As we approach International Women’s Day, March 8th, it makes me think about all of the very successful women there are in business. But according to recent research, women in business still tend to be at a distinct disadvantage when securing funding for their business (it does not say why or what funding), it also found that women tend to be charged higher rates of interest when taking out loans – an average of 2.9%, substantially more than the 1.9% average charged to men. Despite these statistics (statistics don’t always reflect the true picture) the UK now houses a thriving female entrepreneurial community.
According to Daniel Goleman the author of “The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights” one of the reasons why women are effective leaders is because on average they outdo men when it comes to sensing a person’s feelings in the moment and more attuned to Emotional Intelligence (the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions).
Psychology Today recently featured Meg Whitman, former CEO of ebay and current CEO of HP for leading with emotional intelligence. During her eight years with ebay it was the fastest growing company in history. In her book The Power of Many, she writes: “I believe that being willing and able to actively listen is a vital skill for any leader. Not only is listening the right thing to, an antidote to arrogance, it also leads to all sorts of competitive advantages.”
Use your Emotional Intelligence to develop “perspective” – patterns of recognition combined with experience – within your company. (Doctors do it all the time by building up case histories and finding patterns of symptoms.) People without perspective see the world from their own limited viewpoint and keep pushing that viewpoint. When you have perspective, you can step outside your own worldview and acknowledge other perspectives – your customers’, your colleagues’, your direct reports’, and your boss’s.
It makes sense that today’s organizations will struggle to survive, much less thrive, if they are simply a collection of IQ skills – finance, statistics, information systems, product development, technology, manufacturing, delivery, marketing, etc.
IQ skills need to be balanced with elements of Emotional Intelligence – honesty, trust, integrity, intuition, imagination, resilience, purpose, commitment, influence, motivation, sensitivity, empathy, humour, courage, conscience and humility.
Use feedback from your heart, not just your head. It’s what ignites creative genius, keeps us honest with ourselves, shapes trusting relationships, provides an inner compass for our business lives and careers, guides us to unexpected possibilities, and may even save us or our company from disaster. As Emotional Intelligence is more and more frequently linked to success and profitability, it is gaining legitimacy – even among some of its sceptics.