A tool for contemporary leadership success and organizational change ( 1)



The desire for organizational change and effective leadership in the 21st century is central to a successful organization and great performance. The ever increasing pressure on organizations and institutions to undergo change to survive and maintain their relevance cannot in the era of globalization be overemphasized. Consequently, leaders in the 21st century have enormous responsibility to successfully lead this change their organizations so much desires. Change which always involves emotions and the disruptions of comforts, creates a situation only emotionally intelligent leaders can effectively facilitate and ensure its contribution for increase moral, cooperation, teamwork, motivation and positive work environment to inadvertently lead to the satisfaction of great performance and resilient organizational culture. This article presents a highlight of the contributory role emotional intelligence plays leading to organizational change and leadership effectiveness.

Management Vs Leadership:

The concept of leadership practically presents an interesting area for passionate discussions and concern for knowledge acquisition. The understanding of leadership and the pursuit for leveraging on its tenets and principles to realize a fruitful adventure is very fundamental and essential. There are great concept of opinions and considerations that have sought to define clearly what leadership meant on one hand and management is on the other hand. The two concepts are different but have some semblance worthy of notice.

Leadership is a mindful exercise that ensures those who lead have clear sense of focus, clarity of thoughts, very creative and are compassionate. Leadership as an art needs to be learnt and perfected. Whiles successful leadership demands greater emotional intelligence skills and experience, management is considered a taught discipline with a less emphasis on building ones emotional capacity for performance. The application of strong managerial acumen with the right balance of strong emotional intelligent skills essentially promote leadership effectiveness. Leadership requires teamwork and collaboration, change management, communication, learning agility and judgement to accelerate performance. In part, the way a leader makes you feel can impact an employee’s engagement for productivity. The question that normally begs for answers is whether our functional capacities as individuals within the corporate setting qualify us as managers or leaders.

Leadership is a process where an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. By this definition it’s common to see that, leadership involves influence. Without influence leadership does not exist. Central to leadership is the ability of leaders to drive business performance through an interactive engagement and influence of the team and the discovery of talents for empowerment and support. Primarily, the drive for leadership excellence is the ability of leaders to emotionally handle themselves well and their relationships with others (team).

The ability to motivate and inspire others to take action is the distinguishing factor between a leader and a manager. Effective leaders can successfully influence up, down and across the organization, impacting business results by driving behavioral change. The drive to achieve results, the ability to take initiatives, skills in collaboration with teamwork, and the ability to lead the team are the primordial function of leadership which needs greater emotional competencies if leadership wants to succeed and make remarkable impacts in the lives of those it leads, build great teams and achieve results.

Management is more about administering the work and ensuring the day to day activities are getting done as they should. For any business to thrive and be successful, it needs both strong leaders and managers to get their team on board to work towards their vision for success. Therefore, for any organization to be successful, it needs management that can plan, organize and coordinate its staff, and leadership that inspires and motivate its people to perform to the best of their ability.

Functional Responsibilities of Management

It is a function of management to build effective teams through modeling and pathfinding. Managers ought to plan and decide effectively, communicate the vision of the organization, motivate its people, promote change and create effective interpersonal relationship among the people. These functions create a sense of importance, develop collective goals and ensures the team is inspired to meet scheduled project timelines and planned budgets. Management facilitates creative thinking, generates enthusiasm, motivate staff and resolve all conflicts among its subordinates. These, all managers are expected to embrace and work for, to harness the greater potential of satisfying the business imperatives to become successful.

Levels of Leadership

Leadership operates at different levels of organizational engagements and management. It’s therefore important to take a critical look at leadership at Team, Operational and Strategic levels. At the level of functional team leadership, the leader ensures there’s effective team performance through the definition of team goals and the development of team structures to accomplish its mission. The success of the leader primarily in defining the team’s direction and organization, provide the impetus for the team to maximize progress, effectiveness, consistency, hence success.

