I was struck by consistency of results presented in a recent study on “Demystifying Emotional Intelligence for Leadership”, or what many of us have heard as EQ or EI. Despite this seeming to be a “soft” area, the data was hard hitting: successful leaders –- including senior execs and entrepreneurs – say EI is what distinguishes top performance. There’s also ample evidence that when companies develop EI in their leaders those groups achieve higher performance. I related this data to executives I have seen throughout my years in industry and search, from strong leaders destined to be CEOs to technologists/functional experts who will never be more than individual contributors. This led me to ask: how can companies identify, hire and develop superior leaders?
In this article, I will share a brief background on EI and things you or your company can do to improve leadership potential.
Pam Fox Rollin, Sharon Richmond, and Julie Brown – all experienced businesswomen and consultants – are in the process of completing a two year study into EI*. Their study asked 265 successful business executives to rank leadership competencies. Results showed that 8 of the top 10 ranked competencies were emotional intelligence competencies of vision, relationship building, people development, achievement drive, adaptability, self awareness, initiative and team work (the two non-EI competencies were strategic thinking and execution.) Further, the data revealed four ways to be emotionally intelligent:
- Self-Efficacy – including competencies such as initiative and optimism
- Power & Influence – including stress tolerance and conflict management
- Self Awareness – including accurate self-assessment and emotional awareness
- Team Focus – including empathy and people development
These four EQ “dialects” show there are different ways of being emotionally intelligent, rather than just one profile of emotionally intelligent leadership. The research goes into much more detail about these dialects. For more information, contact the consultants through www.ideashape.com/leadership-research.htm
The research indicated that strong leaders with superior performance statistically have developed six EI capacities. The dialects simplify the process of finding star performers with these common groupings of EI capacities. The results also showed that strong leaders all needed to master four building blocks of EI -- self-awareness, empathy, self-control and adaptability.
Developing and Hiring Strong Leaders
Of course, everyone wants to hire the A+ performers yet they can also be developed. 88% of the executives in the study indicated that EI capacities can be developed. The research indicated that people learn differently; to develop EI capacities a company needs to offer employees a range of programs from training to coaching, self-assessment, and 360-degree evaluations.
What does it take to hire the star performers? First, consider your company culture and the objectives for the role. What do you want this person to achieve? Is there a style that would work best in your company? Is there a particular dialect that might work best? Look for people who have mastery in that specific dialect or at least one of the dialects. Develop questions that assess for the behavioral skills that demonstrate a person’s EI capacities, questions such as:
- What is the vision you set for a group and how did you communicate this?
- What is your leadership/management style? What are some examples of how you work with your team?
- What is your employee evaluation process?
- What would your customers or team say about your management style?
- What results are you especially proud of and why?
- Share with me an example of an obstacle and how you overcame it.
The end result? When you hire individuals with strong EI capacities or offer a combination of training, coaching and assessment to develop EI capacities, you achieve a bottom line increase in company performance
Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. recently completed two product management searches and is currently working on a number of consulting searches that may be of interest to your friends or former colleagues. For more information, go to the Contact Us page of www.ullrichassociates.com.
- Partner, Financial Services – Boutique strategy consulting firm
- Manager/Senior Consultants – Boutique consulting firm
- Director Internal Audit – Public audit consulting firm
- IT Audit Consultants – Public audit consulting firm
- Business Development Manager – Services firm
- Director of Investor Relations – Biopharmaceutical company
Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. focuses on VP, Director, Manager and individual contributor executive level hires across the functions of Product Marketing/Management, Marketing, Sales, Engineering, and Consulting for technology and consulting companies.
Kathy Ullrich is quoted in USA Today article, “Big Names in Tech Change Companies”, September 9, 2005. See Press Page at www.ullrichassociates.com.
Some coming Silicon Valley events that may be of interest:
- Oct 26, 2005 – ATW Silicon Valley – Annual Auction – Come bid on an executive encounter with CEOs/VPs in Silicon Valley, including Carol Bartz, CEO of Autodesk; Tama Olver, CIO of Applera; Janice Chaffin, CMO of Symantec; Kathy Ullrich; and many more. (www.atwinternational.org)
- Nov 2, 2005 - Women of Color Action Network (WCAN) – Fall Forum (www.wcanforum.org)