Lead Organizations with Emotional Intelligence
Apply behavioral sciences to achieve extraordinary things and motivate others.
By Lanaya Sandberg, MBA, MHA, CPCO, FAHM
There are numerous philosophies and conceptualizations of emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ consists of the ability to perceive, recognize, and understand emotions, and to use these emotions to guide effective decision-making and actions, solve problems, augment thought, and promote personal development and growth.
A high EQ means you’re able to monitor and regulate your emotions and leverage them to enhance emotional and intellectual growth. It’s important to note this harmonizing of emotions with intelligence is imperative for everyone, not just leaders or executives. And remember, you do not need an impressive title to be a leader: True leadership occurs when ordinary people achieve extraordinary things through a supported vision.
Daniel Goleman is an author and psychologist who has studied brain and behavioral sciences and influenced EQ pioneering work from the mid-1990s. Goleman has identified the four domains of EQ, as shown in Table A, and believes exceptional leaders possess an amalgamation of self-mastery and social intelligence, which have two proficiency areas of perception and skills. Such leaders typically display at least one competency from each domain, and the more competencies possessed, the higher the EQ.
|Table A: Daniel Goleman’s four domains of EQ||Perception||Skills|
The big picture
Consider two different types of leaders: one who has a high intelligence quotient, thinks very quickly, clearly, and intelligently, and has superb analytical skills, but is reticent and becomes intolerant when others do not understand or provide responses he deems as “wrong.” Conversely, the other individual has assumed a new position, and is slower to catch on. But she comprehends what is important to her colleagues and is able to control her emotions.
In the workplace, the second leader is more effective because she is able to manage her emotions and empathize with coworkers, making her better able to motivate and influence others. Growing consensus shows that EQ is at least as relevant as technical skills and intelligence; organizations are more commonly using EQ-related tools to identify competencies in existing employees and candidates.
A few years ago, a superior advised me, “It is not about being right or wrong. It is about how other people perceive you.” Perception plays a key role in managing emotions and relationships — both personally and professionally. Emotional consistency can result in creativity and flexibility, which can increase the productivity and respect of peers. Leadership effectiveness is not solely restricted to intellect. In fact, aptitude is a given quality because leaders are expected to be knowledgeable.
Cultivating Your Emotional Intelligence
EQ is not necessarily an inherent skill. Rather, it’s learned and developed throughout your career and lifetime. Here are three suggestions to help you grow and advance your EQ.
Suggestion 1: Personal Accountability and Responsibility
Take responsibility for your adverse communications and actions, and learn from these incidents. If you truly are not remorseful, depending on the specific situation, it may be best not to say anything. Be genuine, always. Don’t be quick to point the finger because there are very few situations when you didn’t have at least some involvement.
Suggestion 2: Stress Management, Know Your Triggers
Take time to examine and learn how you react in stressful situations. The capability to remain composed in challenging situations is highly valued, regarded, and respected in the workplace. Always keep your emotions under control.
Suggestion 3: Scrutinize Your Reactions
Do you hastily rush to judgments prior to knowing all the relevant facts? Do you consistently find you’re ready to respond to someone before he or she is finished speaking? Sometimes, people unknowingly listen to others from a disturbance or memory perspective rather than the present. This can cause a person to become defensive and look for evidence that others are wrong. Follow the advice of a tried-and-true saying: “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes,” and try to be more open to others’ viewpoints and objectives, while listening intently.
The way an organization achieves desired results is as important as the results themselves. Leaders with a high EQ can lead an organization to achieve its strategic goals and objectives by affecting positive cultural change. Improving your awareness in each of Goleman’s four distinct domains can directly correlate to how you relate to your colleagues and achieve your personal goals.
Lanaya Sandberg, MBA, MHA, CPCO, FAHM, is chief of staff and head of strategy for a Medicaid managed care organization. She is a member of the Hartford, Connecticut, local chapter.
Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of AAPC or any other organization.