Most of us agree that great leaders are those that inspire us to act and give us a sense of purpose that has little to do with any external incentive or reward. They have a remarkable ability to tap into the very personal, intrinsic motivations that drive each of us and help us reach for something better in ourselves. And we know that people who love going to work, are more creative and more productive, and they treat their colleagues, clients and customers better.
Imagine if more people inside the organization could learn to think, act and communicate like those who inspire us?
Leadership abilities, such as those described by emotional intelligence (EQ), explain what leaders do, but not why they perform. Furthermore, knowing what to do is all very well, but the big question is how to do it.
According to more than 20 years of research in psychology, there are at least seven common factors that contribute to creating positive behavior change.
Being clear about your aspirations and dreams, and being able to articulate the values that shape your beliefs, goes to the very heart of great leadership. Your job as a leader is to tell and re-tell the story of why you do what you do, and what your business is capable of achieving. Most importantly, it is about enabling people to understand the value of their contribution to the story.
Self-Discovery & Self-Directed Change. Even when people are motivated to develop their EQ and leadership skills, they can often remain unclear about how to do so – until they become aware of how they measure up. There are many ways of gaining feedback on performance, but by far the most credible and compelling way is to benchmark emotional and social competencies and provide feedback using high-quality psychometric assessment tools.
3. Create Manageable, Measurable Goals & Share Them
Performance in training programs improves dramatically when participants set explicit goals for change. In fact, the motivating power of such goals is greatly enhanced when they are declared publicly and put in writing. Even Benjamin Franklin insisted that setting daily and weekly goals was indispensable to becoming a virtuous person!
4. Model The Skills
Provide people with opportunities to observe the skills they want to acquire. Modeling is a more effective learning method than simply being told about the skills because it requires greater attention and accelerates learning.
5. Practice New Skills & Provide Feedback
A common mistake in EQ training is to assume that leaders can acquire these behaviors quickly by attending motivational seminars. Although these activities can certainly inspire the desire to change, real behavioral change requires practice and repetition over an extended period. Organizational psychologists have long known that consistent constructive feedback is the most effective way to motivate people and provide direction.
6. Provide Follow-Up Support
Research has shown that the value of learning is maintained, if not greatly enhanced, when people receive targeted coaching support from a reinforcing reference group or an individual. In other words, providing coaching and mentoring to people on the job contributes greatly to positive change.
7. Evaluate Change
Documenting individual progress by evaluating changes in both understanding and behavior reinforces learning, charts the way forward and demonstrates return on investment. Nothing succeeds like success. The seven elements described here represent the why of building sustainable leadership skills and are the core features of the revolutionary online leadership development tool – SmartCoach™. Find out how SmartCoach can help you build an inspiring leadership culture today.