Leadership is such a hot topic right now, wouldn’t you agree? With the COVID-19 pandemic throwing multiple challenges in the way of the leadership path.
We’re seeing divided workplaces. An increase in remote working. A significant decrease in social interaction and many leaders are currently working on new processes, new systems, new models, causing uncertainty and overwhelm for everyone involved.
Not to mention an increase in mental health. In fact, research shows that ‘more than 55% of companies acknowledge declining rates of mental health’, and as a result employees are struggling to engage and find the motivation to do their work effectively and efficiently.
It’s up to the leader to find effective ways to reassure and create some certainty for their people.
As leaders, we’re are in a place of power. Power to make a difference in a positive way. Leadership is so much more than a title. It’s having the skills to be able to communicate effectively with the intention to connect, influence, motivate and empower our people so that they can contribute to their success and effectiveness and that of the organisation.
To be able to do this effectively means the leader must have the right skills and tools to be able to manage interactions and relationships with their people successfully; motivating and mobilising them to act and achieve individual and organisational goals.
So how do the 4 intelligences effect and impact effective leadership?
Firstly, let me start by listing the 4 intelligences. There is:
1. Emotional Intelligence
2. Cognitive Intelligence
3. Social Intelligence
4. Cultural Intelligence
The first and most vital is Emotional Intelligence. This is key in understanding ourselves, FIRST. In any given situation, we must acknowledge that the ONLY thing we have control of is OURSELVES. Self-awareness, self-regulating, being able to control our emotions, even when circumstances are difficult. Having empathy, which enables us to read and identify emotions in others.
Social skills enabling leaders to get along with others through listening, understanding, and appreciating the emotions of others, where they’re coming from and without judgment.
Cognitive Intelligence on the other hand, is having the skills to acquire and retain the knowledge needed to be able to influence others and change effectively, successfully. It’s having the skill to ask great questions, the ability to analyse and connect the dots, listen to what’s not being said, identify the gaps. Cognitive intelligence is having the right skills and tools to research and develop and the ability to think inductively. Nearly everyone thinks they do this. What most people tend to do, however, is have the same thought, or look to confirm a thought they had is true, or accurate. When we master the skill of inductive thinking what this means is we can look at a challenge, an opportunity and say, ‘What if this was NOT the case?’ Look at new ways. New possibilities. Opportunities. Challenge the status quo.
Deductive thinking is what most people do, most of the time. They look at what is and then drill down from there into the implementation. Most deductive questions keep confirming what is, which is really presupposing what is, is how it needs to be and therefore the choice is to disregard it. Cognitive intelligence helps us to think outside of the box and recognise patterns of behaviour in ourselves and that of others and how we can use pattern recognistion to create effective successsful change.
What about social intelligence, where does this come into play? Great question.
Every encounter we have with others has the potential of transferring emotions in both positive and negative ways. Social intelligence (awareness) is managing the way in which we present, how we hold ourselves through our physiology, our tone of voice, what we say or don’t say. Social Intelligence is building the skill of expanded awareness. As leaders, it’s taking the time to become aware of, understand and appreciate the differences in others, because this is key to thriving in social situations. It’s key to thriving in the workplace, where interaction with others is inevitable. It’s developing the skill to detect others’ emotions, feelings, concerns. Even more than that, the way we express our emotions in a social setting is one of the keys to social intelligence. It’s the difference that makes the difference in leadership.
This then brings us to Cultural intelligence, which ties in beautifully. The way we express our emotions in a social setting is one of the keys to social intelligence and this can also vary within cultures. It’s developing the skill to be able to adapt to new cultural settings. ”Cultural Intelligence is related to Emotional Intelligence (EQ), but it goes a step further.
It’s having the skills to make the right decisions based on observations and evidence when in a new environment and/or setting.”
So, as you can see, developing our intelligence skills is paramount to effective leadership. Taking responsibility for our actions and building the right skills for wellbeing and tracking emotional health, prevent the progression of mental health within the workplace. Taking responsibility for our actions isn’t about beating ourselves, it’s about creating an awareness of our emotions, our thinking, our social and cultural interactions and that of others.
Building these skills empowers leaders to take ownership of how they turn up, how they respond, and/or react to situations they find themselves in. A leader who accepts their part in how a situation plays out, empowers them to be able to manage their behavior and that of others.
Employers and employees must be on the same winning team. This helps not only to boost engagement, morale, and motivation, even more than that it puts everyone on the same page, taking responsibility and accountability to maintain and improve unhealthy behaviors, making for a more productive, resilient, engaging, and competitive workplace.
For any organisation to thrive, requires the leader to resonate energy and enthusiasm, and if the leader resonates energy and enthusiasm, this then creates a domino effect of the same in your team, the workplace, and your organisation at large.