Leadership at the operational level is much broader by function. It ensures an effective running of the organizational processes, the monitoring of performance, addressing complaints and the provision of adequate knowledge, authority and skills to employees for better understanding of their tasks and roles. Operational leaders see how individual elements of the organization fit together and work to create the larger outcome. Leadership at this level provides organizational stability and the creation of infrastructure that work to accomplish the needs of others in that organization. And at the strategic level of leadership?

This level presents the question as to whether leaders here have that exceptional abilities to see opportunities before their competitors do. Again, are comfortable in challenging their own and other’s assumptions? Can get a diverse group to buy into a common vision? Have the skills to determine and anticipate, challenge the status quo, give interpretations devoid of conflicting information, correctly decide even in the absence of full information and facts, make alignments and be the focal point of organizational learning? If the answers to these are in the affirmative, then the one is into strategic leadership. Strategic leadership sits at the apex of organizational decision making and direction. Strategic leaders define the overall vision and mission of the organization. They develop strategies, systems and structures to achieve the vision and mission.

Leading with Emotional Intelligence:

It’s very important therefore to understand the role Emotional Intelligence play in leadership success. Arguably, emotional intelligence is not the opposite of Intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head-it is the unique intersection of both. Researchers have classified intelligence into two broad categories namely; Intellectual (IQ) and Emotional (EI). Whereas Intelligent Quotient describes a number that shows the rating of a person’s intelligence, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand oneself and to empathize with others. Intelligent test (IQ) is found by dividing the mental age by actual age and multiply by 100. It is usually found in test for mental development including memory, reasoning, definitions, and numerical activities and recalling facts. Any test which is cognitive bias (Book learning, technical expertise, Intellect etc.) are classified intelligent test.

Emotional Intelligence on the other hand speaks to character, personality, social capabilities, soft skills, self-confidence and good communication skills one possess. It’s often said that, IQ gets one the interview but EQ gets one the job. Emotional intelligence defines the leader’s capacity to be aware of, to control, and to express these emotions. It enables the leader to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It is said that managers who have had strong impact on job satisfaction had high emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness. Training in emotional intelligence is a valuable asset in its own accord. In terms of personal development, high emotional intelligence can help individuals to recognize and control their emotions. This will consequently lead to enhanced happiness, motivation and satisfaction in life. Even within a professional context, the ability to manage one’s emotions and the emotions of others can translate into increased job performance and the building of productive and valuable relationships between clients and colleagues. As popularly put by Daniel Goleman, IQ and technical skills are important, but Emotional intelligence is the Sine Qua Non of leadership.

Dimensional Components of Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is an important skill set in leading, hence leaders identified to be effective have an appreciable level of this skill set. The ability of the leader to identify, understand, manage and use emotions is crucial for leadership success as earlier admitted. Moreover, to be emotionally intelligent as a leader is to possess the skill to accurately assess self and be confident, show empathy, demonstrate the will power to positively affect relationships whiles remaining optimistic and transparent. The emotionally intelligent leader is a source of inspiration for the team, very adaptable and goal oriented.

Leadership Strategies that Promote EI:

Leadership requires setting up goals and ensuring those objectives are met through a psychologically bonded team. The emotional skills of the leader plays significant role in managing the expectations set, motivating the team to achieve results. To do this, the leader manages his own emotions and how he/she deals with the responses of individual members of the team.

I must be noted that, no team gets anywhere without a carefully planned agenda or goal to pursue. Hence, the leader ensures that, the goal of the team is clearly defined. That notwithstanding, the leader’s capacity to turn those objectives into results lies in his ability to motivate the team by setting good examples to emulate. Obviously, the leader’s actions and inactions must also reflect all changes and efforts that seek to promote this common goal. And that can happen only with the leader with a demonstrable emotional intelligent skills.

In conclusion however, I opine that, the leader’s ability to be compassionate and connect with others is critical, both personally and professionally. Demonstrating empathy in the workplace-a key part of emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness.

Discovery….Thinking solutions, shaping visions.

Written By:

Frank Anim 


The writer  is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group. He is an Executive Director and the Lead Coach in Leadership Development and best Business Management practices for Discovery Leadership Masterclass



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9th July, 2021

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