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The Importance of Developing Emotional Intelligence

Entrepreneurs get something started, they keep trying to move it forward, they realize that it’s not working so they retrench and start again. However, it's that feedback mechanism of continually building on that, and as a leader you know it's really important to get your mind around those three key areas of vision, alignment and execution. As I discussed in detail in my last post, “Are Leaders Made or Are They Born,” here is where emotional intelligence, or EQ, comes in. There hasn’t really been any leader whom I've worked with, from fortune 500 to start-up, who has not worked very, very hard on his or her EQ. Frankly, there aren’t many really great leaders out there, in my humble opinion, that haven’t developed really great EQ or at least the understanding that they need to be working on that.

The Importance of Developing Emotional IntelligenceMost leaders have some kind of technical skill in a certain area, but they really work hard on that emotional intelligence side of life. Here are six key points I think leaders should consider:

1.    Get input on how you can be better. You know as a leader the bottom line is that it all starts with you. Go to your board, go to your peers, and talk to your managers and get assessed. It is important to understand where you can improve.

2.    Look at your managers and how you can get some help. How can you coach them? How can you make them better? How can your managers get better? Frankly, how can you get better? If you don't think it’s broke how can you fix it? Find out some different areas that you can work at. Get a set of outside eyes.

3.    Look at leadership as a continuous improvement program -- you never arrive. I constantly quote John Wooden saying, "It’s what you learn after you know everything that counts." You never arrive.

4.    Realize that no one can be great at everything. Naturally, you may be a little better at the vision side of it, or maybe you are better at creating that alignment or that execution. You may be better at one, but realize that you have to improve in other areas and develop your team to help fill in those gaps. One of the keys is to be open about your weaknesses and developmental needs.  Admitting it is not a weakness, admitting it is a strength, because everybody knows that you have those weaknesses anyway. Admit them up front, and get your team to fill in those gaps.

5.    Communicate, communicate, and communicate your message again and again. 

6.    Traditional performance management is dead. If you are looking at vision, creating alignment and execution, then how are you constantly communicating with folks and creating this alignment and execution? Get rid of those annual reviews, which really aren't every twelve months, they are every fifteen to twenty months, so get rid of them. In your organization, create a mechanism that provides what folks want and that is real-time feedback. It creates alignment, it inspires your team and it allows you to give and get feedback so that you can drive your vision home. It provides the structure that you need.

Interested in learning more from Buddy? Download our free eBook, "Experience Matters," or take a look at the many free consulting resources we have available here on the website. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter, which contains all of the latest news and information from Ex3 Matters.