The Key to Leadership Success

By Morag Barrett on May 19, 2015

Posted by Morag Barrett | May 19, 2015The Key to Leadership SuccessIn my experience soft-skills are the “secret sauce” to leadership. However, when I talk to leaders in companies around the nation, those “soft skills” are often overlooked as a priority when organizations focus on the development of future leaders. If these skills are the “secret sauce”, why are they so often neglected?The misconception is that these skills are inherent, and not learned. While I agree some leaders have an aptitude for understanding people, building relationships and managing emotions, the truth is that like any skill, these talents can be built, and improved upon.How important are these soft skills? In a study of 188 companies, most of which were large and global, Daniel Goldman, Ph.D., identified a summary list of competencies that were determined to be differentiators for leadership success. He separated those competencies into three categories: technical skills, cognitive abilities, and competencies demonstrating emotional intelligence, or “soft skills”.While both technical and cognitive skills were important, when Goldman calculated the proportion of attributes tied to emotional intelligence, those EI competencies proved to be twice as important as the other factors. That proves how critical EI skills can be, yet can those competencies be learned or improved upon? The answer is yes.When David Goldman, Ph.D., wrote his seminal book, Emotional Intelligence, Why it can matter more than IQ, published by Bantam in October 1995, he provided a structure for not only understanding the fundamentals of what constitutes Emotional intelligence, but also the building blocks of assessing your current awareness and skill in order to create a targeted plan to capitalize on your strengths, and improve upon your gaps. That level of Emotional Intelligence is what now is called your Emotional Quotient (EQ). The key to developing EQ, is to gain awareness of your own emotions, to become comfortable with them developing the ability to convey enthusiasm to the team, manage stress, and avoid poor reactions that impact our ability to make considered decisions.Once you have a solid understanding of your own emotions, and how to manage your reactions, you can build on your success through a focus on others, using your new skills to identify the emotions of your colleges, clients and stakeholders. Learning their motivations will enable you to create meaningful solutions, and develop trusted relationships.Considering the impact Emotional Intelligence or EQ can have on your success as a leader, can you afford to create your next development plan or the plan for your top performers without a considered approach to improving “soft skills”.Related ArticlesA Comprehensive Model for Leadership DevelopmentOver the years we have found that many leadership development programs focus on one or two areas of development but not all the core competencies that create highly effective leaders. Some programs focus heavily on business acumen but leave out the leadership skills or vice versa. The impact is that…January 19, 2016In "Leadership and Management"Mentoring as Part of Leadership Academies, Part 2In the first installment of the series on Mentoring as Part of Leadership Academies, we defined mentoring, identified the primary objectives of mentoring, the critical role it plays in academy and how often mentors and participants should meet. In this blog article, we discuss the selection of mentors, the character…November 24, 2015In "Leadership and Management"2016 PMI Mile Hi Symposium: 6 Steps to Successful LeadershipIn my experience, soft-skills are the “secret sauce” to leadership. However, when I talk to leaders in companies around the nation, those soft skills are often overlooked when it comes to preparing emerging leaders for success. If these skills are the secret sauce, why are they so often neglected? The…March 31, 2016In "Leadership and Management"Tags »Emotional IntelligenceEQleadership development denver Share
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