Saturday, August 2, 2008

Seriously Good Leaders Use Emotional Intelligence as a Primary Tool

It is probably undeniable that the skilled use of emotional intelligence (EI) is of greatest importance within the field of healthcare, most particularly where, for example, a hospice patient is surrounded by a loving family.

A healthcare leader, be they a doctor or an administrator, needs what I would call spiritual and social competency high up in their personal traits. They need to be able to naturally relate to the fragile emotions of the patient’s loved ones, but also to the very human feelings of the medical staff who are caring for the patient.

However, today’s successful leaders, in just about any field, will be skilled in the use of EI as a leadership tool, and be most adept at using the natural competences they have. As commentators on the topic, we too need to recognize that those who are self-aware frequently have an inherent understanding of the motivations and feelings of others. They are capable of not only experiencing their own tense emotions, but are also able to contain them. The skill, of course, is in the compassion they are able to genuinely exhibit, while openly relating to those they are leading, be they patients, staff, or simply team members in any workplace team.
Do not under-estimate the value of a leader who naturally displays these traits. He or she is worth their weight in gold. I’d love to run a few of the political or corporate world’s leaders through an EQ questionnaire, but I think I know what some of the results might be. We can all think of some examples, but discretion being the better part of valor, prevents me from being specific!

One of the questions we must ask is, of course, whether or not EI can be learned and practiced in a way that at least provides the support given by those who are lucky enough to have it naturally. My own answer is that it can indeed be learned, although those whose behavioral traits lean away from sensitivity to others, will be, to say the least, rather handicapped.

Contrary to popular belief, EI is both psychological and physiological. EI uses core feelings and sensations as the source of our emotional sensitivity and therefore our emotional intelligence. It is thought that our core feelings, emotions and sensations are probably conceived in the womb and begin to be developed in the second month after birth. They are the center of our uniqueness, our individuality, our personality and our very natural instincts, such as those of survival, security, competitiveness, independence, decisiveness and anxiety, to name a few.
As trainers, as learning facilitators, we can help delegates to understand because EI is instinctive, it cannot be eliminated from our resource arsenal.

While it may be hidden, the skilled facilitator can help it come from hidden cerebral depths, right to the forefront, and enable such leaders to become skilful users of EI in their workplace leadership roles.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the learning of EI is not really that different to any other form of learning where we take messages on board from both our successes and our failures, learning to develop the latter and turn them into the former. Never was the homily that “Mistakes are Learning Opportunities” so true, as in the understanding of the processes EI learning.
In a business sense, I come from two very different environments. On the one hand my HR consulting company deals exclusively in the real world, with all the issues with which most will be familiar, but my online business is primarily devoid of face-to-face human contact and is perhaps less common. Or is it?

So far we’ve really only thought about leaders in the world of bricks and mortar. Let’s now take a brief look at EI for those who operate not just in the cyber world, but also those from the bricks and mortar world who work primarily alone or at least independently.

That is particularly the world of the work and stay-at-home Mom (or Dad), for example as Affiliate Marketers or earning through working at home on an affiliate’s program.
For S-A-H Moms and Dads, I would ask them to make an effort to integrate their thoughts with their feelings. This can become a very powerful tool and technique. However, the intuitive language of the body may be drowned by the logical language of the mind. Then you may not be able to hear yourself at an instinctive level. Online businesses, more than the bricks and mortar variety, need the creativeness of the intuitive language, as us guys are not so often given the benefit of stimulation by face-to-face contact.

Fascinating stuff, eh? True, but that will have to do for now.


Michael is a British citizen, but long term resident of Asia (Hong Kong and Malaysia). After 25 years with a global banking leader, he headed up his own HR and Management consulting company, and today this successful business has branched out to include database/direct marketing aswell as Internet and Affiliate Marketing. For the former, contact is at and for marketing businesses at . We look forward to hearing from you.

No comments: