Emotional intelligence is kind of a popular thing these days and it’s been written about a lot. It is a critical component of being a leader and developing as a leader, but an important concept for life in general as well. Emotional Intelligence is made up of many things that stem from:
It's all about knowing your strengths and challenges and how you contribute to the outcomes of different situations.
We know that anyone can develop emotional intelligence. From start-to-finish during our year-long LEAP Leadership Acceleration Program, we track the change in emotional intelligence indicators; we absolutely see positive change in participants during their 12-month leadership development journey—upwards of 30% on average. In a nutshell, once a person gets feedback and becomes aware of the concepts around emotional intelligence, they learn to be aware of their behavior and their impact on their social environment. When they learn the tools for coping and regulating, they really can control their behavior and act with a higher level of emotional intelligence.
As an example, a couple of years ago we had a General Manager at a prestigious restaurant, who was a great employee—sharp, organized, great at his job, but he could not control his outbursts, he could not regulate he impulse when he became upset or frustrated. In this case, the person was very self-aware--the situation was quickly eroding his confidence as a leader and he could feel it. He knew there was a problem, he just couldn’t regulate. Through LEAP, with feedback, skill building, reflection, help from peers, and guidance from his Coach, by the end of the year we saw a 60% positive change in indicators for emotional intelligence and leadership confidence and competence. Backing this up, his sponsor and boss reported a visible and significant improvement in his leadership, the team he managed, and the work environment in general.
So, absolutely we can develop emotional intelligence. It comes down to first understanding “who I am at my core, at my best most natural self?” Then, “how do others see me in the work environment?” And from there, reducing the blind spots through reflection and sharing openly with trusted relationships.
It is important to note that the process of developing emotional intelligence takes time. It’s like working out at the gym; results don’t happen overnight. Throughout the leadership development process, the emotional intelligence muscles are being built overtime with the help of a coach, peers, and the tools and curriculum provided in the program.
Lynda Silsbee is Founder and President of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration. She has spent more than 30 years creating and leading high performance teams. Along with the other LEAP Certified Coaches, she reports that helping managers make the LEAP to leader is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her work.