Emotional Intelligence – The Difference that Makes THE Difference in Leadership Effectiveness

I’m always eager for the chance to make the shift from facilitator-coach to student-learner and I recently had the opportunity to do just that. In early April I headed back to Boston to attend the Master Accreditation Program for the Emotional and Social Intelligence Inventory (ESCI) given by the HayGroup, one of the largest providers of organization diagnostic tools in the world today.  As some of you know, there are a number of emotional intelligence feedback instruments to choose from, but I was particularly interested in adding this research-based tool to our battery of assessments because of its authors.  It was developed by the HayGroup and two of the most recognized names in the field of emotional intelligence today: Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis.

I’ve been a big fan of Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence since reading his seminal work “What Makes a Leader?” in 1995.  Goleman’s research validated what many of us in the organization development field had observed and believed for some time: Truly effective leaders are distinguished less by their IQ and technical skills and much more by their emotional intelligence. The book clearly described with compelling evidence, that as you move into increasingly senior levels of leadership, it’s the soft skills of emotional intelligence that differentiate the star performers from their average counterparts.  As a result, I’ve continually used Goleman’s emotional intelligence framework as the contextual backdrop for much of the leadership development and coaching work I do. 

What exactly is Goleman referring to when he points to emotional intelligence as the greater determinant of success?  “The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”  More specifically, emotional intelligence skills tend to pair up under two primary competencies—personal competence and social competence. 

Personal competence is the result of someone’s ability across two important skills, self-awareness and self-management.  Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand our moods, emotions, and drives and how that affects you, other people, and their job performance.  Self-management is your ability to control or redirect negative impulses, demonstrate adaptability in response to change, and maintain a positive outlook despite challenges and setbacks.  In other words, managing our own emotional reactions to situations and people.

Social competence on the other hand focuses more on how we behave with other people and is broken out into the skills of social awareness and relationship management. Social awareness is the ability to empathize and accurately read the emotions occurring in other people. Relationship management is really the result of the first three emotional intelligence skills and is the ability to use awareness of both our own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. This includes inspiring others and leading change, demonstrating an interest in developing others, negotiating and resolving conflict, and working with others towards a shared goal.  It’s our relationship management skills that are often the most visible to others and that tend to have the greatest impact on people’s perception of our effectiveness.

So for today’s leader several questions may spring to mind:  “How am I doing when it comes to emotional intelligence?” “Is there a way to get accurate feedback?” And, maybe most important, “Can I develop my emotional intelligence?” The good news is Yes! to all three questions.
Knowledge Resources Group now offers the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) as a way of providing leaders a clear picture of how they are doing relative to these all-important skills.  The ESCI is based on decades of research, across hundreds of roles and organizations and as a result, provides people with a solid comparative analysis of where they stand relative to the database population.

Building emotional intelligence skills may not be easy, but it is possible.  The starting place with any personal change effort is recognizing both the need for change as well as the benefits of change.  Without sufficient motivation, it’s tough to sustain the attention and effort required to build these all-important leadership skills.  That’s why the ESCI is so powerful in setting the stage for development.  It provides a clear assessment of strengths and limitations as well as sparks/ignites the motivation to design and drive a development plan. 

As a company that has been using 360 feedback instruments for the last 15 years in our leadership development and executive coaching work, we’re really excited to offer this excellent tool that sheds light on who we are as leaders as well as the impact we are having on our relationships and work environment.

I'd enjoy hearing from you on the issue of Emotional Intelligence, this new assessement and its possibilities, or anything else that comes to mind!

Trish Bergstrom

and the Team at Knowledge Resources Group

tel ~ 408 506 4581


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