers, and leaders with expertise in the various competencies.

See the full list of primers by topic, or get the full collection!

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Want High Performing Teams? Invest in Coaching and Mentoring

coach and mentor emotional intelligence

Investment in coaching and mentoring activity can have a positive, or even transformative, impact on leader effectiveness. By focusing on coaching and mentoring, leaders can help their team develop Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESI) competencies and minimize the impact of the negative aspects of organizational culture on performance. These are some of the results of my analysis of in-depth interviews with 42 leaders, which included use of the ESI model developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis.

Successful coaching and mentoring is seen in leaders with a commitment to career-oriented development of others.

This includes guiding others to identify and follow through on their own strategies for improvement. Since many of the leaders I interviewed had lengthy and successful leadership careers, it was not surprising that this topic was the second most frequently referenced competency identified in the study. This competency is exemplified in leaders who:

  • Recognize others’ strengths
  • Provide ongoing performance improvement-oriented feedback
  • Encourage others

Participants also clearly expressed that their own career successes were linked to the higher performing teams they created through consistent coaching and mentoring. Many stressed the importance of this approach, often reporting that it accounted for 15-20% of their time.

The participants in my study said that mindfulness helped them develop the level of self-awareness and social awareness they needed to identify how to coach and mentor in an effective way. This included identifying interpersonal cues needed to determine whether or not their behaviors were having the desired effect. A part of this process also required leaders to regularly reflect upon what others need, and how to use that understanding in a way that their subordinates and peers would respond to.

Many leaders also reported coming to the realization that a leader/follower relationship is one of co-dependence. Therefore, the leader must systematically let go of thoughts and behaviors motivated solely by their personal interests. Instead, they began to base their decisions on two core values that appeal to everyone:

  • Delivering clear value to the organization, and
  • Ensuring that subordinates are able to do so as effectively as possible

The Value of Coaching and Mentoring

The leaders I interviewed indicated that much of this activity was voluntary on their part. However, they also reported that their commitment to coaching and mentoring was well worth the investment of their time, and linked it to numerous benefits, including:

  • More innovation and voluntary contributions from direct reports
  • Greater team and individual autonomy
  • Improved team synergy and performance
  • Reduced workload and less stress for the leader

Participants described the creation of strong, intra-team relationships that helped to address negative aspects of organizational culture, such as concerns about job security and disruption within the workplace. For example, subordinates responded positively to development efforts that increased their market value and ability to advance and/or move laterally, if needed. Leaders also provided examples of their efforts contributing to an enduring, trust-based professional/personal network that transcended individual organizations.

Authentic, supportive relationships that extend beyond traditional workplace boundaries were specifically linked to improved team output as well. For instance, leaders commented on the value they experienced by openly sharing stories of personal struggles interfering with their workplace performance. They also reported making a point of identifying when their direct reports and peers seemed to be having similar difficulties, and proactively creating a channel for safe, open dialogue focused on helping.

Coaching and Mentoring in Action

The leaders in my study identified a variety of forms of effective coaching and mentoring activity. A common strategy was obtaining organizational resources to support training requirements. However, the way in which leaders interacted with their direct reports on a daily basis was also a key part of their approach. For example, a senior manager with a global engineering and manufacturing firm described an emphasis on “stretch assignments” and cultivating autonomy: “… I step back and allow people to lead me so that I am supporting them and giving them the courage to do something that they are not used to doing.”

Examples like this showed that leaders were capable of utilizing the scaffolding concept for supporting learning and development set forth by Dixon, Carnine, and Kameenui. This strategy reflects an understanding of the importance of a knowledgeable person being available to provide input and direction during the process of development, with the aim of gradually transitioning to independent action.

Another senior leader, with a major international manufacturing company, focused discussion on the value of action-oriented feedback: “…I just said that it’s really important that you ask these questions during your interaction with the client… it would’ve been a much more natural part of their conversation, rather than me entering into that conversation later.”  This illustrates the importance of utilizing highly contextualized, task-centered interventions to develop understanding of the processes and interrelated variables involved in solving problems. The importance of this level of understanding has been explored in the work of  Weick and Roberts and leaders described developing it with a method that aligns with the Direct Instruction model for improving skill acquisition and retention.

