Remember those mood rings you had as a kid? The gaudy ones that “magically” changed colour depending on the mood you were in?
Maybe you even gave one to your secret crush hoping it would change to the colour representing love when you were around – indicating his/her undying 10-year-old love for you.
Well, according to an article on Harvard Business Review titled “Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance”, we need to be digging through our drawers of old drawings, pet rocks and silly putty for those rings and gifting them to leaders in organizations across the country.
Why? Because according to the authors – Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee – a leader’s mood may be the biggest factor in bottom-line performance.
The Link Between Emotional Intelligence and Financial Results
We all know the power of emotional intelligence. Research has long shown there’s a solid link between a leader’s emotional maturity, highlighted in their levels of self-awareness and empathy, and their financial performance.
However, the authors sought to find out what binds this chain together. How does emotional intelligence (or lack thereof) drive performance? How does it start with the leader and end with the bottom line?
They turned to the latest neurological and psychological research combined with their own and colleagues’ work with hundreds of leaders and Hay Group data on the leadership styles of thousands of executives.
What they found was so simple it should be obvious to us all, but is easily overlooked.
The authors say, “From this body of research, we discovered that emotional intelligence is carried through an organization like electricity through wires. To be more specific, the leader’s mood is quite literally contagious, spreading quickly and inexorably throughout the business.
A leader’s emotional style – their mood and behaviours – create a certain culture or work environment. Their mood and behaviours affect (or infect in cases of bad moods) all those around them.
“A cranky and ruthless boss creates a toxic organization filled with negative underachievers who ignore opportunities,” the authors state, while “an inspirational leader spawns acolytes for whom any challenge is surmountable. The final link in the chain is performance: profit or loss.”
Based on this connection, the authors say a leader must make sure not only that they are optimistic, authentic and maintain a high-energy mood, but that it shows through their actions and is in turn felt by their employees.
Easier Said Than Done
Managing one’s inner life so that the right emotions and behaviours result isn’t easy business though; it’s a difficult challenge.
The bright side is leaders can learn habits and practices to improve their emotional style.
Check out the full article for the full details, as well as tips and exercises for leaders, by clicking here.
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