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Understanding human behavior is critical to organizations. An organization can be defined as a collection of people who work together to achieve a goal or a variety of goals. These people do not work on isolation within the organization. They interact with each other and with third parties (suppliers, customers, competitors, government officials, etc.) in a variety of ways. Therefore, a leader who understands how and why people behave the way they do, he can identify problems, determine the best ways to correct them and establish whether the changes would make a difference towards improvement.
Prior to understanding other peoples’ behavior or attempting to influence others’ behavior, a leader must be able to perform a self-assessment in order to understand and subsequently manage his emotions. Unless leaders understand the criticality of human behavior to the organization and the need for self-evaluation/self-assessment, their efforts to influence others will never be achieved.
As introduced by Goleman (Daniel Goleman, 2000), the ability to recognize, then to understand and finally to manage your emotions is called “Emotional Quotient” (EQ). Coleman asserted that a high EQ had a positive impact on one’s relationship. The better you are at understanding your own emotions, the more likely you are to be adept at picking up on the feelings of others. Knowing how others feel can be a valuable skill within organizational interactions (meetings, presentations, day-day cooperation, etc.) and beneficial to the organization.
For example, during a meeting a CEO is furious about an issue and he shows it by shouting, the rest of the participants may hesitate to express their ideas or thoughts. On the other hand if the CEO identifies and controls his emotional situation and understands that his anger if expressed will cause the rest of the participants to become reluctant on expressing themselves, a fruitful conversation may go on and ideas on how to overcome the issue may arise.
On an interpersonal level, self-awareness can net you the trust of others and increase your credibility, both of which will increase your leadership effectiveness. On an organizational level, the benefits are even greater. When you acknowledge your emotional status and you manage your reactions you’re modeling that in your organization even negative experiences are dealt with calmness on purely professional way that leads to corrective actions. These are all characteristics of an organization that is constantly learning and springboards to innovation and agility — two hallmarks of high performing organizations.
As claimed by Goleman (Daniel Goleman, 2000) leaders use six leadership styles (coercive, authoritative, affiliate, democratic, pacesetting and coaching), each springing from different components of emotional quotient. Only four of these styles have a positive effect on climate and results. As concluded by Coleman (Daniel Goleman, 2000), leaders need to implement many styles depending on the situation they have to deal with. How would a leader be able to intentionally apply a specific style? Different situations require different leadership styles. A leader who is characterized by self-awareness is able to identify his emotional status, manage his emotions and perform under a different, more beneficial, leadership style.
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