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Emotional Intelligence Skill-Building Can Enhance Leadership Competencies

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The enhancement of Emotional Intelligence skills can provide significant value to organizations as they seek ways to help their people develop their leadership competencies. For the past 20 years, the identification and development of leadership competencies as a means of gaining competitive advantage has been a focus of many organizations. Leadership competencies “provide organizations with a way to define in behavioral terms what its leaders need to do to produce the results the organization desires and do so in a way that is consistent with and builds its culture.”(source) Leadership in today’s business world matters more than ever, and while more money is spent seeking to develop leadership competencies, the quality of leadership is still a concern.

Organizations typically have a number of leadership competencies (about eleven to fourteen in my experience) that they believe are important. Of course organizations want their managers and leaders to achieve improvement in as many competencies as possible in each developmental experience they are given, and Emotional Intelligence skill-building offers an approach to help build those competencies.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge from your emotions and the emotions of others so that you can make good decisions about what to say or do, or NOT say or do. The model I use contains five Emotional Intelligence competencies: Emotional Self-Awareness, Emotional Self-Regulations, Emotional Self-Motivation, Empathy, and Nurture Relationships. The first three represent the intra-personal competencies, those things that go on inside of a person that we cannot see. The last two represent the inter-personal competencies, those behaviors and actions that occur between us and other people.

Emotional Intelligence Cometencies

If we take as an example the leadership competency of "making complex decisions," we can show how development of the EI competencies enhances the leadership competency. First we need to look at the behaviors that comprise the competency, then identify the EI competencies that relate to those behaviors and drill down further to the behaviors representing those EI competencies that would help an individual enhance the leadership competency. Following is an example of this relationship:

Leadership Competency – Making Complex Decisions

  • Makes good decisions based upon a mixture of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment.
  • Most of his/her solutions and suggestions turn out to be correct and accurate when judged over time.
  • Sought out by others for advice and solutions.

Emotional Intelligence Competencies that Relate to the Leadership Competency – Making Complex Decisions

  • Emotional Self-Awareness
  • Emotional Self-Regulation
  • Emotional Self-Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Nurture Relationships

How EI Skills Enhance Leadership Competency – Making Complex Decisions

  • Manage their own negative emotions associated with uncertainty of decisions. 
  • Take into consideration the emotional impact of change on others; adjust their explanation of the change to maximize understanding and acceptance. 
  • Create a positive tone of cooperation even during difficult business situations.
  • Identify creative solutions when under pressure.

The experiences participants of our EI skill-building programs have shared during follow-up coaching sessions have demonstrated that most of an organization’s leadership competencies can be increased simultaneously by enhancing managers' and leaders' EI skills. From both an organization’s and an individual’s point of view this is a significant benefit.

When investing in the development of leadership competencies for your organization that will not only produce the results you want but will also reinforce a positive culture of sincere care for employees, customers and stakeholders, consider Emotional Intelligence skill-building. It's only when leadership competencies are combined with results that organizations are able to produce the kind of leaders that are needed. When you examine providers of Emotional Intelligence programs, be sure to look for the measured results they have achieved, for in every kind of organization, results are what keep an organization alive.

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About Byron Stock

  • Hi Steve,

    Answers to your questions follow.

    1. One could use the ESCI 360 as a pre and post measure for individuals. We also use a survey called the Personal and Organizational Quality Assessment pre and post which provides group data. Perhaps the most valuable measure for assessing changes are the stories and examples of how people have used the techniques. Some of these are quantifiable (ex: saved me 4 hours; additional sales of $4 million in one meeting, etc.)

    2. Practice the first and second technique I teach in my book SMART EMOTIONS. You can order it on my website

    You can contact me directly through my website if you would like to discuss anything else.

    Best Regards,

  • Interesting article Byron,

    Two questions:
    1. Do you use any other approaches to assessing changes in EI other than direct reporting?

    2. If you could give one piece of advice to someone prone to emotional overreactions, what would it be?

    Once again, thanks for the article,


  • As an organizational development firm, we have lectured on the value of Emotional Intelligence in developing decision makers and leaders. We combine an Emotional Intelligence Assessment with a Performance development program. Emotional Intelligence allows managers, salespeople, and decision makers the tools to persuade and influence others.