Take-aways from D. Goleman’s presentation in Lausanne

Balloons in Sky

Yesterday I had the chance to attend Daniel Goleman’s presentation at the IMD in Lausanne. The room was full and people were attentively listening to what was entitled: “How can Global Leaders focus for High Performance”. I had never seen Goleman live before and I must say that it was a very interesting and enriching conference!

Firstly, did you know for example that when somebody says something that hurts you or when you simply receive an email that annoys you, your full bodily reaction is activated (stress hormones being released, muscles ready to run etc.) exactly as if you were fleeing from a predator like in ancient times? The simple thought of a negative event can in fact already trigger that reaction…

Secondly, were you aware that there are three different kinds of empathy[1]?

  1. Cognitive Empathy (understanding the mental models of people)
  2. Emotional Empathy (coming from the mirror neurons, feeling physically what another person is feeling)
  3. Empathic Concern (you not only feel with the person and understand her/him but you are also inclined to help)

Thirdly, also interesting, were Goleman’s explanations around what differentiates a top leader from a “mainstream” one. Not astonishingly, three areas of focus[2] are needed:

  1. Inner Focus (understand, manage and lead yourself)
  2. Focus on other people (i.e. empathy, to be able to understand what other people are thinking, feeling, how to communicate with others etc.)
  3. Focus on other systems (the surrounding parameters, the forces that impact an organization)

Once all three are combined, leaders excel in their tasks and are also perceived by peers and employees to be thriving.

And finally, to my surprise, Goleman even brought a simple mindfulness exercise to the audience, who sat in silence for a while, listening to his voice giving the instructions. What an inspiring moment!

Mindfulness according to him is “fitness for the brain”, training attention and focus. The more it is done, the more the brain changes the way it operates and reacts to stimuli and the better one will also be able to “listen” to the info coming from the gut (the somatic markers).

Bringing mindfulness into the workplace using different formats and tools to deal with difference, furthering not only internal communications, innovation and creativity but also self-awareness and efficiency in teams is what I am focusing on as a consultant/coach/trainer. If you are interested in learning more, I would be very pleased to hear from you!

And to end with a really nice old eskimo proverb that my mindfulness teacher brought to my attention yesterday and that I found back here:

Yesterday is ashes; tomorrow is wood. Only today does the fire burn brightly

Have a great weekend,

[1] Compare also with this article : http://www.danielgoleman.info/three-kinds-of-empathy-cognitive-emotional-compassionate/

[2] Compare also with D. Goleman’s post: http://blog.haygroup.com/the-three-kinds-of-focus-every-leader-needs/

Emotional Intelligence ~ 20 Years On

A very good and comprehensive article on Emotional Intelligence (EI). Thank you Louise!

Emotional Intelligence applied to Leadership

Currently I am reading a very interesting book from Daniel Goleman on Leadership and the “Power of Emotional Intelligence”. Dr. Goleman specializes in psychology and brain sciences and thus applies the concepts of mindfulness to leadership, i.e. what it takes to become an outstanding leader. Most interestingly, he found out that it is not the IQ or technical skills that matter at the highest level, but rather the “Emotional Intelligence” (EI) abilities.

Dr. Goleman proposes a so-called “competency-framework” to describe how the fundamentals of EI translate into job success; two of these components are related to dealing with one self. Two others concern the ability to manage other people as well as relationships with others.

Daniel Goleman: "The competency Framework"  - Emotional Intelligence

From D. Goleman: “Leadership – The power of Emotional Intelligence, Selected writings”. 2011 Northampton MA, page 14.

  • Self-Awareness: Having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives. People who are self-aware, are in fact honest with themselves and with others. They know what they can do and what they cannot as well as how their feelings and emotions affect themselves and others around them.
  • Self-Management: This actually means that although we all have feelings, impulses and emotions, some of us have found ways to control these and channel them in useful ways, in order to bring out our inner core and creativity (as Personal Leadership would put it).
  • Social Awareness: Nowadays, team leaders must be able to sense and understand the viewpoints of everyone around the (virtual) table. Cross-cultural dialogue and understanding is even more important now than before as our worlds become more and more globalized. Being able to put yourself into the shoes of somebody else to understand how he/she feels and at a larger scale, reading the organizational decision networks and currents are absolutely a must.
  • Relationship Management: Competent people here work following the assumption that nothing important gets done alone. They are effective in managing relationships, putting relevant networks in place that they can draw upon even if only at a later stage. All other components play into this last one as “no leader is an island” according to Dr. Goleman.

What does this mean for us? Well, it shows again very nicely how being ‘mindful’ and in line with yourself, understanding your own feelings/emotions and being able to interpret them affects others in a positive and effective way. Leading yourself adequately and being aware of your own constraints, culture, worldviews and abilities plus being willing to learn and move forward on the path of “emotional intelligence” will certainly have a major impact on how you will lead others.

Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me for more info/advice, Jenny

Further reading: