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Are Boards of Directors the future facilitators of Emotional Intelligence in Organizations?

Per Poulsen ekspert i emotionel intelligens og nlp
By Per Poulsen

World Economic Forum

Since the World Economic Forum in 2016 stated,that Emotional Intelligence is the most important competence to achieve success both for individuals and organizations, there has been an increased focus and interest from CEOs, middlemanagement and key employees, especially in organizations committed to improve job satisfaction, job attraction, customer satisfaction and top performance.

By implementing Emotional Intelligence, as a core competence for key employees, and especially as a cultural trait in organizations, the greatest challenge today is managements lack of time. Lack of time keeps leaders,who are actually the real decision-makers, away from truly understanding the importance of Emotional Intelligence.

Consequently, without understanding Emotional Intelligence, leaders will not be aware of the importance of developing the organization or key employees based on Emotional intelligence. The main dilemma is, that too many leaders have too much focus on solving operational daily tasks, rather than focusing on real management and development. This intensifies the dilemma, as it is this same lack of insight, that makes them unable to use their own Emotional Intelligence, thus driving the leaders to continue to focus on their daily tasks and assignments.

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The dilemma

The dilemma rests in a combination of the leaders' experience with lack of time, which is an emotional influence and their focus on concrete tasks, where solving tasks with a visible result, gives a much higher personal satisfaction and a feeling of having delivered, which again is an emotional influence. The reality, however, is quite different due to the fact, that the leader would have delivered at a much higher level if he or she had used his or her position and time to fully understand the most important competence of the future. Another dilemma is that Emotional Intelligence is huge and very complex. For the busy task-focused leader, there will never be enough time to assess and decide to implement Emotional Intelligence.

In other words, it requires a much stronger commitment and strategic focus, in order to have both the insight and the time to choose that path. Here lies the paradox, and perhaps the one thing that makes the competence even more important over the next few years, which is the enormous untapped potential, that Emotional Intelligence provides an organization withcompetitive advantages.

My assessment is, after having worked with Emotional Intelligence since 2006, that Emotional Intelligence in the next few years will be integrated into the vast majority of industries through disruption, where it is the organizations, that are able to understand and implement Emotional Intelligence, that will create results that exceed the market with significant market shares and growth.

The other organizations trailing behind will feel, that they are "forced" to start looking at Emotional Intelligence. This is their onlychance if they want to attract theemployees who can really make a difference, delivering to their customers at such a level,that ensures customer loyalty, which in turn ensures the future of their organization.There is another dilemma, because the organizations that implement Emotional Intelligence of necessity or even worse by force, will have much more difficulty in implementing than the organizations that do so by curiosity and interest.

Emotional Intelligence is not to be installed as a machine

This is caused by the fact, that the emotions within the action (of actually doing) becomes an essential part of both the process and the result. Positive emotions create opportunity, creativity, readiness for change and development, negative emotions the opposite. The difference in emotions becomes yet another benefit for the disrupted First Movers. Even if other organizations start to follow, Emotional Intelligence is not something you buy and install as a machine. It is a competence and a cultural aspect, that is developed over time. Therefore, the First-Movers will always be ahead, ensuring them the important competitive advantages over a long period of time. The complexity of understanding and implementing Emotional Intelligence, combined with the leaders’ narrow leadership focus, results in Emotional Intelligence moving further away from day-to-day managerial tasks at organizational level and right up to the board of directors. Boards and executive boards of directors have the opportunity to focus higher and wider than leaders managing the day-to-day tasks, as leaders are usually more focused inwards and downwards in the organization.

This creates a new possibility forboard members to becomethe future facilitators of developing Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, through education pro-grammesbased on Emotional Intelligence, thereby contributing to the strategic developmentand decisionmaking, all the way to the implementation process. However, to succeed it is crucial, that both board of directors and leaders acknowledge that Emotional Intelligence is not something that can be decided upon at a board meeting, be purchased and then installed.

Implementation through dalogue and collaboration at all levels

Emotional Intelligence is throughout its basic form organic and must be implemented through dialogue, collaboration and sparring at all levels. The vital essenceis, that Emotional Intelligence must be worked into an organization in an Emotional Intelligent way, which in itself requires, that one is well prepared. Otherwise,it is necessary, that one has access to resources, that can facilitate and support the entire process, from the first interest, to creating an authentic cultural trait, thus becoming a market-leading organization.

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