Being a leader in the workplace has come to mean a great deal more than merely being a figure of authority. As we saw in one of Coggno’s previous blog posts, Onwards and Upwards – Rethinking Business Leadership in the Modern Workplace, effective business leadership has taken on a different meaning in the twenty-first century. A business leader is someone who prioritizes the development of others in order to contribute to a future and building a legacy that far exceeds their own capabilities. Business leaders not only initiate dynamic change but inspire it in others.
Emotionally intelligent leaders, according to Daniel Goleman’s now-famous research on the subject, are able to draw on the following two leadership components:
1. Emotionally intelligent leaders make use of ‘emotional resonance’; the ability to attune to the emotional climate of an individual or organization and leveraging it to the benefit of positive productivity. Being attuned to the emotional needs of employees allows leaders to align those needs with their personal goals and the goals of the organization.
2. In cases of tremendous anxiety or chaos in a working environment, negative emotions tend to prevail. In such an environment, attuning to negative emotions might not be useful because anxiety, by its very nature, does not allow for productive decision-making, often causing people to freeze up or to lose objectivity. Skilled leaders rather employ ‘emotional dissonance’ in emergency situations; referring to the ability to detach from destructive emotions by remaining calm and composed while finding a suitable solution. A calm leader offers the structure and vision necessary to move forward in a chaotic environment.
These skills can be learned over time, and their mastery involves being adaptable. Different situations might call for different leadership styles:
• Visionary leaders inspire and motivate by creating a shared goal;
• Affiliative leaders build organizations by creating strong emotional bonds between employees;
• Coaching leaders focus on upskilling their staff;
• Democratic leaders prefer to create strategies through participation in order to achieve a unified goal.
It would appear that it is their ability to influence, rather than their position of authority that separates effective leaders from the rest. Vince Lombardi said it best:
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
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