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Leadership Effectiveness & Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the key to leadership effectiveness.  But what is it, and how do you assess and develop it?

The Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI – Hay Group) is a validated and widely used behavioral measure of emotional and social intelligence.  Examples of the differentiators the ESCI uses to identify  highly effective leaders  include:

The individual:

  • Is aware of the connection between what is happening around them and their own feelings.
  • Adapts overall strategy, goals or projects to cope with unexpected events.
  • Acts appropriately even in emotionally charged situations.
  • Understands others by putting him/herself in others shoes.
  • Understands the informal processes by which work gets done in a team or organization.
  • Tries to resolve conflict by openly talking about disagreements with those involved.
  • Provides feedback others find helpful for their development.

Why is this important?

The evidence is indisputable that emotional intelligence is a key component of leadership and management effectiveness.  Former Bank of America executive, author and consultant Dee Hock captured the importance of a leader’s emotional intelligence in the following observation:

The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage the self: one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words and acts…..it is a complex, unending, incredibly difficult, oft-shunned task…..however, without management of self, people are not fit for  authority no matter how much [of it] they acquire…”

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others, to manage ourselves, and to manage emotions in ourselves and in our relationships. Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success. 

Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, both recognized scholars and consultants on the subject of EI, have published and refined a model of emotional intelligence used throughout the world. It is composed of four domains: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management.  Collectively, they incorporate thirteen identifiable behavioral competencies.

A Framework of Emotional Competencies
ei-graphic

The seven questions posed at the beginning of this commentary are among the sixty-eight in the ESCI.  The instrument is distributed to an individual’s supervisor, peers and direct reports, and their responses are used to construct the individual’s EI competency profile—a process known as a 360° assessment.

The specific behaviors assessed by the seven questions are:

  • Is aware of the connection between what is happening around them and their own feelings – Emotional Self Awareness.
  • Adapts overall strategy, goals or projects to cope with unexpected events – Adaptability.
  • Acts appropriately even in emotionally charged situations – Self Control.
  • Understands others by putting him/herself in others shoes – Empathy.
  • Understands the informal processes by which work gets done in a team or organization – Organizational Awareness.
  • Tries to resolve conflict by openly talking about disagreements with those involved – Conflict Management.
  • Provides feedback others find helpful for their development – Coach-Mentor.

Once Again – Why is this important?

When one is working with and attempting to lead other smart, talented and powerful people—including fellow physicians—emotional intelligence is a particularly critical competency for leadership success.

If you would like to learn more about EI as well as related leadership and management competencies, the Jindal School of Management Healthcare Leadership & Management for Physicians offers an asynchronous online certificate program designed to help early to mid-career physicians develop the leadership, medical management and practice design knowledge needed to compete effectively in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment.

Other good references on this topic include:

  • Goleman: Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ, Bantam Books, 2005.
  • Goleman D, R. Boyatzis & A. McKee A: Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2013
  • Salacuse, Jesawald: Leading Leaders: How to Manage Smart, Talented, Rich and Powerful People, AMACOM, a division of the American Management Association, 2006.

Michael J. Deegan, M.D., D.M.