Getting Started

In addition to making a sincere effort to make training and development resources available to subordinates, a strategy for effective coaching and mentoring activity also includes the following:

  • Equal participation of subordinates in performance plan design
  • Creation of a vision for an “ideal working relationship” between leader and follower
  • Agreement on, and full understanding of, measurement criteria and progress tracking
  • Modelling mutual respect (turn off your devices during meetings), and
  • Inclusion of stretch assignments coupled with supportive, yet constructive, feedback

Based on what leaders told me, I recommend working towards an intermingling of mindfulness practice and coaching and mentoring activities. For example, maintain focus on the importance of diligent, daily coaching and mentoring activity, as well as the reasons for making it a priority. In this context, give additional attention to the competencies of empathy, emotional self-control, and influence as enablers of your commitment to develop others. This, in turn, will help you identify activities and opportunities for achieving those goals.

 

Recommended Reading:

coach and mentor competencyIn Coach and Mentor: A Primer, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and colleagues introduce Emotional Intelligence and dive deep into the Coach and Mentor Competency, exploring what’s needed to develop this capacity in leadership.

In a relatively short read, the authors illustrate the valuable skills needed to foster the long-term learning or development of others by giving feedback and support.

 

 

 

 

 

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Influence: A Cornerstone for Effective Leadership

influence-leadership-emotional-intelligence

Influence is one of the competencies in the Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESI) model developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis. Not surprisingly, it has been empirically linked to increased leadership performance, but understanding exactly how to wield this capability is far less obvious.

Leaders who have developed the Influence competency are effective at using multiple approaches to produce outcomes, such as:

  • Appealing to the self-interest of others
  • Cultivating alliances with key people
  • Engaging in discussion that leads to support
  • Building consensus

Influential leaders also possess a stronger ability to capture the attention of others, and both anticipate and adapt to responses or objections.

How Influence Contributes to Leadership Effectiveness

Influence interrelates with empathy and other ESI competencies, and also requires strength in the ESI domains of self-awareness, self-management and social awareness. To be effective, a leader needs the capabilities and insights provided by these strengths, since without them they will struggle with identifying how to be of service to others. They will also be ineffective at determining whether or not their attempts at communication are being received as intended.

Successful leaders realize that influence is critical to their effectiveness. For example, those who have studied leadership know that influence forms the basis for an academic definition for leadership recognized by many scholars: “Leadership is the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives” (Gary Yukl, Leadership in Organizations (5th ed.) (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002), 8.).

The leaders I interviewed in my 2016 study – on leadership, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence – linked influence to developing the ability to accurately identify the needs and motivations of others. An example includes the HR head for a leading global manufacturing firm who developed a working understanding of how influence relates to workplace results, saying “…when you really relate to another person, you’re able to gather a lot more information about how to influence the situation, or influence the outcome,” and “…you can connect with them on different levels and therefore influence them better.”

Effective leaders also realize that subordinates and peers are more productive and loyal when they act out of their own choice rather than being ordered or pressured. As a result, they focus on developing their ability to identify opportunities for mutually beneficial working arrangements, which also excludes behavior that may be perceived as self-serving, or manipulative. On the contrary, discussion of the way in which mindfulness contributed to influence indicated participants’ realization that sincere interest in fulfilling others’ needs was an effective basis for becoming more influential.

How to Become More Influential

Keep in mind that coworkers are typically worried about being left in bad situations by those they depend on. This means that the trust-based aspect of influence must be developed over time. It is built upon a foundation of quality interpersonal interactions, and consistent delivery of mutual value. Therefore, authentic, timely, and highly professional follow-through on commitments are a cornerstone of the Influence competency.

When considering ways to strengthen your ability to influence others it’s also important to focus on the point that leadership effectiveness requires the participation of others. From that standpoint it helps to monitor your interpersonal interactions to ensure that you are demonstrating professional competence and integrity. This includes understanding the individual and organizational values that others base their judgements upon, which I explore in my article How to Tune In to the Unspoken Rules of an Organization.

With this as a starting point there are some simple questions you can consistently ask yourself to help you stay focused on becoming influential:

  • Why might others think you are insincere and how can this be addressed?
  • Do you always follow-up on your commitments and fulfill your promises completely?
  • What skills, experiences and attributes can you demonstrate that are important to others?
  • How can you regularly evaluate your answers to the above through impartial feedback?

