Think of the bosses you’ve worked for. Did they get their positions mainly because of their technical skills? Their intelligence? Their people skills? Which would you say was best at motivating everyone to peak performance? Chances are likely that it’s the boss with the people skills.
There’s a reason for this, and author Steven Stein, PhD, explains why in his new book, The EQ Leader: Instilling Passion, Creating Shared Goals, and Building Meaningful Organizations through Emotional Intelligence. Stein is CEO of a psychological assessment company that has gathered survey data on 2 million people worldwide to find out what makes an effective leader. Technical skills and IQ may both help advance employees up the career ladder, but it turns out neither have much to do with creating enthusiasm and buy-in within the team.
Instead, Stein’s research points out that leaders with interpersonal skills characterized as “emotional intelligence” have more success at influencing the long-term health of their organizations. Leaders with highly developed emotional intelligence (EI) are aware of their own and others’ emotions and can focus emotional energy on the behaviors needed to get things done. They know how to communicate effectively, build integrity and create an environment where team members are valued and validated. This all leads to better workplace morale and better productivity.
This new emphasis on EI in leaders means that future-oriented organizations are phasing out leaders who rely on intimidation and authoritarian styles. But, Stein points out, EI isn’t always about being nice. It’s the ability to use the right emotion at the right time to get the right result. In The EQ Leader, he writes, “It requires the ability to read the other person, know how far you can push their buttons, and knowing when to back off and when to persist.” Think Apple’s Steve Jobs.
Anyone who has worked for managers more focused on looking good than doing good knows that it’s hard to put in the effort or give their superior allegiance. Millennials and the incoming GenZers (born in the ‘90s), particularly, want to work for bosses who set an inspirational tone. They also are more interested than the generations before them in finding organizations with a purpose, and they intentionally seek out socially conscious companies. Younger workers are more likely to respond to coaching and guidance from bosses with strong EI traits, whose approach values unlocking and capitalizing on their team’s potential and individual’s strengths.
The EQ Leader makes the argument for a new, transformational leadership style, and gives existing and would-be leaders a full menu of skills needed to take their organizations to a higher level of commitment, innovation and success. Who wouldn’t want to work for a boss with a strongly engrained EI who understands the importance of productive work relationships? The challenge, however, is in finding one.
Learn more at drstevenstein.com.