Recently, several people told me that they just want to hire someone who listens to them. I understand the importance of being heard. Managers and business leaders are always busy. Having someone listen to them instead of constantly challenging their decisions makes management easier.
However, mindless compliance itself is detrimental to effective, sustainable leadership. If a leader solely prioritizes the quality of obedience in his team, he will be surrounded by “yes men”, and this creates an environment of passive actors. History tells us this is a very dangerous phenomenon. For example, in Imperial China, when an emperor was surrounded by people who were too fearful to actively participate in leadership, his dynasty did not last long. How can a leader balance this desire to be heard and the necessity of cultivating a dynamic, participatory work environment?
The article “Building the Emotional Intelligence of the Group” says, “Study after study has shown that teams are more creative and productive when they can achieve high levels of participation, cooperation, and collaboration among members.”
Three conditions need to be present to create this kind of interactive behavior. They are “mutual trust among members, a sense of group identity (a feeling among members that they belong to a unique and worthwhile group, and a sense of group efficacy (the belief that the team can perform well and the group members are more effective working together than apart).”
Therefore, developing emotional intelligence is an important part of leadership development. A high EI leader builds the emotional intelligence of a team, and thereby is able to reap the advantages of an empowering work environment.
Leadership coaches or consultants, you might want to participate this excellent workshop: Building Emotionally Intelligent Teams.