You should also spend time reflecting on past outcomes that were unsatisfactory. You can use the previous questions to learn from these experiences and identify opportunities to become more influential should similar circumstances arise in the future.

If you are intent on improving your ability to influence others, you must remain aware of the fact that influence often only exists when others have confidence in you. The cooperative nature of this equation makes the quality of interpersonal relationships even more significant. For this reason, developing influence will be aided by additional attention to empathy, emotional self-control, organizational awareness, conflict management, and adaptability.

Recommended Reading:

In Influence: A Primer, Daniel Goleman, Peter Senge and colleagues introduce Emotional Intelligence and dive deep into the Influence competency. In a relatively short read, the authors illustrate the valuable skills needed to guide others in realizing the value of your ideas and point of view – not for the sake of exerting blind command, but to collaborate towards a positive vision with empathy and awareness.

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How to Influence with Emotional Intelligence

 

Today marks the release of Influence: A Primer, the latest in the Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence series, which explores the 12 EI competencies of leadership developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis. Influence is a competency not often associated with Emotional Intelligence, yet it is essential to leadership as a social skill in order to make progress and get things done through – and with – others.

To help clarify this relationship, and illustrate the style of influence covered in our primer, we thought we’d share a few excerpts and quotes. The primer itself is available now for only $9, and will cover all of this in much greater depth, yet in a concise format you can read in less than an hour and fit in your pocket!

What is Influence?

Influence is a social competency. Leaders who are equipped with the emotional self-awareness and self-control to manage themselves while being adaptable, positive, and empathic can express their ideas in a way that will appeal to others. Influence is necessary for any leadership style, and can be done in a way that is meaningful and effective or fraught with resistance.

Leaders competent in influence will gather support from others with relative ease and are able to lead a group who is engaged, mobilized, and ready to execute on the tasks at hand. This is how real progress is made, how extraordinary successes are accomplished. How does a leader leverage these abilities to become influential? That is the focus of this Primer.

Daniel Goleman:

With the Influence competency, you’re persuasive and engaging, and you can build buy-in from key people.

You can’t order people to do what you want, you must persuade or inspire them to put forth their best efforts toward the clear objective you have defined.

Influence competence draws on empathy””without understanding the other person’s perspective and sensing their feelings, influencing them becomes more difficult.

Richard Boyatzis

The core intent of the Influence competency is a desire to get someone to agree with you. The behavior that demonstrates this competency is doing things that appeal to their self-interest and anticipating the questions they would have.

To the extent that we have a sphere of influence””and we all do in our families, with our friends, at work””we are leaders. Everyone is a leader in this sense.

Peter Senge

Real change often happens informally, with people who are good listeners, respectful of their culture, and who look for windows of opportunity.

Don’t worry about “getting everyone on board.” Instead, build a critical mass of people who have influence and then support them in spreading their influence.

Where there are matters you care about deeply, let go of the moral high ground of thinking “I’ve got to get people to do this,” and find where your interests and others’ naturally intersect.

Vanessa Druskat

Emotionally intelligent leaders typically recognize that team collaboration requires effective team member interactions, and such interactions are built upon the trust that grows out of relationship-focused norms and behavior.

In our work, we have found “emotion resources” or tools to be one of the most effective ways to enforce or reinforce team norms and, thus, to influence team behavior and outcomes.

Matthew Lippincott

Leaders with self-awareness and emotional self-control are better able to influence others and cultivate effective relationships.

By consistently demonstrating honesty, integrity, and authenticity in your interactions with people, a leaders’ ability to influence them significantly improves.

Matthew Taylor

Effective leaders use influence both to move people and inspire them to move. They do this by simultaneously communicating belief in their teams, appealing to their values, and holding them to high expectations for growth and achievement.

At any given moment, the leader has many variables to consider, including other people’s emotions, beliefs, values, goals, level of self-awareness, level of resistance, and level of skill. Ultimately, what the team””the individual or the group””needs is a just-right recipe of warm and demanding.

The Influence Primer is available now.

In Influence: A Primer, Daniel Goleman and colleagues introduce Emotional Intelligence and dive deep into the Influence competency. In a relatively short read, the authors illustrate the valuable skills needed to guide others in realizing the value of your ideas and point of view – not for the sake of exerting blind command, but to collaborate towards a positive vision with empathy and awareness.