A New Equation

“Exceptional people convert life’s setbacks into future successes.”  -Carol Dweck

The communities and world that we are living in is changing at a rapid rate.  Whizzing, whirling and accelerating around us at a blinding speed.  What was here today might very well be gone tomorrow.  What we trusted would always be around for us very often disappears in a blink of an eye.  It is endemic of today’s constantly advancing and evolving society.

And as case would be, no one is immune from this march to the future.  Change forces are affecting our businesses, social services, and educational institutions.  From behemoth organizations down to the very students in our classrooms…no one is shielded from this societal metamorphosis.  Change happens much like time, we can control how we use it, however we have no control to stop its advance.

And as we are aware of how change is affecting the landscape of our society…we must also be cognizant of the changes that are now required of modern leaders to serve and support our organizations.  To serve and support our people in a purposeful and effective manner.  Awareness that technology and social media has compressed our world and requires a level of leadership that can skillfully and transparently influence and lead under this microscope of attention.  It is as if the message in our side view mirror has changed, letting us know that now “things are farther apart than they appear.”

Yes, we are witnessing the slow decline, demise and extinction of positional leadership.  A rapidly changing society is requiring a new mindset and a whole different level of skill-sets from today’s leaders.  And while these skill-sets might not be “just out of the box” new, they are vital to leadership success in the 21st century.  It requires putting on a new lens to existing leadership principles.  It requires a new equation for modern leadership.

Yes, today’s leaders need…

“Growth Mindset”  +  “Emotional Intelligence”  =  “Growth M(EI)ndset

A growth m(EI)ndset, coupled with a strong level of emotional intelligence will be indispensable for leading in the 21st century.  Command and control and carrots and sticks will provide neither the impetus nor the influence to lead organizations in our modern times.  Extrinsic motivators have fallen to the wayside as people look for more meaningful ways to connect and matter.

People are looking to connect to something greater than themselves…beyond their current circumstances.  They are looking to tie themselves to a vision that stretches their imagination.  They are looking to be part of something significant.  Something that provides intrinsic value and meaning to their everyday experience and life.  And it will require leaders with a growth m(EI)ndset and high levels of emotional intelligence to create the level of influence and leadership necessary to provide this experience.

21st century leaders will need to equip themselves with the personal and social competence necessary to meet the demands of modern times and our gradually shrinking society and world.  Daniel Goleman and the authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 provide us these four branches or core-skills of emotional intelligence that will be necessary skill-sets for today’s leaders, which include;

Self-Awareness:  A skill-set that supports self-monitoring and understanding of your own emotions.  Being able to accurately identify and manage your emotions throughout the variety of situations that face modern day leaders is vital to being successful.

Self-Management:  A skill-set today’s leaders will find necessary in order to serve with self-control, transparency and initiative.  Leaders need to incorporate flexibility, along with the ability to adapt to a variety of situations.  It requires awareness of emotions, which creates the behaviors that allow you to lead yourself and others successfully and with influence.

Social Awareness:  An invaluable leadership skill-set is being able to read the emotions of others, at all levels of the organization…from the individual to the overall feeling tone of the organization.  And it requires empathy.  Unfortunately, leaders who are socially ‘unaware’ struggle creating relationships and true influence.

Relationship Awareness:  This is a leadership skill-set that will give mileage to your influence.  This is where a leader models the actions that enable trust to flourish.  It is showing those that you lead ‘that you for them’.  By creating the opportunities to invest and develop others, you also create the environment for teamwork and collaboration to evolve and grow.

And it all comes together when a leader incorporates the core-skill sets of emotional intelligence in conjunction with a “growth mindset.”  It is under a “growth mindset” that a leader recognizes the need to improve…to invest in those skill-sets that enhance their influence and effectiveness.  It starts by acknowledging that leaders are not born, rather, they are built, built on a foundation forged upon a strong work ethic.  In comparison, when a “fixed mindset” has burrowed in, the ability to self-reflect and monitor this process breaks down…impeding the ability to improve and grow the overall leadership skills and effectiveness.

And according to Carol Dweck, “a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports.  It enhances relationships.”

And most important as we look to enhance our leadership skill-set for the 21st century…a “growth mindset” and emotional intelligence can be learned, increased, strengthened and fine-tuned.  And equally important, Bradberry and Greaves, authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 add that “emotional intelligence dictates performance and has a massive impact on your success.  It has been found that 90% of all top performers have high EQs.”

So as you consider whether this is a new equation for leadership, I will leave you with these words from Carol Dweck…

“Becoming is better than being.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s