Leading Teams in Changing Times: From IQ to EQ

The following quote from Australian Etiquette, written in 1959 shows just how much the leadership structures have changed – from the hierarchical or positional to collaborative and relational:

If an employee is summoned to the employer’s room, he must remain standing until his chief indicates a seat. At the conclusion of the interview he must leave as quietly as possible closing the door gently after him. If a junior meets his employer in the lift or in the street he should bow but must not enter into conversation unless first addressed. If an employee has a need to send a letter to his chief he should commence it with the words ‘Dear sir’ and conclude with the words ‘Yours obediently’.

Today’s leaders require more than just IQ (intellectual intelligence) – these days what is also needed is EQ (emotional intelligence). While technical skills are essential for managers in all industries – so too are people skills. Emotional intelligence involves being able to understand and manage one’s own emotions and behaviour, as well as being able to understand and manage those of other people.

The danger of having low EQ leaders is that they may not understand or value the strengths that Gen Y and Z bring to the workplace. Instead of working with the younger generations to capitalise on their unique strengths, they are simply likely to butt-heads with them, creating an unhappy, unproductive and continually turning-over workforce.

Points to remember in leading Gen Y:

1. From ‘knowing the way’ to ‘showing the way’:

Instead of “command and control” leadership, Gen Y-ers respond to “consensus and collaborative” leadership.

2. People-centred leadership:

When asked what qualities they value in leadership, Y-ers reported valuing leader honesty, reliability and loyalty. They desired leaders who were energetic and inspiring, who maintained a team-focus.

3. From IQ to EQ:

Try to develop your emotional intelligence (EQ) and that of your leaders as it is the critical dimension of leadership that Generation Y responds to.

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