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Leadership Development

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Inspire And Engage Their People

Dereck Bhanga



At times, people tend to misunderstand why Emotional Intelligence is so important. The bottom line is that the way you ‘show up’ (how you behave and interact with people) determines how they feel (think of that person you know who brings the atmosphere in the room down just by showing up) and the way people feel determines how well they engage with you. Which in turn determines the outcome of that relationship. Simple…Basic… And you already knew that, right?  It’s logical.

The above should matter to leaders in particular, because a large part of our success is dependent upon our ability to engage people to get the results that only engaged people deliver.

Emotionally intelligent leaders inspire and engage their people and, as a result, they achieve results from their people that are superior to the results achieved by other leaders. This is a key point: you are only as emotionally intelligent as people experience you being.

You can have the highest EI ability on the planet and, if you ‘show up’ and don’t demonstrate that EI ability, then you don’t get that payback. It all comes down to behavior – which means that any leader who cares to understand what behaviors constitute emotional intelligence, and to take the time to learn how to make those behaviors part of their day to day leadership style, can become a more engaging leader and get better results from their people.

The organisation I work for, Genos International, invested 20 years of research in identifying a specific set of 42 behaviors that are responsible for driving an emotionally intelligent impact. The good news is that pretty much every leader ALREADY has many of those behaviors as a standard part of the way they behave day-to-day. In all likelihood, it is these behaviors that got them into their leadership positions in the first place. So, every one of us already has many of the behavioral seeds in our default behavior.

But equally, none of us are perfect, and we all fail to demonstrate some of the behaviors that would dramatically improve our impact.  But don’t worry: our experience shows that it is not necessary to assimilate every one of those emotionally intelligent behaviors to raise the level of our impact upon the people who work for us. Even changing one or two of these key behaviors can have a dramatic impact.

Think of emotional intelligence as being like a kaleidoscope. In a kaleidoscope, a series of mirrors set at angles to one another create fascinating fractal patterns when they reflect the tiny colored beads that share the tube with them. Each bead is reflected by each of the mirrors and each of the mirrors also reflects the reflection of the reflection, and the reflections of the reflections of the reflections and so on. So, if you turn the tube and even one bead you change its reflection, and the reflection of its reflection and so on – then the entire pattern changes dramatically.

Your working environment is just like that. Each of your behaviors is like one of those colored beads, and each of the people who work for you are like mirrors: they are affected by every one of your behaviors. And how they are affected by your behavior is reflected back to you and to every other member of your team that they deal with day to day. The reflections, and the reflections of the reflections of your behaviors are felt throughout your team (to understand more about the way everything you do and say affects EVERYONE around you should read ‘Connected’ by Christakis and Fowler).

If you change even one small thing about the way you behave in your interaction with your team, it is reflected all around the team (and the world at large) – having a dramatic effect on the way you are perceived. Assimilating even one or two of the emotionally intelligent behaviors uncovered by 20 years of our research could have a dramatic effect on the impact you have on your people and the extent to which they engage with you and their jobs to contribute superior results.

But how do you know which of those behaviors are already part of the default way in which you show up,’ and which you need to work upon?

You must ask those who work for you to tell you what behaviors you demonstrate with them day-to-day.

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Derek Bbanga is a Genos International Certified Emotional Intelligence Facilitator.

Leadership Development

Great Leaders Inspire Trust, This is how you can Build Yours Today!

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Of all leadership attributes of the greatest leaders of our time. Trust stands above all.

You can have a compelling vision, rock-solid strategy, excellent communication skills, innovative insight, and a skilled team, but if people don’t trust you, you will never get the results you want.

Leaders who inspire trust garner better output, morale, retention, innovation, loyalty, and revenue, while mistrust fosters skepticism, frustration, low productivity, lost sales, and turnover. Trust affects a leader’s impact and the company’s bottom line more than any other single thing.

One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is to assume that others trust him simply by virtue of his title. Trust is not a benefit that comes packaged with the nameplate on your door.

It must be earned, and it takes time. As a leader, you are trusted only to the degree that people believe in your ability, consistency, integrity, and commitment to deliver. The good news is that you can earn trust over time, by building and maintaining eight key strengths:

  1. Clarity

People trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily activities. When you are clear about expectations, you will likely get what you want. When we are clear about priorities on a daily basis, we become productive and effective.

  1. Compassion

People put faith in those who care beyond themselves. Think beyond yourself, and never underestimate the power of sincerely caring about another person. People are often skeptical about whether someone really has their best interests in mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old saying. It is a bottom-line truth. Follow it, and you will build trust.

  1. Character

People notice those who do what is right ahead of what is easy. As a leader you must build this pillar consistently and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, whether they feet like doing it or not. It is the work of life to do what is right rather than what is easy.

  1. Contribution

Few things build trust quicker than actual results. At the end of the day, people need to see outcomes. You can have compassion and character, but without the results you promised, people won’t trust you. Be a contributor who delivers real results.

  1. Competency

People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. As a leader you should stay humble and teachable. Learn new ways of doing things and stay current on ideas and trends. According to one study, the key competency of a successful new MBA is not a specific skill but rather the ability to learn amid chaos. Arrogance and a “been there done that” attitude prevent you from growing, and they compromise others’ confidence in you. There is always more to learn, so make a habit of reading, learning, and listening to fresh information.

  1. Connection

People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends—and having friends is all about building connections. Trust is all about relationships, and relationships are best built by establishing genuine connection. Ask questions, listen, and above all, show gratitude—it’s the primary trait of truly talented connectors. Grateful people are not entitled, they do not complain, and they do not gossip. Develop the trait of gratitude, and you will be a magnet.

  1. Commitment

People believe in those who stand through adversity. People trusted General Patton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Jesus, and George Washington because they saw commitment and sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment builds trust.

  1. Consistency

In every area of life, it’s the little things—done consistently—that make the big difference. If I am overweight, it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not because I ate too much yesterday. It is the same in business. The little things done consistently make for a higher level of trust and better results. The great leaders consistently do the small but most important things first. They make that call and write that thank you note. Do the little things, consistently.

Trust can’t be built overnight. It requires time, effort, diligence, and character. Inspiring trust is not slick or easy to fake. Trust is like a forest. It takes a long time to grow and can burn down with a just touch of carelessness. But if you focus on these eight components with every action, you will foster trusted relationships—whether with employees, customers, suppliers, or fellow leaders—that will drive results and the bottom line.
[Original article by David Horsager]

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