Give Me 2 Minutes And I Will Share a Secret To Help You Run Your Business More Profitably and Efficiently

With the recent turn of events and economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever that your organization is maximizing the output of people, resources and technology.  In business, your success as an owner is not measured solely by your own output but rather by the efficiency and productivity of the people whom you manage, lead and interact with (i.e. suppliers, team, customers, partners, stakeholders etc.).  Learning to manage and lead others is a necessity – and arguably even more important than learning the technical skills required to work in and on your business. But what makes a good leader?  Is it something that should come naturally or do you need to actively develop the core skills that underpin leadership? When answering this question, most of us would readily provide examples from the sporting arena.  If pressed for explanation, our response might include statements like “performs well under pressure”, “always gives 100%”, “maximizes his strengths and abilities”, “is a good team player” or “the team lifts and performs when he/she is on the field”.  In plain terms, these are all characteristics of “emotional intelligence” – the sine qua non of leadership.  Daniel Goleman, author of The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace, describes a model of emotional intelligence which consists of four domains and twenty competencies. The first of these two domains are personal.  Self awareness is characterized by a deep understanding of one’s own emotions, strengths and weaknesses.  Individuals with self-awareness have the ability to accurately self assess and make modifications if necessary to their behaviour.  The second factor, self management is more about the control and regulation of one’s emotions: the ability to self-motivate and display initiative plus the capacity to stay calm and focused when things do not go as planned. The remaining two domains are social in nature and relate to a person’s ability to manage relationships and others.  Social awareness concerns the ability to consider the input and feelings of others in making intelligent decisions.  Whereas relationship management encompasses the ability to communicate, influence, collaborate and work with others. For some time we have recognised the importance of these factors of emotional intelligence to those who lead both “on the field” and also in the office.  However, it has only been in recent times where strong empirical evidence has been gathered to prove the enormous impact that high emotional impact can have on the bottom line of an organization.  According to Goleman, when he compared the performance of candidates in senior leadership positions, he found that nearly 90% of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors. From a study published in 1990 evaluating emotional intelligence and productivity, those in the top 1% of basic labour and admin jobs (machine operators, clerks) performed three times better than those in the bottom 1%.  For jobs such as sales persons or mechanics, an individual in the top 1% was 12 times more productive than those in the bottom 1%.  Again, technical competencies being relatively equal among all the candidates assessed.  Finally, in the category including the most complex jobs (lawyers, physicians, account managers) those at the top were measured against those of average skill (not the bottom 1%).  The added value of a performer in the top 1% was 127 times greater than the average performer. Our traditional education system has primarily focused on the development of technical and cognitive skills.  It is not entirely surprising that whilst a few owners and managers may be naturally inclined in the area of emotional intelligence, most of us could benefit greatly from development in this area.  Developing emotional intelligence however, is not something that you can learn by reading a book.  It requires hands on training, practice, perseverance, 360 degree feedback and reinforcement.  Whilst some may find this challenging, confronting and threatening, developing emotional intelligence is an extremely rewarding pursuit and will produce tangible, measurable results that positively impact the bottom line profitability and efficiency of your organization.

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