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January 11, 2017

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence – A Story

Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

When you have the power and every fibre of your being is urging you to act, but you chose not to react or respond – Simply put this ability to choose is Emotional Intelligence.

This story set in 1920s; goes like this –

A King of erstwhile princely states of India; during his visit to London, was walking down the Bond Street dressed casually. On seeing a Rolls Royce showroom he went to ask about the Price and Features of their cars.

Looking at an ordinary Indian citizen, British showroom salesmen (colonials days) insulted him and almost showed him the way out of the showroom. After this insult, the King came back to his Hotel room and asked his servants to call the showroom informing them that the King was interested in purchasing few Cars. Few hours later the King returned to Rolls Royce showroom with full royal manner wearing royal costume. He was given red carpet welcome at the showroom. Salesmen treated him with respect and eagerness. The King purchased all six cars that were available at the showroom and paid full amount with delivery costs. Once back in India, King ordered municipality to cut open car roofs and use them as garbage trucks for cleaning and transporting city’s waste. The moment Car Company received news of their brand being humiliated; they sacked the salesman and apologised to the King. The Company requested to return those garbage cars and offered much better cars at no extra cost in return.

In this story lack of maturity and emotional intelligence by Salesman is quite evident. So are the consequences for salesman and his organisation.

The King might seem victorious at the end of story but as a leader he doesn’t set a great example. His actions lacked maturity and foresight, key components of Emotional Intelligence. His actions were arrogant, driven by personal revenge and he abused his powers over state finances.

He spent precious funds (in context of British raj and condition of Indian people under colonial rule) from treasury on extremely expensive cars. At the same time he ended up filling the coffers of a British Company.

As leaders we need to be always beware of old cliché – “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It’s important for leaders to have people in their inner circle who can speak with candor and nudge leaders in right direction. If our network becomes dysfunctional we lose our path and focus.

As leaders (Business, political, social and spiritual) we continue to set very poor example of using Emotional Intelligence in our actions. Classic example, when in position of authority people tend to force others into doing things way below their optimum capability or area of expertise; just to make a point or teach them a lesson. Isn’t this akin to using a Rolls Royce to collect garbage? More importantly, they hurt themselves or their organisation either by increased costs or by losing good people to competition. Either way they end up filling coffers of competition.

Daniel Goleman indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.

“Between stimulus and response there's a space. In that space is our power to choose our response, where lies our growth and freedom" – FranklSo next time choose wisely and think before you react!!

Warm Regards,

Disclaimer: This Story neither confirms nor denies the authenticity of incidence mentioned here and simply used as an example.

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