Fourth Age Communiqué - Leadership for the rest of us

Monday, May 31, 2004

The EI Model

Emotional Self-Awareness

  • Improvement in recognizing and naming own emotions
  • Better able to understand the causes of feelings
  • Recognizing the difference between feelings and actions

Managing Emotions

  • Better frustration tolerance and anger management
  • Fewer verbal put-downs, fights, and classroom disruption
  • Better able to express anger appropriately, without fighting
  • Less aggressive or self-destructive behavior
  • More positive feelings about self, school, and family
  • Better at handling stress
  • Less loneliness and social anxiety

Harnessing Emotions Productively

  • Better able to take another person's perspective
  • Improved empathy and sensitivity to others' feelings

Handling Relationships

  • Increased ability to analyze and understand relationships
  • Better at resolving conflicts and negotiating disagreements
  • Better at solving problems in relationships
  • More assertive and skilled at communicating
  • More popular and outgoing; friendly and involved with peers
  • More concerned and considerate
  • More "pro-social" and harmonious in groups
  • More sharing, cooperation, and helpfulness
  • More democratic in dealing with others

The EI competencies

How we manage ourselves

  • Self-Awareness: Emotional self-awareness; Accurate self-assessment; Self-confidence
  • Self-Management: Self-control; Transparency; Adaptability; Achievement; Initiative; Optimism

How we approach relationships

  • Social Awareness: Empathy; Organizational awareness; Service
  • Relationship Management: Inspiration; Influence; Developing others; Change catalyst; Conflict management; Teamwork & collaboration

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Why EI matters

Book Review

Aristotle observed, “Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, in the right way — this is not easy.”

What is it about some people we encounter, who have wonderful technical skills and abilities, but lack basic social skills? Why does it seem so few understand — or take heed to — Aristotle’s admonishment?

Such are the questions Daniel Goleman seeks to answer in his landmark, Emotional Intelligence. Beginning with Aristotle’s challenge to the masses, Goleman proceeds on a journey into self, to explore our unconscious and find there the hidden answers to some of what Goleman refers to as life’s most perplexing moments. The journey, Goleman says, is to understand what it means to bring intelligence to emotions. Along the way, Goleman sets out to equip us to face our own inner toxic emotional demons. Using insightful stories of real life emotional “hijackings” and plumbing the depths of human empathy, Goleman points out the habit patterns that ensnare us in emotional illiteracy.

Uniting cutting edge research into the neurological function of the brain with well-known psychology findings, Dr. Goleman sheds light on how human emotions can negatively affect our own well-being and that of those with whom we interact.

This book is a fabulous extension of Dale Carnegie’s classic on winning friends and influencing people: it is chock full of useful data and anecdotes that draw out the intrinsic value of knowing thyself and how it affects the world around us.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

The neuroanatomy of EI

Daniel Goleman contends that there are very good scientific explanations for humans’ ability to manage our emotions intelligently. Studies of the neuroanatomy of the brain reveal very compelling insights into how the higher and lower regions of the brain function, and how it affects our social interactions.

In simple terms, the brain stem controls our basic survival modalities, or our “fight or flight” mechanism. The higher level functions of feeling originate in the limbic region, while the highest level of thinking —abstract thought and reasoning— occurs in the neocortex.

Buried deep in the limbic region are two critical components of the neuroanatomy, the hippocampus and the amygdala, both of which are central to EI. The hippocampus essentially stores memories, while the amygdala maintains the emotions associated with those memories. As Goleman relates their purpose in this analogy: “The hippocampus registers that your cousin just arrived; the amygdala reminds you that you don’t like her.”

This is not a hard and fast, 1:1 correlation, however, as memories can trip old feelings and emotions that, according to Goleman, may have been stored at too early of an age to recall (or have processed) the context in which they were experienced.An effect of this fluid association of memory and emotion is what Goleman calls an emotional hijacking. When a circumstance causes our emotions to overwhelm our rational thought processes, Goleman says, that is a hearkening back to a more instinctive physiological response to hostility—a fight or flight mechanism. The first key to EI is to recognize such triggers, or to be emotionally self-aware, and allow our rational mind to diffuse the emotion of a moment, referred to as emotional self-management. Taken together, these two actions comprise the personal competencies of Emotional Intelligence.

The next level of EI is known as the social competencies. That is, to have a social awareness (also known as empathy), or understanding of others’ feelings and emotions, followed by relationship management, or knowing how to respond to the aforementioned feelings in others. As a whole, these four disciplines represent the ability to manage one’s emotions and interaction with others (and their respective emotions) in healthy, productive ways.

Within the context of primal leadership, the ability to leverage one’s emotional self-awareness and respond empathically to others is key to motivating followers to respond in positive, self-affirming ways that resonate in their hearts and minds.

That is to say, EI leaders recognize what drives their people from within, and they connect with that emotional reservoir to provide value both to the follower and the organization at large. Because there is no externally motivating factor that taps a follower’s inner drive, EI leaders are only successful in leading when they identify with their people’s internal passion.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Emotional Intelligence and the Primal Leader

Book Review

Perhaps never before in history has it been more important for leaders to emotionally connect with those they lead. Further, it is critical to any organization’s long term success that a leader not only connect with her followers, but also develop her respective charges into leaders in their own right.

Such is the crux of Daniel Goleman’s thesis in Primal Leadership: In order to succeed, an organization (although he speaks specifically to business, the model can be extended) must achieve measurable results. These are only as “good”, over time, as the teams that produce them, and those teams must, in order to produce at continually high levels, serve within a climate that induces them to continue to succeed.

Climate, Goleman posits, is only as conducive to engendering continued results and high morale as an effective leader imbues it with those qualities. And the leader does it, he argues, through highly attuned levels of Emotional Intelligence.

The model, then, as adopted by such notable organizations as IBM, is this: EI drives leadership styles, which drive climate, which drives behavior, which drives results. The most effective organizations are those that are led by highly EI leaders who can adapt to and influence the environment with their leadership styles.

Dr. Goleman builds on this model with a list of specific leadership styles (which he interchangeably refers to as competencies) that comprise the repertoire of effective EI leadership. Goleman goes on to illustrate how the effective primal leader employs them to bring out the best in every team member.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Great leadership works through the emotions

Important Emotional Intelligence (EI) Terms
  • EI: Emotional Intelligence / Emotionally Intelligent
  • EQ: EI Quotient
  • Primal: A leader to whom others look for assurance when facing a threat or uncertainty
  • Resonance: Driving positive emotions that bring out everyone’s best
  • Dissonance: Lack of harmony
  • Hijack: Allowing impulsive feeling to overrule rational behavior