“IQ and academic skills are entry-level requirements for jobs of all kinds…but have little to do with how you’ll succeed once you get there. Emotional intelligence accounts for 90 per cent of what’s required for leadership.” ~ Daniel Goleman
Regardless of their official title, there are leaders throughout your organization; a leader could be defined as anyone who has followers. We all know stories about highly intelligent, qualified individuals who were promoted to leadership positions only to fail. We also know of people who have had fewer credentials but soared when placed in leadership positions. One of the main differences is what Daniel Goleman points to in his extensive research on emotional intelligence. Goleman has shown that when taking intellect, technical skills, IQ and lists of other leadership competencies into account, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important for success in jobs — at all levels.
One of the ways this shows up is allowing others to see your weaknesses (by the way, they see them anyway). By admitting you’ve made a mistake, that you are not as organized as you’d like to be or that you tend to be somewhat stressed on Monday mornings, you admit to others that you are not perfect. You are human and have flaws. This builds trust. People will experience you as more authentic and feel more connected to you. However, your vulnerability must be genuine in your admission and not a ploy to build trust.
Of course, it is a good idea to be selective about the weaknesses you reveal. For example, you wouldn’t want to reveal a truth that would jeopardize a key aspect of your role. Confessing your confusion over a particular accounting process if you’re the chief financial officer of the organization is probably not a good idea. But admitting to the peripheral flaws we all share will not alienate your followers.
Secondly, when you try to appear perfect at everything, it begs the question why would you need anyone to help you? Why would you need followers? Authenticity versus perfectionism builds rapport and allows your people to relax and do their jobs without the pressure of thinking they also have to be perfect.
Thirdly, if you think you need to portray the perfect picture of success, your people will ultimately talk about this attribute as your biggest weakness. They will experience your manufactured perfection as inauthentic. If you don’t cop to your weaknesses people will invent them for you — while at the same time feeling disconnected from you. The equation for leadership clout is: Authenticity + Vulnerability = Credibility.
There is nothing soft about vulnerability and the emotional intelligence data proves it. Being willing to show up fully inclusive of our faults is one small aspect of emotional intelligence. There is so much depth to this work. If you’re interested in reading more I recommend a book by Goleman, Boyatzis and Mckee called “Primal Leadership. It speaks to the validity of emotional intelligence for transforming excellence in leaders and their teams.
“Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and thos”e of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” ~ Daniel Goleman
Mara Vizzutti is a seasoned facilitator and certified executive coach. Over the past 20 years she has facilitated high caliber leadership programs to audiences of senior executives, supervisors and front line employees in diverse industries. She has completed countless professional development programs, the most recent being a MA in Organizational Development and Leadership.
Mara’s areas of expertise include: leadership development, leadership coaching, installing coaching cultures in organizations and strategies for effective communication.
www.maravizzutti.ca, 902-477-2535, firstname.lastname@example.org.