Renew EQ to Drive a Culture of Continuous Improvement

EQandCI2Continuing our theme of how Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Continuous Improvement are a powerful combination, we share some results from work done by Richard E. Boyatzis, pioneering researcher into leadership and emotional intelligence.

Among his findings is the fact that EQ is applied extensively by leaders who want to effect positive change and to institute a culture of Continuous Improvement.

In other words, implementing an improvement or two can be accomplished with an engineer; but creating a culture of continuous improvement requires a resonant leader who can:

  • Communicate a vision
  • Inspire action
  • Drive out fear
  • Motivate truth-telling
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Create a safe place for people to exercise a passion for high quality, highly efficient work

Because of their ability to align and motivate people around a common vision and plan, emotionally intelligent leaders are very valuable in organizations desiring to create continuous steady improvement.

In his class at Case Western Reserve University Boyatzis teaches that it is not sufficient to simply have Emotional Intelligence. Even leaders who are naturally gifted with a great deal of EQ can deplete their reserves through the stress of their roles and responsibilities.

Boyatzis maintains that leaders must renew themselves, and that research indicates four methods that can restore a leader’s emotional strength and ability to resonate with an organization:

  • Compassion – often by becoming involved in empathetic and supportive activities that are unconnected with work responsibilities
  • Mindfulness – some form of conscious mediation on a daily basis
  • Playfulness – regular doses of fun, laughter and enjoyable activities
  • Hope – finding time each day for optimistic thought, encouragement, and positive communication that promotes a belief on the part of the leader as well as the team that positive change can, in fact, be achieved