A Reflection On Leadership
- November 28, 2019
- Posted by: Yiannis Zarkadis
- Category: Leadership
There is a great deal of debate these days about what kind of Leadership we need in front of the Change that already happens, namely the 4th Industrial Revolution and Climate change.
Everyone agrees that we need a new model, with Emotional Intelligence be at the centre. But what is it that creates this need? What is the cause? If we are able to answer this question, probably we will be more willing to embrace the change.
And if emotional intelligence is at the centre, what are the other key characteristics a leader needs today? And is it really so hard to adapt to this new way of behaving, or can we do it easily overnight?
- What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence (or Empathy) is the ability of a person, of the leader in our case, to be aware of the feelings of people around him (fellow workers, customers, clients, third parties, citizens, etc.), to understand them and show it like that in an authentic way – and finally to take them into account in resolving the situation.
Sometimes we confuse this behaviour with “soft” or a kind of weak leadership. But this is not the case. Strong leadership means bold solutions. To be able to resolve complex problems, a leader has to know the full picture and understand all key parameters, including the emotions of people around him. This ability is becoming much more important than in the past nowadays. Below we explain Why.
- Why emotional intelligence and “soft skills” are so important today? What is the cause?
They are important for a number of reasons.
- Millennials and generation Z.
Millennials, the largest age group that has ever appeared on the planet, as well as the new Z-generation, are developing their behaviours, their contacts and networks, their communication and sometimes even their work-life relation through social media and in front of a screen, either it is a mobile device, tablet, or desktop.
At the same time, digital and AI jobs are booming everywhere.
The upcoming benefits of these trends for humanity are great. But there are some side effects which we need to handle. Due to this new way of living and working, there is a lack of competence in areas like, integrity, communication, motivation, teamwork, empowerment, passion, adaptability, empathy etc. And we have to address this gap now at the early stages of the new world.
2. dt response.
The new technology makes life run faster than ever before. Response is impulsive, especially when it comes to millennials and Gen-Z. Enormous availability of info just with one click, seamless connectivity at the speed of thought, images override texts, texts are done short, experiences change very fast … and a large part of it is happening at a distance without physical presence.
If so, then human touch loses ground and we need to address this.
3. The economic crisis.
In the last decade the economic crisis has hit many countries in the world. And the consequences are many. One of the things that has not been much discussed is the downgrade of jobs in these countries. In addition, it is difficult for young people to find a good job and slow to enter the labor market.
This situation in these countries with low – level jobs and low personal development prospects, adds further to the gap we discuss in this article.
4. AI and robots
In the very near future much of today’s works will be done by algorithms and robots. This is already done. A large part of the workforce will have to redefine its role, addressing different needs from those of today. More tailor – made, personal and human – centric than today. Those that algorithms and robots will not be able to do, at least for the foreseeable future.
This means that a new set of skills is needed.
- If Emotional Intelligence is at the centre, what are the other skills a leader needs today? And is it easy or not to get them?
As we said before, soft skills are becoming much more important than ever before. It is worth mentioning, Integrity, Honesty, Accountability, Communication, Teamwork, Care, Empowerment, Problem Solving, Decisiveness, Passion, Business Sense, Creativity and Agility and Adaptability. If we had to choose one of them to accompany Emotional Intelligence in terms of importance, that would be definitely the last one, namely Adaptability. But why?
“ It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change “, Charles Darwin said. This is why.
As to wether it is easy or not for a leader to acquire these soft skills, usually there is a misunderstanding. Because for many “soft” means “easy”. Many think that they can get them overnight. It is just a matter of some good training and that’s all. But this is not the case. In contrary, it is hard to get these skills. At least at an acceptable level. And it is hard to get them mainly for two reasons:
- In the last decades the dominant leadership model was exactly on the opposite site, mainly focused on hard skills. This means that a change in mindset must take place. And we know that always this happens hard.
- The ability to accept, embrace and adapt to Change, integrity, care and other skills relate to Attitude. And we know that it takes long to develop the right attitude, especially if the leader is in the middle of his work-life cycle.
- Key Takeaway
In front of the change that happens, a different Leadership models is required. In this new model, we have to find a new balance between “soft skills” and “hard skills”. For a number of reasons, most of the jobs to be done are towards the development of “soft skills”, as they become even more important than before in the immediate future.
Emotional Intelligente is at the centre of this new model.
- What other ideas or thoughts can you add? Please leave a reply.