Leadership is about many things and it is interesting to note that there have been more books written on the title of “Leadership” than any other titles! So, there’s plenty to read out there and perhaps confuse the reader?
But … perhaps like the game of golf, where there are just so many different things to remember when trying to hit the ball, it’s often better to just think of a couple of key things to do that then make everything else fall into place …. And the ball flies just perfectly!
Leadership is perhaps no different – So, let’s explore just two topics. Daniel Goleman in 1998 wrote a seminal paper on Emotional Intelligence called “What makes a Leader?” The strap line of the paper was: “IQ and technical skills are important, but emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership.” Through his research Goleman identified five key factors that a leader has to display, which make up his or her emotional intelligence and these are:
OK ….. so what? Can these factors be learnt? The short answer is “Yes they can.” It’s been found that emotional intelligence stems largely in the neurotransmitters of the brain’s limbic system, which governs feelings, impulses and drive. Unfortunately, most training courses we go on focus on learning new skills through targeting the neocortex of our brain, which governs analytical and technical ability and the acquisition of concepts and logic. That’s fine if we are learning a technical skill or a new process.
However, going back to the limbic system …… research has shown that the good old limbic system learns best by motivation, extended practice and feedback. More of that later.
The second topic I would like to briefly consider is that of Trust. Research at Bath University over recent years has identified that for another person to trust another they look for a number of factors that will indicate whether or not they can trust that person. These are known as “The Four Pillars of Trust” and are:
If you exhibit these characteristics all interplaying together then you are more likely to be trusted. Remember you are also looking for these in others in order to trust them.
Just pausing and thinking a little more about these factors…….. Ability is all about skills & competences, professional knowledge and the technical – probably the neocortex stuff? But Benevolence, Integrity and Predictability are possibly more in tune with the limbic system and for me link back nicely to emotional intelligence.
To develop and refine your emotional intelligence and in turn enhance your “trust and trusting” reflection is the first thing to do. Ask yourself “Where am I with all of this?” Focus on your strengths whilst recognising what needs to develop from within you. Ask yourself how others might see you as a leader and manager.
Then, bearing in mind that the limbic system relishes “Motivation, extended practice and feedback” seek a learning environment that can provide that environment. Work with a coach – engage with fellow leaders to share experiences and learn together. Champion your leadership success to your inner-self and give yourself well earned praise when challenges go well, and you start to utilise your emotional intelligence and “invite” others through your actions to trust in you.
Going back to golf, or any sport or worthwhile pursuit for that matter. Sometimes it’s not just about technical skill and it comes down to a feel for what is required and just being in the right place, at the right time and doing things in the right way. Have a think about a couple of things!
John works with Busec to deliver leadership and management training, for more information please call 01730 710055 or email JSAssociates@busec.co.uk