Leading with Emotions (part I)

Why we need EI

Just some examples of this month’s news: “February 2016 – warmest month ever”, “Blasts in Brussels – 34 killed”, “Obama visits Cuba – after 50 years of estrangement”, “Amazon starts air freight service – leases 20 planes”…

Looking at the examples above, it can be safely assumed that the 21st century is an era of rapid modernization and change and this pertains to politics, the economy and increasingly towards social systems. Stability and predictability are factors we can no longer rely on in today’s world.

In addition the technological progress confronts us with these changes and developments nearly real-time and irrespective of where we are. This has consequences for us as an individual person as well as an employee in the corporate world.

Why? Because emotions and personal values have increasingly made their way into our professional and business lives.
Just looking at the news above…how do I feel? Climate change – I am worried. Terrorism – I am sad. Political rapprochement – I feel hope. Innovations – I feel excited.

The same emotions (and many more) come up related to changes and developments we are facing in our work environment. Especially looking at projects involving “restructuring”, “cost reduction” or any other initiative that will change our daily work routine or impact our living conditions. The more changes and the faster appearing, the more emotions involved.

From a human resource perspective these developments create the need for urgent and fundamental change in the way we attract, manage and develop people.

Today people and especially leaders need to evolve many additional qualities which will enable them to effectively deal with stress, ever changing work processes and a lack of job security. In this new viral world, personal impressions and strength make a difference.

That’s why I think individuals and organizations should have a closer look at Emotional Intelligence (EI). Certainly this is not a new concept as the impact and processes behind EI have been widely examined over the last 20 years but in practice I see that handling the day to day operations often moves soft skills such as EI and leadership management into the background. There is definitely the room and the need for improvement.

In part 2 of my blog next week I will share some more insight what EI is about, if there is a relation between EI and leadership styles and if it’s possible to measure Emotional Intelligence.

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