“Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognising, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.” – J. Freedman
Coming towards the end of the 6-months Women Entrepreneur Transformation Programme (WETP) at the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), and building on learnings and discoveries on topics including accessing inner leadership, self-awareness and self-care, mindset and perspective, and overcoming challenge and failure, the participants of the programme explored how to build resilience, and the role emotional intelligence plays in leadership.
WETP is a 6-months leadership programme run by leadership coach and facilitator Rachel Allan at GCIC. It is an integral part of GCIC’s agenda to provide the innovative women entrepreneurs of its cohort – eight in 2018 – with the technical and advisory services that allow them to elevate their entrepreneurial journey — and to become extraordinary leaders.
Some of the questions focused on emotional intelligence that Rachel asked the participants, suggested a link between resilience and emotional intelligence: How do you navigate your emotions to maximise your impact in your life? What role do emotions play in business?
Emotional intelligence (EI) has often been defined as understanding yourself and others, and as being able to read, understand, be aware of, regulate and control emotions, while resilience has been defined as the ability to bounce back from (or “deal with”) the stresses or setbacks that life presents.
People react to different situations in different ways, and our reactions are based on who we are and our awareness of ourselves. So, knowing what triggers a reaction is fundamental to leadership action.
EI has been increasingly high on the agenda as a leadership tool in recent years. From a leadership perspective, EI is the ability of “transforming emotions”. All emotions are useful information about our well-being, regardless if “good” or “bad”. For example, negative feeling states can stimulate leaders to take risk and being good risk managers in their companies. Nonetheless, in general, positive feelings are indicators of well-being.
Dependent on our culture, showing emotions might be seen as a ‘weakness’, and they might be used to shame others in the workplace. But, in fact, as leaders, we don’t need to remove emotions from business. Emotions are information. How we use and manage this information is key. It is essential to become aware of our personal triggers, so we can choose how to respond: How we create the space, to slow down and respond consciously in emotional states, has a significant impact on how we are received. As humans, we always experience emotions, so knowing how to use them, supports leaders in the choices they make.
The first step in emotional transformation is to be aware and accept one’s current emotional state. When we have compassion for ourselves, we end being stuck in whatever emotional state we are in. It is important to stay true to and align our values across the various contexts we operate in – be it as an entrepreneur, or in our private life – in order to be authentic, knowing our authentic self and purpose, and act accordingly.
WETP participants read “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Travis Bradberry. Additional resources included a series of TED talks that share insights on how to develop emotional intelligence.
Managing various roles and responsibilities can be stressful. It is therefore important to identify ways how to manage such potential stress. The book “EI 2.0” runs the reader through a step-by-step programme on how to increase one’s emotional intelligence using the four core EQ skills – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management – to achieve one’s goals and one’s full potential:
- Personal competence is the ability to stay aware of one’s emotions and manage one’s behaviour and tendencies. Self-Awareness is the ability to accurately perceive emotions and stay aware of them as they happen. Self-Management is the ability to use awareness of emotions to stay flexible and positively direct behaviour.
- Social competence is the ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviour, and motives to respond effectively and improve the quality of relationships. Social Awareness is the ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on. Relationship Management is the ability to use awareness of one’s own emotions and the others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully.
(For a free worksheet and further information contact Rachel Allan on LinkedIn.)
Rachel urges: “Don’t forget: emotional intelligence isn’t fixed, it can be learned and taught, and it is a life-long process as you undergo constant changes as an individual. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent earn more, get better results and are happier consistently, regardless of where in the world they work.”
“As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviours, your brain builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it. And just as your brain reinforces the use of new behaviours, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviours will die off as you learn to limit your use of them,” says Dr. Bradberry.
The Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC) is a pioneering business incubator whose objective is to support entrepreneurs and ventures involved in developing profitable and locally appropriate solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Ghana. The Centre’s key focus is on building businesses operating within the areas of energy efficiency, domestic waste management, solar energy, water supply management and purification and climate-smart agriculture. GCIC is part of the World Bank Group’s infoDev Climate Technology Program. Supported by the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands, the Centre is managed by a consortium led by the Ashesi University College and including Ernst & Young, SNV Ghana, and the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa.
The GCIC Women Entrepreneurs’ Transformation Programme (WETP) is one of the mentoring and coaching programmes created by the GCIC on the belief that inner leadership creates outer impact, and aims to unleash the untapped potential of female entrepreneurs. The 2018 programme is created in partnership with global leadership transformation facilitator and coach Rachel Allan.