Our society, especially in business, seems fixated on “behavior” as a magic solution. For example, recently I was talking to a potential client about a leadership development program and he wanted to know what “EQ behaviors” the participants would learn.
Talking about the behavior is an easy short-hand. We want leaders to be proactive, to engage, to give feedback, to listen, to hold people accountable, to execute. All behaviors that sound great on the surface – but the HOW is essential… and maybe even more essential than the behavior itself?
My belief is that we need to look more deeply at what DRIVES the behavior. One can execute a certain behavior in so many different ways – and thereby create completely different results. Just imagine all the ways one could say the words “thank you.” If the underlying feeling is gratitude the same words have a totally different impact than if the underlying feeling is irritation. Thus the emotion that’s “beneath the surface” drives the result.
Emotional intelligence lets leaders see beneath the surface of their own and others’ actions. To focus on the HOW – on the alignment between the behavior and the underlying intention.