Development From WJM Associates, Inc.
April 2003 - Vol. 2, Issue 4
In This Issue
Welcome to WJManagement Advisor, a bi-monthly newsletter from WJM Associates, Inc., a global leader in Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. Delivered via e-mail and archived on www.wjmassoc.com, WJManagement Advisor presents issues and trends affecting the successful development of organizational leadership.
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Over the past decade, it has become increasingly clear that corporate leaders need more than just a high IQ to succeed -- they also need a high level of emotional intelligence. Last year, Training magazine published a national survey of some 250 corporate managers. While 27% cited the leadership competency of self-awareness -- a key factor in emotional intelligence -- as most important, only 3% said that the leaders of their organizations demonstrate this competency at the highest level.
Ben Dattner, a member of the WJM Associates faculty, is a psychologist, consultant, coach and accredited administrator of the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI), a multi-rater tool designed to assess emotional intelligence. He received a BA in psychology from Harvard College, and his MA and Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from New York University, where he is an adjunct professor in the industrial and organizational psychology MA program.
Just what is emotional intelligence?
The term itself was coined in 1990 by two professors, John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey. I think the best definition comes from Daniel Goleman, the psychologist and former science writer for The New York Times, who published a landmark book in 1995 called Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Dr. Goleman says there are basically four components to emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Simply stated, it's awareness and action for yourself and others.
Why are businesses becoming so interested in emotional intelligence?
Companies have come to realize that the only sustainable source of competitive advantage is their people. With the Internet, people all have the same technology, and everybody knows what everybody else is doing. It's very unlikely that one company is going to do something that its competitors aren't going to notice or couldn't copy.
One way to gain an advantage through people is by helping them develop their emotional intelligence, which is much more flexible than IQ. Emotional intelligence can increase over time as we develop and mature. It can also be substantially improved through feedback and coaching.
Emotional intelligence has been shown to be a powerful predictor of who's going to succeed and who isn't. There's a lot of evidence that people with emotional intelligence are more likely to succeed, more likely to be promoted and less likely to derail.
How do you use the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI)?
The ECI is a robust tool for assessing people. It's a 360-degree online assessment that measures people's strengths and weaknesses across 18 competencies. There are four general patterns of rating for each competency:
- If you think you're good and other people think you're good, that's a known strength.
- If you and others agree that you're not so strong, that's a known development need.
- If they think you're good and you think you're not so good, that's a hidden asset.
- If you think you're great and they think you're not so great, that's a blind spot.
After someone has completed the ECI, you sit down with them and discuss the results. Then, in the coaching phase, you try to bring everything into alignment. You try to have people understand the perceptions, close the perception gaps, build on strengths, and remedy weaknesses.
Why is emotional intelligence so important to leadership development?
In a rapidly changing, globally networked, multicultural and team-based economy, it is critical that people use emotional intelligence to navigate emerging challenges. It is unlikely that organizations that neglect emotional intelligence will harness the individual or collective potential of their people.
Where emotional intelligence is lacking, people are less likely to understand themselves and their colleagues, clients or customers, less likely to work effectively in teams, and less likely to successfully coach and mentor others. But organizations that invest in developing the emotional intelligence of their people are likely to have lower turnover, higher job satisfaction, less conflict, and increased organizational commitment. The bottom line is that emotional intelligence can have a significant impact on the bottom line.
For the past several weeks, the eyes of the world have been riveted on Iraq. It's hard not to think of the war, especially for people with family or friends overseas, and the conflict presents both managers and employees with an added source of stress in their lives.
"The Gulf War in 1991 seemed more abstract -- this seems more real," says Rabia de Lande Long, leader of WJM Associates' organizational effectiveness practice. "The embedded nature of the reporting is different, so it feels more real from a personal standpoint. Plus, between radio, television and the Internet, it's hard not to know what's going on at any time of day or night."
According to de Lande Long, one of the factors that contributes to people's sense of unease is the lack of control over the events happening in Iraq and around the world. "We are used to being in control of our destiny," she says, "and we are not very comfortable when we are not."
