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The place of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Within her latest book, “Atlas of the Heart”, speaker, author and researcher, Brene’ Brown talks of Cultivating Meaningful Connections. In the introduction, she outlines the utter importance of our ability to use language to express our emotions in order to make meaningful connections. 

Language is our portal to meaning-making, connection, healing, learning, and self-awareness.
Having access to the right words can open up entire universes…
Additionally, we have compelling research that shows that language does more than just communicate emotion, it can actually shape what we’re feeling.

Brown, Brené. Atlas of the Heart (p. xxi). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition. 

But how many of you have actually been taught the skill of articulating your emotional state? For many of us, this is foreign. I remember after experiencing awareness during a tibial rodding operation, my mother told me just to “sweep it under the carpet”. That was her mechanism for coping under times of stress. It had served her well during her life, and with love, that was the advice she thought would help me. I chose another path.

The thing is, we may not have the emotional vocabulary (granularity) to even recognise or label our emotional state, let alone the structures to express them. This mahi begins in childhood. (Another piece of my life purpose).

But what does this mean for leaders who are trying to navigate the complexities of an ever-changing world and the shifting needs of those they serve? 

The Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand created an Educational Leadership Capability Framework (2018). One of the first capabilities is Building and sustaining high trust relationships. They state,

This is the heart of effective leadership. 

High trust relationships exist when leaders are respected for their deep educational knowledge, their actions and values, and the way they engage respectfully with others with empathy and humility, fostering openness in discussions. 

Leaders have good emotional intelligence and self-awareness

He kaitiaki (The guardian) Leaders protect and nurture a caring environment where people and ideas are valued, health, safety and wellbeing are enhanced, and relationships are strong. 

He kaikōtuitui (The networker) Leaders network, broker and facilitate relationships that contribute towards achieving organisational goals.

A key element of Emotional Intelligence is self-awareness. Without this, we act without insight. Within my mahi in this field, self-awareness (or self-knowing) includes one’s ability to recognise the effects of one’s emotions on oneself, the impact of one’s emotions on others and the impact also of their non-verbal communication. We can’t have enough self-awareness.

Many think this is what emotional intelligence is about; one’s ability to recognise and express their emotions, but it is so much more than this. It is an intricate interplay of ten key capabilities (RocheMartin, 2013),  that when woven together can help or hinder someone’s ability to lead effectively.

Want to know more? Listen to Roche Martin’s Martyn Newman speak about The mind of a leader.

I have the utter privilege of being Roche Martin’s Emotional Capital lead trainer for New Zealand. Through this mahi, I have trained amazing people to become certified Emotional Capital Coaches, and have also supported many organisations to explore and embed emotional intelligence capabilities and tools into their leadership teams, across organisations and also with youth.

Emotional Intelligence underpins Cultural Capability and Inclusivity. It is the heartbeat of wellbeing; both personally and collectively. It builds Cultures of Care. It builds resilient communities. It is the core of understanding ourselves, others and the collective.

I invite you to look across your professional learning for 2022. Where are you investing in developing these critical capabilities within your organisation?

Let me know if you would like to explore this for your workplace.

Go well.

MA 🙂

Middle Leader Coaching and Mentoring

Are you a leader of an organisation or school who is intent on growing your middle leaders, but not quite sure how?

Are you spending time mentoring and coaching them on-the-hop and feel you could be supporting them better?

Maybe with the best of intent, you place them on a one-day course, but these are like a drop in the ocean; they provide some tools, but once back in the face of work, their use can fall-over. This leaves them feeling frustrated and confused, and can sometimes make an even bigger problem for you to deal with, and will eat into your already precious time.

More details here


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