Photo: Pillars in Leading: Use Emotional Intelligence</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>There's a famous quote by Hemingway about 'writing truly' that perfectly relates to the idea of emotional intelligence and leadership: </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>"... The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>What Hemingway is getting at is that the underlying power of emotional integrity is something we are all subtly aware of. Recently, this idea has come to be referred to as emotional intelligence.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Very few leaders in the workplace have not heard of the term emotional intelligence.  And yet, most struggle to define it when asked what it is -- let alone how to demonstrate it.  </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Quite simply, emotional intelligence is the intelligent use of emotions. According to Daniel Goleman, the pioneer researcher on emotional intelligence, emotional intelligence is the ability both to understand emotions and to monitor actions based on emotions.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Given what we know from neuroscience and how the brain filters all stimulus', all decisions, and all responses via the emotional brain, it's fair to say that it’s impossible not to have an interaction with someone in the workplace that isn't impacted by our emotions.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>To be truly effective, a leader must be able to tap into the hidden seven-eighths.

… The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.

This famous quote by Hemingway refers to ‘writing truly’, but it also perfectly relates to the idea of emotional intelligence and leadership.

What Hemingway is getting at is that the underlying power of emotional integrity is something we are all subtly aware of — often without even knowing it. Recently, this idea has come to be referred to as emotional intelligence.

Very few leaders in the workplace have not heard of the term, and yet, most struggle to define it when asked what it is — not to mention how to demonstrate it.

Quite simply, emotional intelligence is the intelligent use of emotions. According to Daniel Goleman, the pioneer researcher on emotional intelligence, emotional intelligence is the ability both to understand emotions and to monitor actions based on emotions.

Given what we know from neuroscience and how the brain filters all stimuli, all decisions, and all responses via the emotional brain, it’s fair to say that it’s impossible not to have an interaction with someone in the workplace that isn’t impacted by our emotions.

To be truly effective, a leader must be able to tap into the hidden seven-eighths at play during any interaction.

Just how do emotions impact on interactions? And how do we go about building emotional intelligence? It follows on from being brain-friendly in so many ways, but let’s break it down into four broad areas: Awareness, Management, Control, and Expression.

Awareness: What are you currently feeling right now?  What kind of mood are you in and how is that impacting your outward behaviour? Are you able to describe the exact emotions you are experiencing right now?  Happy? Sad? Anxious? Self-aware managers develop their skills in building awareness of self and awareness of others.  This enables them to be outwardly seen to be more in tune with others’ behaviour and more genuinely caring.

Management: It’s all well and good noticing how you feel.  And perhaps noticing that Mary from accounts is not herself today, however what do you do with this information?  The most skilled managers are effective at putting in a range of strategies to bounce back from adversity and to help others manage their own state, particularly through adversity.  You, as the leader, are like “the canary in the coal mine” of office mood. One careless expression or a poorly timed wisecrack on your part can be the difference between a well-managed workplace or one that is under the influence of  inflamed limbic responses.

Control: The most skilled leaders work on managing their impulses.  This isn’t just about resisting the urge to yell and scream when something goes hideously wrong, it’s about your ability to focus.  Your ‘attentional intelligence’, as neuroleadership advocate Linda Ray calls it, is critical. If you can focus on the tough days, as well as on the days when you are particularly excited, you’re exhibiting effective emotional self control.

Expression: This is the relative frequency to which we express ourselves in the workplace.  At the right time, to the right degree, in front of the right people; authentically.  It’s about people feeling like they see the ‘real you’.

Sharing emotions as a leader helps to build trust and respect in the workplace if it is done effectively and at the right time and in the right place. It is possible to learn how to effectively express your emotions without getting ‘overly emotional’.

Being real and expressing emotions appropriately can be a powerful force for change. For example, do you remember the early 80s when Bob Hawke was Prime Minister of Australia? In 1985, a teary Bob Hawke revealed his daughter’s heroin use. Interestingly, his popularity as Prime Minister increased after his very public admission of his family’s issues. Parents around the country could relate to how hard it is to raise children. Soon after, a new drug initiative was launched — the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) — which had a big impact in many lives.