Friday, February 20, 2009

IQ or EQ?

This is another of our recurring themes at Duncan Consulting, Emotional Intelligence, a term coined by Daniel Goleman and the title to one of his best selling books.

One of our goals is to start posting more original articles and thoughts, but this time it really is not worth trying to reinvent the wheel, thus I resort again to the wisdom of Rodger Duncan. Please invest a few minutes and read through the article below this promises to shed new light into how maleable you and your staff can be in managing and improving one of your most valuable assets: EQ.

How's Your Emotional Intelligence?
by Rodger Dean Duncan

Pick up any newspaper and notice the headlines. From day to day it’s pretty much the same cast of characters. In the political and diplomatic arena you see George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, Tony Blair. In the technology arena it’s Hewlett-Packard’s Carly Fiorina, eBay’s Meg Whitman and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. In religion, the current spotlight is on Pope John Paul II. In the world of terrorism, Osama bin Laden is in a category all his own.

For good or ill, these people have one thing in common: they are leaders. Whether elected, appointed or self-anointed, they make headlines because they have the ability to influence others to embrace their cause – sometimes even to the point of death.

Leadership – or lack of it – is at the core of most everything good or bad in our world. Yes, of course there’s the issue of individual agency and the right to choose one’s own behavior. But an individual’s choices are closely linked to the kind of leadership to which he’s been exposed.
I’ve spent much of my life studying leadership.

As a young journalist, I covered politics and business and saw examples of both the best and worst of leadership behaviors.

As a university professor, I noticed that the art of "politics" is not confined to Washington or the state capitol. I also noticed that in addition to being fine teachers, the best educators are also great leaders.

As a consultant to people ranging from White House occupants to corporate chieftains, I’ve witnessed the full range of vision, short-sightedness, courage, cowardice, empathy, arrogance and all the other characteristics that make or break a leader.

Because of that mix of experience, I’m often asked the question "Are great leaders made or born?"

My response is, "no!" and "yes!" No, I do not accept the false dichotomy embedded in the question, and yes, I do believe great leaders are both made and born.

Organizations spend billions on leadership development. While some of the training (and follow through) are questionable, I have no quarrel with the motive. Leaders can be made.

Some people are also born with leadership qualities. Just like other human traits, the gifts associated with leadership – vision, imagination, empathy, courage, etc. – come to some people as naturally as freckles and curly hair. And even for these "natural" leaders, improvement is always possible.

Leadership is so much more than conducting meetings and making presentations. Good leadership involves affirmation and encouragement. It involves teaching and correcting and coaching. It involves planning and coordinating and executing. It involves a wide range of skills, all of which are marshaled to bring out the best in others and enable them to produce great results.

It is true, of course, that great leaders tend to make the most of their God-given gifts. It’s also true that the best leaders among us deliberately search for ways to be better and to do better.
Aside from personal integrity, what quality is most critical to effective leadership? In my view, that quality is something called emotional intelligence.

In recent years much has been said and written about emotional intelligence, notably in Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book of that title. Goleman’s latest book, Primal Leadership, addresses the power that emotional intelligence brings to a person’s leadership behaviors.

The importance of emotional intelligence applies to every leadership role. Here’s the way Goleman describes the dimensions of emotional intelligence and the associated competencies. See how relevant you think these are to the style and service of someone who’s assigned to teach, coach and judge you.


Emotional self-awareness: Attuned to one’s guiding values, able to see the big picture in a complex situation, able to be candid and authentic, able to speak with conviction about one’s guiding vision.

Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits, exhibiting a gracefulness in learning where improvement is needed.
Self-confidence: A sound sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities.


Emotional self-control: Able to stay calm and clear-headed under stress, able to stay unflappable even when confronted by a trying situation.

Transparency: Authentic, open, honest, trustworthy. Willing to admit own mistakes and faults. Willing to confront unethical behavior in others rather than turn a blind eye.
Adaptability: Able to juggle multiple demands without losing focus or energy. Comfortable with ambiguities. Nimble in adjusting to fluid change.

Achievement: The drive to improve performance to meet high standards. Continually learning – and teaching – ways to do better.

Initiative: Ready to act and seize opportunities.

Optimism: Seeing the upside in events and the best in other people.

Social Awareness

Empathy: Able to sense the felt, but sometimes unspoken, emotions in others. Able to understand other people’s perspective.

Organizational awareness: Reading the currents, decision networks and other dynamics at the organizational level.

Service: Recognizing and meeting the needs of others.

Relationship Management

Inspirational leadership: Able to articulate a shared mission in a way that inspires others to follow.

Influence: Persuasive and engaging when addressing others.

Developing others: Adept at cultivating the abilities of their followers in the context of their followers’ goals, strengths, and vulnerabilities.

Change catalyst: Recognize the need for change, challenge the status quo.

Conflict management: Able to draw out all parties, understand the differing perspectives, find a common ideal that everyone can support.

Teamwork and collaboration: Generate an atmosphere of friendly collegiality. Able to draw others into active, enthusiastic commitment to the collective effort while building spirit and identity.

Wow! If a leader can do all that, plus bake bread and make his own clothes, he’s only a step away from perfection. Of course even the most effective leaders acknowledge they have plenty to learn. (In fact, that very acknowledgement is one reason they’re already so effective.)

Continuous learning is a hallmark of great leadership.

The best leaders I’ve observed are very good about providing unvarnished feedback on the performance of others. Their feedback is specific and relevant.

At the same time – and this is a key differentiator – the best leaders I know frequently solicit feedback on their own performance. They are open to critiques of both their ideas and of their leadership. On occasion, they actively seek "negative" feedback, valuing the voice of counter thinking. (By contrast, less effective leaders – if they solicit feedback at all – most often solicit confirming feedback.)

The most effective leaders I know are careful to break through the information quarantine that sometimes surrounds them. They actively seek negative feedback as well as positive. They understand that in order to perform better they need a full range of information – even when the information doesn’t feel good to hear.

Last summer my wife Rean and I were on a drive. It was a hot day and I stopped at a convenience store. I returned to the car with two bottles of cold water and two Snickers candy bars. My wife thanked me for the water and said it was thoughtful of me to be concerned for her thirst.

"And did you notice that I bought your favorite candy bar?" I asked. To which Rean replied: "Honey, Snickers is your favorite candy bar. I never did like Snickers. My favorite candy bar is Milky Way."

So here I was – married to a wonderful woman for 35 years – and I somehow never noticed that her favorite candy bar was not the same as my favorite.

Think how easy it must be to miss the cues and clues from the people we serve. Are we providing what they really need? Are we really reaching them? Are we really lifting them?
If we’re not accustomed to asking, they’re probably not very accustomed to telling. So we need to ask, then ask some more. And listen.

The bad news is that not everyone is born with emotional intelligence competencies. The good news is that the competencies can be learned and practiced.

Sometimes our best coaches are the very people we’ve been asked to serve.
It’s not called "servant leadership" for nothing.

Article from The Duncan Report. For more information please click on their link.

No comments:

web analytics tool