Emotional Intelligence is in the eye of the beholder

My apologies to Margaret Wolfe Hungerford.

A new leadership survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) has identified the key areas that Australia’s leadership is falling short, according to over 2,000 of their peers and team members.

The AIM Leadership Survey highlights over 72 per cent of Australian workers leaving their jobs due to poor leadership, with communication skills and emotional intelligence seen as the critical skill gaps that Australian leaders are facing.

The CEO of AIM, Ben Foote said: “Having a leadership role is more than just a title, there are distinct qualities that need to be developed or learnt entirely if someone is to be a true and competent leader.”

The survey found that leaders are considered average by their employees with an overall rating of 5.6/10.

The top three skills respondents believed their leadership teams could strengthen were:

  • Communication – 35.7 per cent of responders.
  • People management – 25.7 per cent of responders.
  • Leading by example – 22.9 per cent of responders.

This result is not a surprise. I have been involved in management in some form since 1967 and poor communication has the perennial number one complaint about managers.

The survey also highlighted areas that leaders were somewhat or not at all competent in:

  • Displaying emotional intelligence – 48 per cent of responders.
  • Managing staff performance – 48 per cent of responders.
  • Creating a high-performance culture – 48 per cent of responders.

The interesting results were when the managers were then asked what they believed were their strongest leadership skills:

  • Emotional intelligence – 35.8 per cent of responders.
  • Mentoring/coaching – 31.1 per cent of responders.
  • Communication – 28.7 per cent of responders.

The irony is that nearly half the employees believe their managers lack emotional intelligence while over a third of the managers believe emotional intelligence is their biggest strength.

“Communication and emotional intelligence are the key skills that employees say they lack in their leadership team, but also the skills that managers feel they most strongly possess. With such a strong link between leadership and engagement coming through in the results, ensuring our leaders hone their communication and emotional intelligence skills to meet the employee expectations is pivotal to success,” said Mr Foote. “Displaying emotional intelligence is vital in employees feeling like they matter and that they are cared for, listened to, and cared about in the workplace. Leaders need to step their game up in showing empathy and understanding the needs of employees.”

A possible explanation of the irony is that a core emotional intelligence component found in most managers is the Politician component. The strong P has a drive to Win. This is characterised by a strong handshake and direct eye contact. This person has a strength and a determination that some of the other styles may find difficult to deal with. Indecision is an anathema to the strong P. Ask these people where they’re going in life or what you should do next and there’ll be no hesitation from them. Delighted to be asked their opinion, these people will quickly tell you what they think. The spoken word is the P’s stock in trade and they believe they are excellent communicators and people managers. Assertive, opinionated and direct – look out for the status symbols – the big Mercedes in metallic blue, perhaps.

If you want discover how much of the P component is in your temperament do the PEQAS.

If you want to learn more about the P component listen to this 30-minute webinar.

This blog first appeared on LinkedIn on 9 March 2019.


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Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

Christi Spring CEO Institute. - web www.ceo.com.au.