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Are You Open to Outcome, and Not Attached to It? Emotional Intelligence, Part Two

October 20, 2019

In Part Two you’ll meet Daniel Goleman, to whom most people refer when speaking about emotional intelligence. (Click here to read the first part of the series on emotional intelligence).

As society evolves, as environmental pressures urge us to find creative solutions to climate change and pollution, and as the global economy becomes more brutally competitive, those in leadership roles must also change. In particular, we’re seeing the shift from transactional leadership to transformational leadership.

Transactional leadership can be simply explained as, “Do this task for me as an employee, and I as your employer will provide you with pay and maybe benefits.” In other words, managers engage in transactional activities with their staff. The needs of employees are viewed as being limited and basic, which is what organizations set out to meet.

In contrast, transformational leadership can be seen as the state where employees are brought into the process of creating a shared vision for the organization and sharing power and decision-making with management. People are seen by senior management as having higher order needs and desires.

However, to evolve to this new state of being within an organization, it means that managers must first strip away the façade of managerial position. Remember: management is a position of appointment; leadership must be earned by establishing a followership. But to achieve this state requires that the manager, as a human being, looks inside themself and begin to develop the emotional side.

Here are three questions for you to reflect on:

1. What does the word emotions mean to you?

2. Do you believe that emotions interfere with good judgement, and why?

3. If not, why?

The late C.K. Prahalad, a huge presence in the management field for several decades, once put it: “One of the biggest impediments to effective decision-making today is that all the literature and all the consultants have recommended that emotion and passion be taken out of management They think that strategy is a purely analytical exercise.”

Respected management professor Dean Tjosjold of Lingnan University in Hong Kong stated it bluntly: “Perhaps the most irrational assumption we can make is assuming that people should behave rationally and unemotionally.”

One expert, Daniel Goleman of emotional intelligence fame, has argued that IQ (intelligence quotient) contributes only about 20% to people’s success. The rest of our success in life is due to EI. We’ve all seen instances of people who possess normal IQs but who are in senior management positions and functioning competently. And these managers often are leading others with very high IQs. What’s key to understand is that emotional intelligence is mostly learned, in contrast to IQ which is more or less fixed after our teenage years.

Goleman talks about five competencies of emotional intelligence. The first three deal with personal competence, and determine how we manage ourselves. The last two address social competence, and determine how we handle relationships. Here’s a summary of the five competencies.


1. Self-Awareness:
Being aware of our moods and emotions and their effect on others, and what motivates us. Understanding our strengths and weaknesses. Having a strong sense of our self-worth and abilities. Accepting feedback readily and learning from experience. Being reflective.
Hallmarks: self-confidence, realistic self-appraisal, self-deprecating humor.

2. Self-Control:
Being able to control or redirect our impulses and emotions, and to hold off from making judgements (thinking before acting.) Maintaining a high standard of honesty and integrity (trustworthiness). Accepting responsibility for our behavior. Demonstrating adaptability and innovation. Thinking clearly and staying focused under pressure. Admitting mistakes.
Hallmarks: trustworthy, integrity, openness to change, comfortable with uncertainty.

3. Motivation:
A passion for one’s work (it’s not just about money). A drive to excel and to pursue one’s dreams. Having a big picture perspective. Showing commitment and persistence in achieving one’s dreams. Maintaining an upbeat attitude despite obstacles and being results-oriented. Mobilizing others to pursue common goals. Championing change and acting as a catalyst to effect change.
Hallmarks: achievement, optimism, commitment to the organization.


4. Empathy:
Ability to sense others’ feelings and showing interest in their problems. Helping others learn to grow. Identifying and acting on opportunities by working with diverse people. Having a good sense of the power relationships and a group’s collective emotional state (political awareness). Mentoring and coaching others. Service to the organization and the community. Challenging intolerance and prejudice, and valuing diversity.
Hallmarks: developing and retaining talent, sensitivity to cultural concerns, commitment to client service.

5. Social Skill:
Demonstrating strong skills in managing relationships and forming networks. Handling conflict situations competently, and nurturing and building relationships. Seeking win-win situations. Collaborating with others to achieve common goals. Initiating change, and rallying people to move forward. Inspiring and guiding people towards a collective vision. Leading by example, and stepping forward to lead.
Hallmarks: leading change, persuasiveness, effective team builder and leader.

Goleman makes a vital point on leadership: “Effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence.”

In the days ahead, take some time to reflect on where you believe you’re strongest in the five competencies? Which one would you see yourself as needing priority attention to strengthen?

Our next and final post in this series looks at self-awareness, trustworthiness, and empathy.

Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found that it was ourselves.
– Robert Frost

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