Part Three: Making Leaders
It takes a lot of courage to tell the boss that he or she has been performing poorly in the emotional intelligence arena lately. This is especially difficult to do when the boss has been a little rough lately and everyone is ducking for cover and trying to stay off the radar. People want to keep their job and continue to be able to feed their children.
The bottom line is that many CEOs lose some of their self-awareness as they travel up the rings. However, the ironic thing is that study after study shows that self-awareness is greatest among companies doing well, and poorest among companies doing poorly. So, now it comes down to which poor soul is going to put their job on the line to tell the boss that he or she is out of touch and acting like a schmuck because it’s good for the whole company if the boss is made self-aware?
As I said earlier, the good thing is that emotional intelligence can be learned. However, according to, Primal Leadership, most training and leadership programs only target the neocortex rather than the limbic brain. Leadership skills usually comes down to habits learned early in life. So, if we’re going to re-educate the emotional brain, they typical leadership program isn’t going to cut it. In order, to re-educate the emotional brain we need lots of practice and repetition aimed at the limbic centers of the brain. This kind of learning is very slow; but, that’s a good thing because once it’s learned, it’s learned very well, at a much deeper limbic level. Furthermore, this learning will be retained much longer than traditional surface level cognitive learning.
The cycle of successful change through emotional intelligence consist first of discovering what our ideal self really is. Second, then unearthing who we exactly are. What is our real self? Third, we have to discover what our learning agenda is. Next, we have to practice our new thoughts and behaviors over and over and over. Lastly, we need to discover some supportive relationships. We need people who help us succeed.
Emotional intelligence in leaders requires that they at least have some vision of their ideal lives. Through this vision they can uncover their real selves. This requires self-awareness though. Leadership strengths lie at the crossroads of where one’s real self matches one’s ideal self. Where it doesn’t are the gaps that one needs to work on.
Improvement plans crafted around learning rather than performance outcomes have been found to be more effective for working on those gaps mentioned in the paragraph above. The best kind of learning is when one gets to focus on what one wants to become; one’s ideal self, rather than what others want him or her to become. One’s own life goals ignite their full range of talents. And the more parts of one’s life that can be identified as relevant to one’s leadership goals, the more chances one will have to practice and grow. Being handed a performance goal des the opposite. It undermines motivation. It causes anxiety, and decreases performance.
Goals should be built on a person’s strengths, not their weaknesses. Plans of improvement should be flexible, feasible, and fit into their life and work, as well as fit into their learning style if it’s going to have the biggest impact on their development and growth.
The problem is that people try to force leadership upon others and thus these poor souls learn it haphazardly by repeating what they saw others do while growing up, or their own poor previous attempts at it. The good thing is that one can improve in leadership by becoming aware of bad habits and constantly practicing a better way until one masters it. Having a good supportive relationship here really helps a lot in making this change.
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. To learn more about Dan please visit his website at: www.DanBlanchard.net. Thanks.