What? Can this possibly be true? According to a recent article in Inc. Magazine, it is. An extensive research study done by TalentSmart measured leaders’ Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and correlated that to company performance. Chinese leaders scored almost 15 points on average higher than their American counterparts on two critical factors, self-management and relationship management. These two measures are highly predictive to how well one can lead and create results.
As the author mentions, it shouldn’t be a surprise as Chinese culture has deep roots in managing oneself and cultivating relationships, unlike a lot of American leaders who only pay lip service to both of these behaviors. The fascinating piece about this information is that Chinese leaders are becoming what we used to say we were! And doing it quite successfully.
The important issue here is that it’s not about the fact that they are currently better or “higher” EQ than our leaders, it’s about what we can learn from this insight. At CEO Global Network we take Emotional Intelligence very seriously and all of our Group Leaders are screened with a specific EQ tool and all members are invited to participate and use the tool as well. John Wilson, our CEO and Founder, lists it as one of the Seven Imperatives that makes a great Leader. The reason we do this is because it’s a critical piece of successful leadership, (as the Chinese have demonstrated).
Leaders who can self-manage, and are consistent in their leadership style, are rated as “more successful,” report higher satisfaction and are more in tune to who they are and consequently, interested in “self-assessing” and improving. Always evaluating and determining how they could have done it differently or better or if in fact it was just right. Relationship management is key to being a successful leader because if you can’t get work done through others, you can’t lead. Employees are more likely to report satisfaction in their job situation when they have a good relationship with their boss. They will also be more productive as a result, which is good for everyone, including the bottom line of the company.
So why do we shy away from this “squishy” side of leadership? We tend to downplay it as not as important as a CV, who you know, or where you went to school. It’s in fact more important as a predictor of high performance teams than anything else. Does the leader have the capacity to lead? Can they learn? These are things you want to know before hiring a leader or going to work for one. EQ is anything but “squishy,” it’s hard hitting information about oneself that you can actually work with and use for development. It’s a window into what makes a person tick. Understanding it is a crucial key to having productive and happy work environments with good leaders.