Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Let the record clearly state that I firmly believe that Emotional Intelligence is “All that” and even more. In fact, I have written much on this topic and I remain committed to bringing EI coaching and consulting to those organizations and individuals that want to maximize their potential across all facets of life.

Leaders with high Emotional Intelligence are valued across the board by their organizations. But does that mean that there are no drawbacks or points to ponder where EI is concerned? No, I believe that there are some things to heed in the midst of embracing the benefits.

Many Times It Seems “Feelings-Based”

Effective leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence also often have to achieve a higher level of self-control over their emotions than typical employees. As important as the “gut feeling” that is discussed in much of the commentary on Daniel Goleman’s work is to the basics of EI study, one cannot ignore the connection between the “gut” and the “brain”. In many situations where most employees may get by with a feelings-first approach, leaders must do what’s right rather than what feels good at the moment or is the popular decision to make. Continue reading “Emotional Intelligence”

Vision, Foresight, and Observation

Vision, Foresight, and Observation

Are “vision” and “foresight” the same thing? Or, more importantly, are they synonymous with “leadership”? Let me say quickly that I do not believe that they are synonymous. Consider this as a follow up to last weeks article about a quote that has been attributed to Henry Ford. In that article I called him a “foresighted innovator.” I equated foresighted innovation with being a leader. So, does that mean that Henry Ford was therefore a man of vision? Does that mean that he was a leader by many of the other accepted leadership definitions?

I find myself reflecting this week on a Bible passage that you may hear occasionally when some other types of leaders wish to address their followers. Personally, I have seen it used when church leaders want to speak to the issue of visionary leadership. Here is that often misquoted (and occasionally misused) scripture.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”. 

It is found in the Old Testament in Proverbs 29:18. It is used many times from a church pulpit to exhort us to catch the vision that a pastor has seen and to encourage us onward to the destination that has been seen in the vision.

Having vision, communicating a vision, and catching a vision are all vital skills for leaders and followers alike. But I submit to you that there is a BIG difference between being a visionary person and being a leader.

Let me explain my thoughts this way. Continue reading “Vision, Foresight, and Observation”

Faster Horses

Faster Horses

There is a great quote from automobile industrialist, Henry Ford, that has been on my mind lately. It deals with a leadership trait that is as in short supply today as it was nearly 100 years ago.

If I would have asked people what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses” — Henry Ford

What a great quote! And what a great insight into a key leadership trait for you and me today.

What is the leadership trait?

The trait that I want to focus on today is being a Foresighted Innovator. The business community is all about collaboration these days. And I believe in collaboration. I really do! But, some􏰀times, a true leader, an innovator like Henry Ford, is able to see far beyond what those around him see. He doesn’t need a “focus group” to help him understand the market. He has the foresight to see beyond what is and is able to see what needs to be and what can be. In reality, there was no one to collaborate with Henry Ford because Ford was able to see things that others simply could not. Continue reading “Faster Horses”

The Wit of the Staircase

Wit of the Staircase-2

The French seem to always be in possession of le mot juste (the right word). They indeed have a phrase for the moment following a tense or embarrassing incident that happens to those who are not gifted with a quick wit:

“l’esprit de l’escalier”

Translated, it means “the wit of the staircase”. Or, more clearly as it relates to a situation where you only come up with a witty response to a verbal challenge or situation after you’ve turned on your heel and left the scene.

According to Wikipedia, it is the name for the phenomenon that comes from French philosopher Denis Diderot’s description of such an occurrence. At some point during a dinner at the home of statesman Jacques Necker, according to history, a remark was made to Diderot which left him speechless at the time. In French he says, “l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier.”

Translated into English it means, “a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument leveled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again [when he reaches] the bottom of the stairs”.

I can relate to that feeling, can’t you?

In this case, “the bottom of the stairs” refers only to the architecture of the kind of hôtel particulier or stately home to which Diderot had been invited. Obviously the reception rooms were located on an upper level or at least one floor above the ground floor. Therefore, to have reached the bottom of the stairs means definitively to have left the gathering and left the awkward or embarrassing exchange that had just occurred.

But I think that there is much more to this than just an architectural consideration. Continue reading “The Wit of the Staircase”