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The Art and Science of Leadership

The Art and Science of Leadership

Leadership is a science and an art. To be a great leader, one needs to incorporate both dimensions.

George Ambler said “The science of leadership concerns the observations, study and classification of leadership practices, resulting in a reliable explanation of what makes leaders effective”. Styles, traits, behaviours, and contingencies are topics in the scientific model of leadership, where each explanatory approach is carefully designed and tested. The scientific approach then attempts to define leadership and report on its effectiveness.

The art of leading is not an issue of evidence, it is an issue of awareness and choice.

Artful leaders first need to explore and become aware of what their personal and organizational values are. Then, they need to make the choice of whether they want to connect and live by their values, and if so, lead accordingly.

Exploring leadership as an art, leaders are asked to look inwards, perhaps at an unconscious level, and on occasion, make decisions based on their intuition or “gut feelings.” Times have changed, and leaders are moving at a much faster pace, and are confronted with issues more complex and diverse than ever. Artful leaders need to blend their rational thinking with their intuitive skills to make important decisions.

The art of leadership is about learning and gaining different perspectives.  Leaders need to be aware of how to trigger their own insights, in addition to triggering those of their team. Profound personal and team learning can occur when leaders choose to incorporate different techniques such as questioning, storytelling, humour, and reflection.

Julian Barling, author of The Science of Leadership discusses how often organizations make mistakes in regards to leadership as they are always looking at the big picture, and missing the fact that what really inspires employees is the small behaviours their leaders display. Leaders who are able to lead their teams to success are the ones who have awareness of how their leadership style impacts those around them.

Understanding how the concepts of values, intuition, and insight are used in leadership as an art and sciencethrough awareness and making more artful choices, a leader can improve their effectiveness.

To learn more about leading with emotional intelligence and how it impacts your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

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Leading With Your Creativity

Leading With Your Creativity

Today’s most famous leaders are innovative, creative, and think outside the box.

We look at someone like Steve Jobs, for example, the most creative leader of all time. Jobs thought of a unique and crazy idea that had never been thought of before, and even though some may have said his idea was absolutely insane, he went ahead with it anyway.  During this day and age, leaders need to be more innovative than ever.

So how do you become a creative leader? How do you know if your crazy idea is more than just a crazy idea?

The answer is… you don’t. Being a great creative leader means following your heart and doing what makes sense to you. If you believe something will be successful, then work at it until it is. The road to success will never be perfect, you will fail and you will succeed, but that’s just a part of life.

Jim Carrey one of the most eccentric actors of all time recently told a story about his father, and this story can teach all of us a very valuable lesson. Carrey talked about his father and how he always wanted to be a comedian but settled for a “safe” job as an accountant. Carrey’s father didn’t love his accounting job, but it was a stable job that put food on the table so he stuck with it. When Carrey was twelve, his father was let go from his “safe” job, and the whole family had to do everything they could to survive. At the end of Carrey’s speech he says, “I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

In order to be a creative leader, you don’t have to be the best; you just have to be willing to go first. You have to be willing to take a chance on your idea and your vision. Once you believe in your idea and your vision, the next step is to get others to believe in it as well. These people are your followers, and they will do wonders for you. Your followers are the ones that are going to make your crazy idea a reality.

Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” In order to be a creative leader, you must see your vision and be passionate about it. Many people will tell you that it won’t work, but all you need is a few people and yourself to believe it will.  

Do you need help in leading with creativity? Book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can. 

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Becoming a Transformational Leader

Becoming a Transformational Leader

The concept of transformational leadership has been a growing trend in business ever since it was first proposed by leadership expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author James MacGregor Burns in 1978. He said that transformational leadership occurs when leaders and followers help each other reach higher levels of morality and motivation. Over the years, this model has been expanded and adapted, to the point where it is one of the most well known and popular theories in the field of leadership. As the name implies, this model has the potential to not only fundamentally change organizations, but change the lives of the people within them.

 

What is transformational leadership?

Transformational leadership consists of 4 main components:

1. Idealized Influence

The leader is a charismatic role model that followers look up to and admire because they practice what they preach.

2. Inspirational Motivation

The leader has a clear vision and effectively communicates it to inspire and motivate their followers.

3. Individualized Consideration

The leader has a personalized approach, taking the time to listen to each and every member of the team, and genuinely cares about their well-being.

4. Intellectual Stimulation

The leader challenges the status quo and encourages creativity and innovation, giving team members space and freedom to do what they do best.

With regards to components 1 and 2, the leader’s charisma and personality are critical elements that affect a person’s willingness to follow, and while some leaders seem to be blessed with a natural charisma that makes them almost instantly likeable, don’t lose hope if it doesn’t come as easy for you. Just remember that how you interact and relate to people are skills, and like any skill, it too can be learned and improved.

 

Learning Leadership

A clear vision is a must, and as a leader, you need to be able to recognize when change is needed and be willing to lead it… while at the same time being open to ideas. Transformational leaders are often more egalitarian, and make themselves available for followers to come directly to them with their thoughts and ideas, skipping the hierarchical chain of command that can needlessly slow down the process. This also helps to build a sense of trust and belonging to the leader and team are both working towards a cause, a clear vision, in a cooperative effort.

