2021: The year of the Collaborative Leader! Do you make the cut?
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care – Theodore Roosevelt
EQ today is an important determinant of success. It plays as vital a role as IQ, if not more, making the workforce much more employable!
We have all witnessed the first-hand emotional, financial, and physical stress that accompanied the pandemic over the past year. Some of us are still going through it. Businesses have either shut down or downsized and laid off hundreds of employees. The pink slip hangs on their heads, salaries are being frozen as stress levels skyrocket! Everyone is on edge.
With life’s challenges becoming a daily occurrence, EQ has made a critical difference in our lives. It impacts not only our behavior and our relationships but also plays a significant role in the overall performance and success of our business. This ability to be self-aware and regulate ourselves defines the very essence of EQ—as propounded by Daniel Goleman—and ultimately introduces it as an integral step toward dealing with crisis while simultaneously enabling a positive, successful work environment.
Being an executive search consultant, we come across various executive talent requirements that are currently redefining the leadership of this post-pandemic world. Recently, we worked on an assignment where we were mandated to hire a group head of analytics for a young progressive global Billion-dollar company. The emphasis for the role was entirely on EQ and the ability to mentor and grow a team as opposed to the skill set. We interviewed candidates from organizations currently leading large teams and what one would take for granted proved to be a huge challenge!
Most leaders believe that they have the EQ but really do not have much to show for it. We interviewed close to 40 candidates to finally find two candidates who met the criteria. My learning: while most leaders do possess EQ, many fail to express or act upon it.
As a search firm, we have seen an increasing emphasis on stronger EQ in leadership to develop the employees’ trust, performance, and commitment to an organization. Here are a few ways to begin your journey toward adapting to EQ.
It is natural and can be nurtured – just pay attention!
· In times of crisis, the first thing to take a hit is the emotional ability. That is where your self-awareness comes in. Leaders who can identify, observe and understand their own emotions and opinions are likely to positively influence those around them at the workplace.
· Self-regulation is equally important. Making the right decisions, especially in times of crisis, must be considered keeping our emotions in mind. Being impulsive and high-strung before taking a decision is a recipe for disaster. Stay calm & focused!
· Optimism is crucial in times of crisis. Achieving goals against all odds is possible only through teamwork, which is proportionately equal to how motivated the leader is and how he/she can successfully motivate the team.
· Empathy should be an intentional choice of leadership. Crisis has the potential to cause immense emotional and psychological damage, leaving employees vulnerable. Be sensitive to their fears and pain, listen carefully, recognize the gravity of the problem and help them navigate through it. Be accessible! This could go a long way to building their trust, thereby earning your team’s loyalty and commitment.
· Build a culture of transparency through honesty and take a collaborative stance with a balanced viewpoint. Be realistic with the goals your set, this will put the team at ease, and they will be motivated to excel!
· Interpersonal skills are of utmost importance in today’s world. The skill to negotiate effectively, create group synergy, trust, send clear messages, resolve conflicts, and build bonds can be the foundation of success in many ventures.
“When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life.” – Tara Meyer Robson.
In conclusion, all I would say is that EQ is a learnable skill and can be nurtured through life. We as humans tend to use either the rational or the emotional aspect of our minds which are responsible for shaping our future, our success, our destiny, as it were. The above steps could be but a mere beginning toward reshaping our processes for a collaborative and motivated form of leadership.