Thirty years ago, a leader or manager might have walked into a room, clipboard and hard hat ready. This person, likely a male, would have outlined the tasks for the day, without much regard for the emotions that may have been present. In today’s Imagination Age, this type of leadership is obsolete. Leaders must be open, transparent, and know themselves to effectively manage and inspire others.
During my recent interview for the film, with Executive Director Helen Lyons, we discussed the evolution of leadership, and how we have seen the change from IQ to EQ to the importance of relationships. Current generations have different expectations than employees of the past, and people want to have their minds and hearts engaged in what they do.
Ms. Lyons pointed out that leaders who aren’t self-aware can be a recipe for disaster. These types of leaders expect command and control and may only be task-oriented. However, this kind of attitude leaves out the most essential component of any business—the people. While most leaders may be excellent operational managers, many would benefit from taking a step back and examining if they can say they really ‘know themselves’.
Younger kids usually know what IQ is, even if they don’t know what the letters stand for. IQ means intelligence quotient, and science has devised numerous ways to measure this in humans. The meaning has actually evolved over time, and we now understand that there are multiple intelligences, some of which may not be measured on conventional IQ tests.
One of the alternative intelligences, which is measured by emotional quotient, or EQ, perhaps gives a clearer picture of how successful a person might be in his or her life. For leaders, IQ and EQ can play a role in how well a particular person leads. But think back to the best leaders you have ever known or worked for. What do you remember about their leadership abilities?
The best leaders probably had a blend of many characteristics. They were likely intelligent and organised, presenting themselves in a professional light. But these stand-out leaders were also likely charismatic, kind, and compassionate. We don’t innately follow people who don’t inspire us, and money is only going to provide inspiration for so long. The leaders that made you want to BE more were leaders who understood themselves and practiced holistic leadership styles.
My practice as a leader is to ensure that I’m totally present, to ensure that if I’m going into a tense, emotional situation that I walk in with an open heart and an open head.
How can you be a more compassionate, inspiring leader? How can you evolve to meet the needs of today’s business demands? You don’t have to make sweeping changes to adjust your leadership set to fit with the current generation of employees. Try to incorporate some of these tips into your daily routine, and hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the reactions of those around you.
Instead of thinking of leadership as a linear, task-driven process, try to think of leadership as circular. People don’t usually leave the company, they leave a bad leader behind.
The more impact you have, and the greater your role, the greater the focus should be on strategy and building relationships with the people around you, including your employees, clients, shareholders, and even people in your personal life. If others feel like they can talk to you, they will feel more comfortable working with you.
Surinder, S. (2012). Leadership Quotient: The Science of Leadership. Diversity MBA Magazine. Article retrieved from http://diversitymbamagazine.com/leadership-quotient-the-science-of-leadership.
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist and filmmaker. Silvia is the Founder & CEO of the About my Brain Institute, creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology, author of ‘Leadership is Upside Down’ and director of the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.