How to become emotionally intelligent leaders

How to become emotionally intelligent leaders

In our last blog we introduced the idea of emotional intelligence (EQ) being as important if not more important than cognitive intelligence (IQ) when leading organisations and teams through high change and ambiguity.

Low emotional intelligence can show up in many ways. Frequent examples we are asked to help with include

  • Frustration that people aren’t taking ownership for a new strategy
  • Lengthy debate about ideas rather than deciding and acting
  • Emotional outbursts and behaviour that others find intimidating

And here’s the good news

The best news is that emotional intelligence can be developed throughout life, unlike IQ, which is deemed to be near enough pre-destined from birth or even earlier. Moreover, emotional intelligence has many aspects to it so whilst one person may struggle with certain areas, they will have other areas that come more naturally – strengths to build on.

Raising awareness of our motivations, behaviours and impact is the first step towards learning more flexible and successful approaches to leadership. When leaders have progressed successfully using their thinking rather than feeling abilities, it can feel uncomfortable to look at ourselves and challenge habits that have got us this far.

This is where individual or team coaching for leaders can really have an impact.

So how do you develop EQ?

Whether working with teams or with individuals, focusing on a few key shifts over a defined period of time helps enormously. Shifts we’re often asked to support include:

Individual coaching conversations use powerful questions to raise awareness and get under the skin of what’s really going on for a leader in a safe, confidential space. This brings to the surface inherent strengths to build on and blind spots that need to be worked around.

When working with a leadership team we explore how this plays out within the group and work with both the team as a whole and with each individual, to bring about focused shifts in behaviour that can impact the whole organisations.

Here are some client examples we’ve worked with recently: 

What do our clients say?

Pecan have been essential in our development through what has been a turbulent and challenging time, enabling us to recognise and address unhelpful approaches and behaviours and move as a team into a much higher level of performance. This was achieved in a positive and supportive manner with […] their expertise and insight enabling us to tackle tricky issues in a safe environment.” 

University Faculty Executive Team

A Programme Director in an engineering company

The outcomes included:

Finding their own authentic way of asserting more influence, earlier in relationships

  • Overcoming obstacles – making things happen without involvement of the COO
  • Empowering their teams to deliver
  • Maintaining well-being – spotting the danger signs when ‘the water is starting to boil’

Our client’s level of influence, self-confidence and credibility increased significantly. They were promoted to Group Strategy Director and is now leading a multi-million-pound partnership with the government and other third parties.

For more information contact us on 01280 824 508.

Feature Image: Andrew Seaman,

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