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What Makes A Leader – Emotional Intelligence In Consulting

What Makes A Leader – Emotional Intelligence in Consulting

by Kate Battle

In the article, What Makes a Leader?, Daniel Goleman discusses the difference between just having talent and having what he calls “Emotional Intelligence”. Leaders come from a wide range of talents, personalities, cognitive abilities, and styles. Leaders can have various combinations of these. However, to be an effective leader takes something more, according to Goleman. In his studies, Goleman finds that the most successful leaders are valued for their Emotional Intelligence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Goleman describes Emotional Intelligence as a combination of 5 skills. These skills are Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skill. Furthermore, according to the study, “When senior management at one company had a critical mass of EI capabilities, their divisions outperformed yearly earnings goals by 20%”. In short, Emotional Intelligence not only translates into being likable, but also being profitable. Furthermore, EI plays an increasingly more important role at the higher levels of a company.

This chart describes the 5 skills in more detail:
Table 1
Basically, while all managers must be talented enough to understand business, they must also have Emotional Intelligence to understand themselves and how to effectively interact with others.

EI and Consulting

Consulting is one of the only professions where you are constantly being thrown into new situations with new people/personalities. In consulting, every day is different and it is very important to adapt quickly in these situations. Having self-awareness as well as the flexibility to work with and understand many different types of personalities is key to balancing a successful project. To better explain the importance of EI in consulting, here is the same chart with an extra column describing each component’s hallmarks for consulting.
Table 2
The Good News

Do you feel like you may be lacking in some of these traits? The good news is that while some Emotional Intelligence factors are genetic, they can be learned. At Golden Source Consultants, we are constantly striving to improve our emotional intelligence. We have an open-door environment and are able to give feedback directly to each other. More formally, we gather 360-degree reviews from all of our coworkers and clients. These reviews are particularly important for the self-awareness component.

Additionally, we have internal lessons learned initiatives so that we are continually improving our deliveries. These 360-degree reviews have personally helped me become more self-aware. In the year I have been working here, I can already see improvements in my confidence level and ease in communicating with clients. Furthermore, I am constantly learning and growing a thicker skin because of our open environment. I believe that to be a good and honest consultant, you have to be continuously improving yourself, skill sets, and emotional intelligence and the leaders here at Golden Source enable that growth.

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