To help managers and employees deal with these feelings, de Lande Long suggests that the routine of work may actually provide a source of comfort. "We advise people to cope with organizational change by finding things that aren't going to change and to use them as anchors," she says. "In this case, work can fill that need because it has such familiarity and it can provide intellectual stimulation as well as intrinsic and extrinsic rewards."
To help maintain a familiar work environment, companies with televisions in the workplace -- such as those in the media industry -- may want to turn off some of their screens to reduce a potential source of stress. In their place, businesses can tell employees that they will notify them by e-mail of any significant developments during the day.
"The key is to strike a balance between empathy for people's feelings and a desire to return to normalcy in the workplace," she says. "We should all recognize that this is a time of great uncertainty and ambiguity. And we should recognize that people are social creatures so they are going to want to talk about it, to a certain extent. But they may also want to get back to work and not have to think about conflict all the time."
Chairman & CEO
I once coached the president of a corporation who repeatedly told me how honest he was with everyone. The story I got from his staff and colleagues, however, was radically different. They described him as "not open," "untrustworthy," "disingenuous" and "lacking in integrity" -- pretty harsh -- and honest -- criticism.
When I shared this feedback with my client, I could tell by the look on his face that such frankness hurt, especially when it came from people he considered friends. But he quickly recovered from the sting of honesty and said, "How do I fix this?"
We talked about candor, truth and honesty -- all qualities that this executive has spent years evading. I taught him how to tell the truth about what was happening in the company, and how to tell people the truth about their performance. I showed him how to express criticism in an honest, but empathetic way. My client soon began to realize the value of being truthful with people and quickly erased his old reputation. He went on to become one of the best leaders in the company once he learned the importance of being straight with people.
Every time we withhold or twist the truth, we destroy trust. Every time we tell people the truth, even if it is something they don't want to hear, we build trust.
For executives addressing the board of directors or candidates interviewing for a new job, how well -- or how poorly -- they communicate often makes the difference between success and failure.
"A lot of senior people don't present themselves and their ideas in a very compelling way," says Jeanne Golly, a member of the WJM Associates coaching faculty who has helped executives around the world improve their presentation skills. "Many are used to having people follow their every word, and they don't necessarily invest as much in their communications style as they do its substance. As a result, they do not always convey their ideas as effectively to internal and external audiences."
Golly recalls one client who had a military background. "When he was speaking to small groups, he was as personable as you or I, but when he got up on the podium, he reverted back to his military style of 'addressing the troops' and appearing to withhold information," she says.
Golly worked with the client to demonstrate more emotion, animation and enthusiasm as a public speaker. "We got him to turn up the bubble machine a bit," she says. "He was like a new person."
Not every corporate leader needs to make such a dramatic transition as the former military officer, but most can improve their presentation skills by following a few suggestions:
Make a mantra of your message. Develop a standard way of communicating high-priority ideas and stick to it. "One of my clients kept changing the way he would refer to corporate goals and programs," says Golly. "As a result, people became confused because they thought the mission had changed."
Tell people what you're going to tell them. Before enumerating the four, five or six major points of your presentation, tell your audience just what you intend to cover ("Today I'm going to discuss the three main objectives of our new marketing program. The first objective is …"). When you finish discussing all your major points, summarize them for your audience.
Slow down. Many speakers talk too fast when they get up in front of a room. Your audience will be able to follow your thoughts better if you present them a little more slowly than you would when speaking to someone face-to-face.
Incorporate body movement into your presentation. If you're going to talk about three things, hold up three fingers. Try to make eye contact with several members of your audience, not just one or two. And if at all possible, get out from behind the podium. You and your audience will both feel closer to each other.
Practice, practice, practice. Few speakers practice as much as they should. If at all possible, rehearse your presentation in front of a few members of your staff, or take the time to have yourself videotaped with a professional advisor. "You don't want to be unprepared for what may be the biggest moment of your career," says Golly.
Headquartered in New York City, WJM Associates is a recognized leader in the fields of executive and organizational development. WJM has a Faculty of over 300 experienced executive coaches and consultants delivering coaching, assessment and other organizational effectiveness services throughout the world. To learn how we can assist you, visit www.wjmassoc.com, contact one of our Account Directors toll free at 1-877-667-4647 or email us at ..