I was recently sent an article: Leaders of tomorrow – The skill set of a post-COVID leader that contained the following quote:
“Future unreadiness is a widespread problem among senior leaders and HR managers a problem that must be remedied if an organisation hopes to thrive post-pandemic. It also seems that there is a significant gap between the traits many current leaders possess and the traits investors want to see in leaders, according to a 2019 Korn Ferry report.
The report, which surveyed 800 investors globally, found that less than 15% of Australian corporate leaders have the skills required to lead – let alone accelerate – their companies through a rapidly evolving business landscape. Worryingly, this research was pre-pandemic, and the landscape has since changed tremendously, meaning many leaders were perhaps not equipped to handle the events that unfolded.
According to The Frontline Leaders Project, the average age a person steps into a leadership role is 36 years, however, leaders are 40-years-old on average when they are first exposed to leadership development training. This 4-year gap points to discrepancies in readiness and suggests first-time leaders could be making mistakes early in their leadership journeys that may have damaging long-term impacts. These mistakes could concern relationships with key stakeholders or the management of direct reports.”
Personally I agree with a result of a survey of 100 successful General managers which found that far and away the core competency rated most important was people skills. As I have just finished producing Practical Emotional Intelligence for Leaders and Managers I thought to myself I have done my bit. I do believe that most important tool a leader and manager can have is a people-profiling instrument like the 7MTF that is both practical and scientifically valid.
Then I was sent a link to a new EDx course Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work run by two UC (Berkeley) Professors: Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas. Their other major claim to fame is that they were the Scientific Consultants to the Pixar film Inside Out.
As a general principle I try to do one EQ course a year to check out the competition so I thought I would have a crack at this one. The course comprises four modules based on the Goleman model: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social-Awareness and Relationship Management.
I have so far completed the first two modules. Despite its title the course is very academic in content. For example, when Simon-Thomas discusses Emotions and Decision Making, the 14-minute video reels off a series of references to papers on various sub-topics. I kept thinking what about the Replication Crises in Psychology. Thankfully this is counterbalanced by a series of suggested pithy readings; for example, The Best Headspace for Making Decisions is highly recommended.
Although Keltner does brief talk about the Singular Disposition that he defines as the dominant emotion a person can feel both professors use emotions rather than temperament as the core of their course. What I found ironic is that is that when Kelter tried to increase the number of emotional characters in Inside Out the director pushed back strongly saying five was the maximum he would allow.
So for example I found the discussion on Emotions and Decision Making scattered and lacking focus. In my new online-video course Practical Emotional Intelligence for Leaders and Managers I discuss in depth and focus strong on how each of the seven 7MTF components effects our own decision making and that of others. For prospective managers and leaders this is a critical skill to acquire.
Nevertheless, the course does contain a number of very useful tips and suggestions.
For example, to build Self-awareness you should practice Self-Distancing:
- Think about yourself in the third person
- Focus on your future self (what will you be thinking about this is 6 months’ time)
- Visualize an observer (What would Batman do?)
- Avoid using the pronoun “I”: Focus on using third-person pronouns—he, she, they—when engaging in self-talk.
Another useful tip is what to if you are in negative emotional situation:
- Mindful acceptance: Let be the things you cannot change
- Self-distancing: Observe your situation like a “fly on the wall”
- Reappraisal: Find the positives in negative situations
This blog was first published on LinkedIn on 30 March 2021.
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