Leading with Self: Emotional Intelligence

What it was

A one-day session on what it means to “lead self” in the context of a changing civil service, through being present and leading with emotional intelligence. Part of the Deputy Director Leadership Programme. Held in London on 28 January 2020.

What I learned

Emotional intelligence

The Emotional intelligence Framework – drawn from (Goldman, D. “Working with emotional intelligence”) – gives ways in which people can be emotionally intelligent and suggests areas to develop.

A similar model is the diagram here: https://hbr.org/2017/02/emotional-intelligence-has-12-elements-which-do-you-need-to-work-on

This model considers Self Vs Others and Awareness Vs Action

  • Awareness / self
    • Self awareness: Emotional self awareness
  • Awareness/ others
    • Social awareness: empathy, organisational awareness
  • Action /self
    • Self management: achievement orientation, adaptability, emotional self control, positive outlook
  • Action / others
    • Relationship management: conflict management, coach and mentor, influence, inspirational leadership, teamwork

Social Motivations

People typically have a combination of three social motivations:

  • Power motive: Primary test: Have an influence or make an impact on others
  • Achievement motive: Primary test: Meeting or exceeding a standard of excellence and or improving ones performance
  • Affiliation motive: Primary test: Maintaining or avoiding disruption of close friendly relations with people

People are often uncomfortable talking about power as a motivation!

Where things can go wrong:

  • Communication problems, including inability to listen or failure to speak up
  • Poor decision making processes, individual and group
  • Experienced experts can make poor choices and commit fundamental decisions making errors, especially under pressure

As a leader you need to be able to see when the team’s emotional engagement is blinding them to reality, for example failing to challenge assumptions, and leading to poor decisions.

Overall reflections on the day:

  • I find this subject hard to “do in the abstract” – I need to revisit this often and see how it can be applied at work.
  • I need to be braver and unafraid to challenge assumptions – especially from senior leadership.

What I will aim to do differently as a result

  • Get closer to the different teams and people – make more visits.
  • Understand what senior leaders want and worry about, talk to them.
  • Think about people’s motivations and how I can help them.
  • I will figure out a way of getting actions from these learning write ups into my task-tracking system
  • I will make time in my diary for leadership and reflection, and for follwing up on the actions from this course
  • Reflect on my social motives (impact and influence) and not to see it as bad, and reflect on the motives of others
  • I will aim to research how to develop greater focus, attention and self control (e.g. Pomodoro technique?)
  • Challenge assumptions and groupthink, have courage

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