Sustainable business success depends on three key leadership areas:
- The greater good. Leaders must influence others to join a cause greater than making a profit or creating good products or services. Employees need reasons to believe in the company and its leadership ideals. Leaders establish themselves as credible, trustworthy and unselfish – role models who are looking out for the group and individual performers. They ask others to join “us,” without sacrificing their “me.”
- Clear vision. Leaders must paint a convincing picture of the future that motivates and prepares people for what’s coming because continual change may be traumatic for employees.
- Cohesive culture. Leaders are expected to read a situation in emotional terms and proactively foster a climate of participation and collaboration. They should also devote time and energy to grooming talent, as well as recognizing and rewarding good work.
Each of these leadership roles requires emotional awareness and, most importantly, the ability to express appropriate feelings effectively. Clear ideals and beliefs are not good enough if leaders cannot connect on an emotional level with their teams.
Leaders must also learn how to express their own emotions. Years of education and training, with an emphasis on cognitive skills, may mean they’re far from adroit at managing their own feelings.
There may be a disconnect between what leaders say and what they actually communicate because most emotions are perceived nonverbally. Emotional astuteness requires an awareness of what one feels, verbalizes and conveys through nonverbal communication. Conversely, leaders must learn to read others’ emotions – individually and in groups – to ask the right questions and build trust.
Check back tomorrow for Part 3