Challenge #7: leaders need to include themselves in the emotional intelligence conversation
This self-inclusion in personal and professional development takes willingness. When leaders talk about developing leadership competences, they need to include themselves – but may prefer to talk about the development needs of others.
I was working with a group of leadership development experts recently and, when I mentioned this challenge, they all nodded vigorously and smiled wryly.Not only do managers need to participate in development opportunities, they need to demonstrate that they have done so.
Preferably by empathising publicly with the challenges faced by the whole organisation it goes through the messy process of culture change.
One leadership programme we created for a major UK employer was particularly successful because Board Members were willing to go on film and talk about the topic of leadership.
This had the outcome of clearly communicating how they wanted leaders and managers to be more coach-like and provide coaching and mentoring to their people.
Filming worked for a large organisation – it’s even better when these messages are communicated by senior leaders in person. The impact on course participants was that they understood why the investment was being made in them, and the expectations on them to apply their new skills.
I’ve been taking a great interest in news items recently. One of our clients has been acting as their organisation’s spokesperson during difficult seasonal weather conditions.
The difference between that, and when a member of the PR team acts as the spokesperson is huge. You can tell when spokespeople have no frontline experience of the issue they’re talking about. As distinct from the seasoned troopers – who know what it’s like to restore electricity to homes; fix railway lines or deliver sick people to hospital.
This is a double-challenge for people given the responsibility of developing emotionally-intelligent leaders. They both have to understand the issues (acting in emotionally-intelligent ways themselves) AND pull in others to fully engage with the challenge.
- One way to see this as a positive is to see others as a resource – and not as obstacles.
I don’t just mean the ‘leadership development champions’ but everyone who ‘gets’ what Emotional Intelligence is about – at any level in the organisations.
- Particularly those people who display it in the workplace.
- Especially those who demonstrate it under pressure
So if you have the challenge of building a culture of emotionally-intelligent leadership in 2014, I encourage you to find as many allies as possible and make leadership development a social activity.