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Future Engage Deliver

The Four Energies

I really believe that Intellectual Energy gets far too much attention in the realm of leadership and making organisations work. Charles Handy and then John Kotter have similar views:

One of the worst aspects of some business studies courses is the assumption that business people are rational fools, devoid of emotion or any sense of responsibility. I have known such people. They are hard to deal with because they have no conscience, regard concepts such as loyalty or trust as wimpish and suspect, look only at the numbers and care only for themselves. They sometimes die rich, but always friendless. Thankfully they are rare in most businesses. We should not encourage them.

Our main finding, put simply, is that the central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. All those elements, and others, are important. But the core of the matter is always about changing the behaviour of people, and behaviour change happens in highly successful situations mostly by speaking to people's feelings. This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measurement, even among people who think of themselves as smart in an M.B.A sense. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought. Feelings then alter behaviour sufficiently to overcome all the many barriers to sensible large-scale change.

Winning leaders instinctively realize that every meeting and every activity has the potential to create or destroy positive emotional energy. So they deliberately develop an operating style and design management processes with an eye to their effect on people's energy levels.
Noel Tichy Close
Since 1995, Daniel Goleman and others have made the case for emotional intelligence (EI) as the basis for the kind of leadership that engages others to commitment. Goleman and others have shown us the science-based brain research that makes the importance of emotional intelligence credible, if not incontrovertible.

The conclusion of that research is that any decision to lead rather than to merely contribute to the body of knowledge has to include a commitment to learn about and enhance, through practice, our emotional breadth as well as our ability to relate to others' emotions. Because relationships are forged through communication, to know not only when and how to reveal our emotions but also when and how to acknowledge those of the people we want to lead.
Terry Pearce Close