Leaders Transform Healthcare Using Emotional Intelligence
Are you a physician executive or emerging leader within your organization? Have you achieved the results you expected? Or have you been stumped at several junctures by the apparent lack of “understanding” or ‘buy-in” from clinicians—buy-in that you thought would be a matter of course?
Or perhaps you have achieved results, but only by resorting to “doing it all” yourself because you were unable to delegate effectively or enroll others in your mission.
If you’ve experienced any of these challenges it’s time to take inventory of your skills and critically evaluate whether you are heavy on logic and rational expertise, but light on relationship management and emotional intelligence.
The concept of Emotional Intelligence was popularized a few years ago by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis when they published their findings that supported what perhaps many of us had intuitively discovered: how you handle yourself, your moods, and your words has a significant impact on your ability to influence others.
Emotional Intelligence is not too far from the old saying: “You can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.” But what can be distilled into a whimsical pearl is not quite as easily developed or practiced in real life.
According to Goleman et al, the four components of emotional intelligence are:
- Social awareness
- Relationship management
Self-awareness is knowing yourself: your strengths, weakness, blind spots. It’ also knowing HOW you are affecting others with your own moods.
Self-management goes the next step and implies that you are not only aware of your emotions and moods, but you can control your communication. For example, you may feel angry because a colleague or subordinate did not meet a performance metric. However, if you have highly developed emotional intelligence, you will not EXPRESS your anger. Rather, you’ll employ more creative communication, knowing that your team will perform more effectively in the ABSENCE of anger.
Social awareness is having your finger on the pulse of those around you and the organization. It is knowing the strengths, weaknesses and motivational levers of a subordinate or a supervisor, and managing them accordingly. This is not “manipulation” but an honest acknowledgement that team members are unique and have different drivers for success.
Relationship management pulls together the keen awareness of self and others and begins to build bridges through “advanced communication.” Unfortunately the way most leaders and managers communicate now is far from advanced. As you develop skills in relationship management you will be careful to craft your speech (both oral and written) in all forums in such a way that you are not polluting the dialogue with your emotions-run-amok, nor with insensitive directives and critiques that only serve to undermine performance.
If you aspire to lead, manage and contribute as a physician executive or business person, Emotional Intelligence concepts and skills are essential to develop early and develop well.
When I coach executives and physicians, we spend a lot of time on advanced communication and self-awareness. Most of them are amazed at how even subtle shifts in mood, attitude and communication have significant positive impact in how they can influence and achieve results.
I invite all leaders to invest time in developing this critical leadership competency. Recommended reading is “Primal Leadership” by Goleman et al.