Good moods stimulate good performances, but it doesn’t make sense for a leader to be happy as a blue jay at dawn if sales are taking or business is going under. The most effective leaders display moods and behaviors that match the situation at hand, with a healthy dose of optimism mixed in. They respect how other people are feeling – even if it is glum or defeated – but they also model what it looks like to move forward with hope and humor.
This kind of performance, which is called character, is for all intents and purposes the four components of emotional intelligence in action.
Self-awareness, perhaps the most important of the emotional intelligences competencies, is the ability to read your emotions. It allows people to know their assets and boundaries and feel sure about their self-worth. Resonant leaders use self-awareness to measure their own moods precisely, and they naturally know they are affecting others.
Self-management is the gift to control your emotions and act with sincerity and integrity in reliable and flexible ways. Resonant leaders don’t let their infrequent bad moods seize the day; they use self-management to leave it outside the office or to explain its source to people in a practical way, so they know where it’s coming from and how long it might last.
Social awareness includes the key capabilities of understanding and organizational instinct. Socially aware leaders do more than sense other people’s emotions, they show that they care. Further, they are professional at reading the currents of office politics. Thus, resonant leaders often strongly understand how their words and actions make others feel, and they are sensitive enough top change them when that impact is harmful.
Relationship management, the last of the emotional intelligence competencies, includes the abilities to talk openly and persuasively, disarm arguments, and create strong personal relationships. Resonant leaders use these skills to extend their passion and solve discrepancies, often with humor and kindness.
As successful as resonant leadership is, it is just as rare. Most people suffer through dissonant leaders whose toxic moods and disturbing behaviors wreck havoc before hopeful and realistic leader repairs the situation.
And of course, everyone knows of a rude and coercive boss who, by all appearances, symbolize the antithesis of emotional intelligence yet seems to reap business results.
In short, it’s all too easy for a cynic to argue against the value of leaders who control their moods by citing a “rough and tough” leader who achieved good business results despite his bad behavior. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, and that in some specific business cases, a boss resonates just fine. But in general, leaders who are jerks must reform or else their moods and actions will eventually catch up with them.
Photo by: Paulo Pampolin