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Change Management Leadership Styles: Leader Mood Drives a Staggering 30% of Performance

Change Management Leadership Styles: Leader Mood Drives a Staggering 30% of Performance

How do you provide a change management leadership style that connects with and motivates people when they are stressed by the current economic climate?

How do you lead your people through change and identify the most effective change management strategies that are appropriate for these difficult conditions?

Daniel Goleman has defined and articulated a new approach to leadership, calling it “Primary Leadership.” This refers to the emotional dimension of leadership: the leader’s ability to articulate a message that resonates with his followers’ emotional reality and sense of purpose, thus motivating them to move in a specific direction.

In my opinion, this is of considerable interest and relevance to those of us who work with companies undergoing change.

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee in 2002 first introduced the concept in a book by that name. His work draws heavily on Emotional Intelligence or “EI” research.

These are the key topics:

The Importance of Primordial Leadership

In today’s climate of uncertainty, people need leadership that offers them a measure of reassurance and certainty of conviction about the direction in which they are being led.

This is important because people cannot work effectively if they are experiencing emotional turbulence. Your ability to get the job done depends on keeping your emotions in check. A leader has to address those often unconscious and unexpressed fears along the way to help people keep them in check.

A study of 3,871 executives and their direct reports shows that HOW a leader leads in terms of the emotional resonance they generate or not, is important for 2 reasons:

(1) A large part of the culture and the “general feeling” or “emotional tone” of what it is like to work in an organization is largely determined by the leader.

(2) The leader’s style determines about 70% of the emotional climate which, in turn, drives 20-30% of business performance.

Leaders’ emotions infect the organization – the importance of resonance.

The central finding of EI research is that emotions are essentially contagious, and therefore a leader’s attitude and energy can “infect” a workplace for better or worse.

With this in mind, the authors emphasize the importance of resonance, which is the ability of leaders to perceive and influence the flow of emotions (including motivational states) between themselves and others with whom they work.

One of the keys to achieving resonance is empathic listening. [See “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey]

Self-awareness and the 4 basic components of primary leadership

The 4 building blocks of primary leadership are:

(1) Self-awareness

(2) Self-control [or self-management of emotion]

(3) Empathy or social conscience

(4) Relationship management

“Self-awareness is actually the foundational emotional intelligence skill, and probably the most overlooked in a business environment.” goleman

Emotions are contagious – top down

In an interview [with Stephen Bernhut in “Leaders Edge”, Ivey Business Journal May/June 2002] Daniel Goleman said:

“First, you have to look within yourself to discover your own truth, because you can’t be resonant if you’re clueless, if you’re faking it, or if you’re just trying to manipulate people.”

You have to speak from your heart, and you have to do it in a way that speaks to other people’s hearts. So authenticity is needed. And if you can articulate a positive goal, that is, to stay optimistic, enthusiastic, and motivated while delivering that message, then what you’re doing is spreading that message and those moods and attitudes to the people you’re talking to. Emotions are contagious, and they are most contagious from the top down, from the leader to the followers.

Act as a leader in a way that generates positive emotions in people.

In the same interview, Goleman suggests that you need self-awareness first of all, to know what is going on with your own emotions. You also need to use your self-awareness to feel what is right and wrong in a situation, to use your deep values ​​to guide what you do from moment to moment.

You have to be able to manage your emotions… and stay in a positive state, to have a good time with people, as well as get the job done. Of course, you also need empathy.

And finally, you need to put all of that into practice by acting as a leader in a way that elicits positive emotions from people, because that’s the state in which they’ll function best.

In my opinion, this is inspiring and offers deep insight and a new perspective on key aspects of change management leadership.

Properly applied in a change management context, this emphasis on primary leadership is exactly what a people-oriented leadership style should offer when employing the broad, holistic perspective of a program-based approach to change management.

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