Friday 16 October 2020

Emotional Intelligence - a Behavioural Approach


At the start of lockdown, I declared a sabbatical, and embarked on a number of CPD projects. In addition to those I planned at that stage, and in part because of a recommendation by David Clutterbuck, with whom I was studying Leadership Team Coaching, I signed up for a programme with Genos, to become proficient in, and qualified to use, their range of Emotional Intelligence assessments, feedback reports, and development programmes. I have just completed that, and (subject to a practical next week - update: undertaken and passed..) will soon have  (update: now have) the badge. There were a few things I particularly liked about the Genos approach. One was the chap leading the programme, Deiric McCann who was credible and entertaining.  

A second was their model of EI:

This is more comprehensive than many, having six core competences, each underpinned by seven specific behaviours. And that is the other thing I really like: the assessments are behavioural. They ask those giving feedback on an individual about specific observable behaviours. Not only that, but they ask both how important each behaviour is, and also how frequently they see it demonstrated. That gives participants very specific feedback. On the one hand, they learn what they are doing that works, that people find valuable; and on the other, what they could do more of, in order to increase the quality of their interactions with others. And that is all backed up with benchmarking data, and of course with written comments by those completing the feedback.

So I am looking forward to working with this assessment - which is available both in a leadership and a workplace version (ie for those without leadership responsibilities).  I certainly found it useful when I went through the process myself, and got some very helpful and specific pointers both about my strengths and a few things to try differently or more frequently.

For example, one of the behaviours in the Positive Influence competence is 'Responds effectively to others' inappropriate behaviour.' My colleagues who completed the feedback rated this as highly important, but rated my level of demonstrated behaviour rather lower (still high, and within the benchmark, I should add, not that I'm feeling at all sensitive or defensive, you understand...).  That is really helpful to know, and prompted some real reflection.  And I realise that there is some truth in it: I do tend to be a bit laissez-faire, and to see where something is going, rather than intervene early and clearly when someone does or says something inappropriate. And the feedback from my colleagues is that they would prefer it if I intervened; so I will be seeking opportunities to do so. (You have been warned!).  But I hope that makes it clear why I like this particular approach compared to some of the other assessments out there: it gives such specific behavioural feedback, that it is easy to develop a plan of action (putting the plan into action may be more difficult, but that's another story...)

The remaining question, of course, is whether behaving in a more emotionally intelligent way actually increases one's emotional intelligence. It seems clear that it will certainly increase one's demonstrated Emotional Intelligence, and that is surely what the development process is supposed to achieve.  But further, the process of engaging in this way will also lead to greater self awareness, which is one of the foundations of EI, and also self management (which is another EI competence).  Beyond that I refer you to Aristotle on Virtues: we acquire them by practicing them. 

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