The role of transformational leadership is to help gain autonomy and freedom to fully explore ideas. Therefore, transformational leaders believe in the power of the people, and make their people’s success the team’s success, and vice versa, to inspire and motivate them to reach their full potential. A major factor in the success of this leadership style is it believes that given the autonomy and freedom to fully explore their ideas, people can often thrive. Sometimes rules and step-by-step processes, although beneficial in the sense that they provide a framework, can be the anathema of creativity and innovation because of their limiting nature.

Now, you may be asking yourself if you are a transformational leader. Here is a quick test developed by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D (2009) that you can use to assess your transformational leadership traits:

  1. I would never require a follower to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.
  2. I have clear goals for my team.
  3. I find it comes naturally to inspire others.
  4. I celebrate the talents and successes of my followers.
  5. I am attentive when it comes to the personal needs of my followers.
  6. I challenge my followers to get out of their comfort zones.
  7. I believe that teamwork is the way to success.
  8. I encourage my followers to question their most basic way of thinking.
  9. Followers have told me that my enthusiasm and positive energy are infectious.

Strong transformational leaders would agree with all of these statements, but even if you don’t, do not worry. Instead, use this test as a way to get inside the perspective of a transformational leader, to see how they think, and before you know it, you’ll soon be walking in those shoes.

Interested in learning more about transformational leadership? Carolyn Stern and the EI Experience team invite you to transform on one of their training courses.

To learn more about transformational leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help becoming a transformational leader, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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Unleashing Your Creativity With EI

Unleashing Your Creativity With EI

What is creative tension and how does it relate to creativity? MIT professor, Peter Senge, defines “creative tension” as the gap between the vision of the future – what could be, and the current reality – what is. If there were no gap, there would be no need for any action to move towards the vision. We would sit still and idle.

Ideation often starts with the tension in the mind–which, in-turn, can be the motivation or catalyst for acting on and/or achieving the stated vision. When leveraged, this (creative) tension can be used to support individuals to seek resolution, move forward, and explore potential to ultimately create innovative products or services that will soon revolutionize our world.

Every company has a storehouse of creativity, but only truly future-forward thinking organizations know how to effectively leverage and support the people that collectively comprise this creative asset.  Those special companies know how to:

  • Identify and leverage their high potential, change-making employees and their ideas
  • Ignite a spark within those key players so they are acting out of commitment and not simply out of compliance,
  • Build inclusive practices that fully engage diversity and lead to more collaboration and innovative designs, and
  • Foster a culture of authenticity, open-minded and courageous exploration, and relentless ingenuity.

The truly exceptional companies are the ones that have the ability to simultaneously attract, engage and motivate two unique types of individuals:

  1. The visionaries, dreamers, and game-changing innovators, who are not afraid to fail, and are totally infatuated by their vision of change – to find missing holes in society, untapped opportunities and/or areas that are not functioning effectively in the world
  1. The analysts, examiners, and relentless realists, who are not afraid to take a good honest look in the mirror and “get real”, and talk honestly and openly about the ways we limit and deceive ourselves from seeing what is.

It is only these extraordinary leaders that understand that you need both the power of the vision and the power of the truth to create the tension. No tension–no motivation to pull us forward. Motivation is about getting people to do what needs to be done because they want to do it. People always perform better when they’re truly dedicated and devoted to the cause.

A lack of motivation can keep us from committing to working harder and smarter, in the workplace, and in life. It keeps us stuck and prevents us from achieving what matters to us most. If there is no motivation, there is no movement.

Being able to have both personality types – the visionaries and the realists– working in lock-step is key to innovative success.  So, how do you connect with both types of risk takers, and tap into each of their unique abilities? How do we teach people to be mindful, authentic, and courageous? How do we create masterful marketers who can express and dramatize the juxtaposition of where you want to be when compared with where you are (creative tension)? And how do we connect with the heart and awaken the passion in others to move forward? This is done through developing the skills of leading with emotional intelligence.

Great leaders are able to energize and motivate their followers, while also being able to effectively communicate their vision to everyone. They are able to create an emotional connection, even in this era of electronic connectivity, and this is why a leader who understands the importance of emotional intelligence will often have a considerable advantage when communicating and interacting with others, virtually or otherwise.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is about awareness, expression, connection and influence. Creating an emotional bond with the entire person is the key to all business successes – increased employee engagement, richer collaboration, revolutionary innovation, stronger customer loyalty, and optimally, impressive bottom-line results. Emotional intelligence is, quite simply, a work of heart.

Most senior people typically possess superior technical abilities; however, they often lack the skills necessary to get the best from their teams. Therefore, it is extremely important to focus on the skills of working with others to increase the effectiveness of the leaders inside the organization.

In summary, whatever your current organizational challenge is, the answer lies in emotional intelligence. When people throw their hearts into their work, milestones are met, results are surpassed, and employees are engaged. Therefore, it is extremely important for leaders to show their employees how much they care, and teach them to connect with, and lead from, their hearts. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

As a leader, you need to provide the time and space for the whole company to “get read” with itself, and take a good honest look in the mirror in a safe environment.

Collaboratively, you and your team should come together and discuss what’s really going on, connect on a deeper, more authentic level, and search for unified, forward-thinking solutions to your organization’s challenges.

Being aware of your emotions and those of others, and learning to lead with emotional intelligence are skills that can be taught. Emotional Intelligence training is truly the best investment your organization will ever make.

To get started with emotional intelligence training, you can check out our 5-part EQ Leadership Training course. You can also book our Emotional Intelligence Workshop, available in live or virtual delivery.

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