EI is at the foundation of evolving leadership development skills that organizations are quickly recognizing as a business differentiator. The high cost of employee turnover, demands for higher profitability, business transformation, etc. requires leaders who possess these core EI competencies and skills:

Competency: Personal Competence

Skills: Self Awareness and Self- Management

Competency: Social Competence

Skills: Social Awareness and Relationship Management

Future leaders will need to have the ability to build upon those competencies and skills to help navigate and manage the complexity inside the change management and organizational transformation vortex. EI is not about IQ, but it’s about an aspect of behaviors and flexible skills that leaders can learn with the right amount of effort and focus.

This body of knowledge is evolving daily through research, practice, and case studies about the impact of EI on organizations. Facts, not opinions bear out that those individuals who possess the essential skills to harness the power of EI are those individuals who could see the biggest return in many organizational efforts, that could include driving change management and organizational transformation efforts.

EI dimensions provide the necessary ability to help leaders navigate across the broad spectrum of the organizational landscape. It allows leaders to learn and understand in laymen terms how EI taps into neuroscience and use that knowledge to manage and achieve goals.

Goleman, 1999 expanded the definition of EI by adding five main domains of EI:

· Self-awareness. These leaders know one’s emotional state on how they feel and the impact the behaviors and actions will have on others in their sphere of influence.

· Self-regulation. These leaders don’t attack others verbally as a matter of principal, respond in a knee-jerk fashion, or define people in categories, etc. They know their values as leaders and maintain a strong disposition; they are in control of their emotions.

· Motivation. These leaders are constantly working towards goal achievement as part of their growth and those strong in this dimension are recognized for setting and maintaining high standards to those around them.

· Empathy. Leaders recognize the emotional state of others. In other words, empathy towards others as part of their self-awareness of the situation. Being a caring and understanding leader can be essential to managing emotional distress during times of uncertainty.

· Social Skills. Leaders with this strength are excellent communicators and are open and receptive to all aspects of socializing communications in the organization. They have the ability to manage complexity of organizational life and set the example with their behaviors and actions.

Making EI a part of leadership development can be accomplished by:

· Establishing a EI baseline for leaders using available instruments to develop plans for their growth.

· Evaluate your EI assessment data and determine which strong dimensions that could contribute immediately to help drive outcomes needed from change management or organizational transformation activities.

· Measure the effectiveness of EI skills used by those leaders in charge of driving change management and organizational transformation efforts at the beginning of those activities.

· Adopt EI by making it part of your core leadership messaging to help change behaviors for existing and future leaders. That message must come from the preferred sender, the CEO. This will help leaders understand the vision, the why, and how the organization will use EI now and in the future as a leadership differentiator. Separating yourself from the competition using all available tools defines good companies from great companies.

· Advocate EI to be a part of your organization change management and organizational transformation approach as the benefits of this growing body of knowledge continues to evolve.

This narrative and approach to EI is not an academic exercise, but it’s about seeking plausible solutions to grow leadership capabilities in some cases, viewed as an innovative approach to help lead these complex activities.

Leverage EI as an approach to change assumptions in leaders, because change is coming, no matter the size or complexity of your organization. Do things that provoke thought, challenge the status quo, and establish a leadership environment of growth by harnessing the power of EI. Agility and the ability to change and transform quickly are strategic business drivers that can’t be ignored.

Positioning and making EI a part of leadership DNA could be for some organizations a real organizational imperative. Tomorrow is already here and the best-prepared leaders are those leading in the future. So dare to be bold and make EI a part of your organization’s leadership development skills, it could well be the differentiator you need.

Originally published at medium.com