LEADERSHIP REQUIRES EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Updated: Nov 1
In my previous blog I explored the relationship between organizational aesthetics and transformational leadership practices of successful academic leaders. A hallmark of aesthetic approaches to organizational leadership is emotional intelligence (EI). At its peak at the turn of the current century, EI leadership was hailed as embodying transformative powers, only to lose favor when studies found those powers sometimes failed at the most critical juncture of the change process: challenging the process and inspiring a shared vision.
In Leaders Have Good Sense(s), I emphasized the need for leaders to be self‐aware, a primary component of emotional intelligence. High levels of emotional intelligence has long proven to be a leadership and managerial characteristic that has positively effected teacher attitudes (leading with the heart). Among the greatest challenges facing educational organizations today is preparing leaders to lead in culturally diverse communities. It starts with selecting emotionally intelligent leaders.
Emotionally intelligent leaders are also culturally intelligent. Often leading with their senses. Particularly when all else fails.
The authenticity of a leader is paramount and supersedes all styles and approaches to leadership. Who you are as a person is who you are as a leader. As the stakes rise on the corporate ladder, the more “who you are” gets exposed. We’ve seen it over and over again, including the recent case of the Houston, Texas area superintendent who left a digital tattoo for the world to see. He lost his job. Most don’t. They’re just ineffective in creating transformational change (lasting and sustainable) because while practices may change (however temporarily), beliefs don't.
I study leaders. I study people. I watch closely as people reveal their true selves. I’m often amazed. I’m sometimes disappointed. But I’m never surprised at how the parallel paths of leadership style and emotional intelligence beautifully compliment one another. Our primary responsibility as governing members of a school district is to select the right people for the right job. Their jobs in turn are to do the same, and on and on it goes throughout an organization. After all, the system is only as strong as its parts. All of them. Weak parts = Weak system. Weak system = Weak outcomes. Weak outcomes = ? Can you live with ? I can’t.