Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Primal Leadership and the Role of Listening in Emotional Intelligence, Part II

One of my colleagues, Richard Desmarias, brought this book to my attention. Below is a high level review of the book as foudn on http://www.businesslistening.com/primal-leadership-2.php.

I am always interested in finding new ways to develop my professional craft.


Susan Corcoran


Domains of Emotional Intelligence and Related Leadership Competencies

Primal Leadership authors Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee identify four emotional intelligence "domains" which bridge 18 leadership "competencies," the majority of which depend upon skills in listening to one's self and to others.

Domain 1, Self Awareness includes the competencies of emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence.

Domain 2, Self-Management includes the competencies of emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement, initiative, and optimism.

Mastery of domains one and two, which the authors describe as personal competence, depends heavily upon listening to one's self, becoming aware of one's emotional state, values, standards, and impact upon others. Self-examination and gathering feedback about oneself through coaching and 360 reviews assist with the development of personal competence.

Domain 3, Social Awareness includes empathy, organizational awareness, and service.

Domain 4, Relationship Management includes inspirational leadership, influence, developing others, being a catalyst for change, conflict management, and teamwork/collaboration.

Mastery of domains three and four, which the authors describe as social competence, flows from empathic listening and resonating to others' thinking to develop one's thoughts and actions, which enables a leader to provide both unified and individual senses of direction for his or her group. Empathic listening is a skill that requires a basic level of understanding along with regular practice.

Five Steps Towards Learning Leadership Skills.
Finally, the authors set forth a five-step process for learning better leadership skills. These steps also focus primarily on listening skills, once again requiring both listening to oneself and to others (including through self-awareness, empathic listening, 360 feedback, and coaching).

Step one is identifying one's ideal self, which is to say, uncovering and listening to one's core values and beliefs to draw a picture of the person one aspires to be. What's important to me? What am I passionate about? What does my "gut" say to me?

Step two is identifying the real self, which is to say, discovering how one appears to others, regardless of how one sees one's self. (For the uninitiated: people who have tried this sometimes find the two views startlingly different.) This is done by listening to one's self (self awareness) and others (empathy) to gauge the effect one is having, as well as through coaching and 360 feedback from peers, subordinates, supervisors, customers, and others.

Comparing one's ideal self to one's real self is a powerful tool because it helps identify strengths (where one is as capable in areas as one expected to be) and gaps (where one isn't as effective as one desires to be). For example, a manager might think that he is strong in both listening and in follow-through, while the people the manager works with might find him strong in listening but desire improvement in his follow-through.

Step three is to make a plan to build on strengths and reduce gaps. One obviously needn't be strong in every area--realistically, no one is--but one may choose to improve in respects that one considers important.

Step four is to experiment deliberately with and practice new skills to bring about change according to one's step three plan.

Step five--which the authors note should take place concurrently with steps one through four--is to develop trusting, encouraging relationships that provide support during the learning process.

In summary, the theories set forth in Primal Leadership suggest that advanced listening techniques are essential to learning to become, and being, an effective leader.

Authors: Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee.
Title: Primal Leadership (Harvard Business School Press, 2002)
Can be found at most book sellers

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