isIn that last couple of decades, neuroscientists have shown that one of the most important aspects of effective leadership is emotional intelligence. A well-known leader in this research is author Daniel Goleman. Goleman states that one of the most important roles of a leader is helping employees engage in their work, ultimately leading to a satisfying work life balance. A key to unlocking that engagement is emotional intelligence.
Although leadership typically focuses on external pieces; such as employees or the direction of the organization, we first need to focus on ourselves, the leaders. In his book “Primal Leadership”, Goleman discusses the importance of leading your followers with emotional intelligence. Whether we like it or not, there is a direct correlation between the leader’s mood, employee’s moods, and performance. Below are 4 key pieces to effective leadership utilizing emotional intelligence:
As a good leader, your employees will mirror your moods, work ethic, and even decision making. This means that the most important piece of being a good leader is being aware of yourself and your mood. If you, the leader, are upset and communicating poorly, what impact will that have on your employees?
Goleman mentions three things we can do to make sure our mood isn’t negatively impacting our followers.
1.Self-Awareness: What mood are we in? Why are we in this mood?
2.Pausing/Reflecting: What impact does this have on others? Is it beneficial or harmful?
3.Adjust: What mood do we need to be in to lead effectively? How do we adjust?
Though these sound simple and straight forward, building self-awareness into your everyday life will help with more than just building strong work environment.
2)Know Your Employees
Once you’ve got a hold of your own emotions, we can start looking out towards our employees. Think of morale, motivation, and optimism as three good measures for productive employees. Outside of work, how do you make people close to you feel like you understand them? An MIT article mentions 3 ways to help people feel understood:
1.Questions: Asking employees how they feel or what their thoughts are on certain topics is the best place to start.
2.Active Listening: Active listening is the idea of repeating what others say to you without inputting your own ideas to make them feel heard. Disregard your personal opinions at first to make sure you’re really understanding how they feel.
3.Perspective: It is important to understand where your employees are coming from in their perspective, not yours as the foreman, manager, or even owner. This will help you work towards a solution much more efficiently.
3)Know Your Organization
Organizations are constantly shifting, often times based on the needs and preferences of their employees. An effective leader should be able to adapt to the culture of the organization as it grows. One important distinction is understanding that there may be different cultures in different departments, each requiring a different style of leadership. I’d challenge you to assess your company culture as a whole, at a department level, and potentially at the level of each crew. This should help identify who your core leaders are, and what type of leadership they need to utilize in each role. Below are some questions to help you get started:
1.What is the organization most known for?
2.What is the organization best at?
3.Where is the organization headed?
4.Who is in charge of getting it there?
If you need help addressing culture concerns, take ArboRisk’s culture assessment! This assessment can give you a baseline for where your culture is at and you will receive a FREE one page summary of your results!
4)Create a Vision
Effective leadership, and effective organizations for that matter, all require leaders and their employees to work towards a common vision. A clear vision. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure everyone has a positive outlook on the organization’s vision, creating a positive work environment. The leader should be able to understand bottlenecks arising out of working towards the vision, listen to the employee concerns, and come up with creative ways to work around those issues ultimately keeping the organization on track. This is usually done with the following:
1.Delegating: This is where creativity can come in. Who is best at specific tasks? Who enjoys specific tasks to ensure they’ll be done proficiently?
2.Goal Setting: Visions are long term, goals are short term items that help work towards completing the vision. How can you utilize goals to help motivate your crews?
3.Coaching: “Success is in the journey, not the destination.” Utilize working towards the vision as a way to help your crews grow and learn.
The organization has its goal, but so does each employee. Most people want growth, some want money, others want education. Learn what drives your employees and build that into your overarching goal.
How important are leaders within your organization as it stands? I’d argue leaders are the engines that drive an organization towards its future goals.
A strong company recognizes the need for effective leadership within their organization and utilizes leadership to motivate employees to work harder, smarter, and more efficiently. I’d encourage you to check out some of Daniel Goleman’s work, but there are plenty of resources discussing effective leadership on YouTube as well. This process will hopefully help not only with achieving your company vision, but building a strong company culture along the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions!
Primal Leadership, Written by Daniel Goleman