Monday, December 04, 2006

Leadership and communication chapter 6:Developing Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Literacy to Strengthen Leadership Communication

Chapter 6: Developing Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Literacy to Strengthen Leadership Communication

Leaders need strong interpersonal skills and understanding of and appreciation for cultural diversity. Interpersonal skills have gained recent recognition among business leaders under the name of “ emotional intelligence”. Emotional intelligence (EL) is the capacity to understand your own emotions and those of the other people.

For leadership communication, emotional intelligence and cultural literacy are as important as the strategy, writing, and speaking skills. Besides, they are necessary skills that allow you to interact with and lead others effectively, and key to interacting with others and managing relationships successfully is communication.

Appreciating the value of emotional intelligence
- Understanding Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence (quotient) is emotional and social knowledge and ability to
Be aware of, understand, and express yourself.
Be aware of, understand, and related to others.
Deal with strong emotions and control your impulses.
Adapt to cgange and to solve problems of a persanal or a social nature.

- Connecting Emotional Intelligence to Leadership Styles
In Primal Leadership, the leadership styles fall into six broad categories: 1) visionary, 2) coaching, 3) affiliative, 4) democratic, 5) pacesetting, 6) commanding.

Increasing your own self-awareness
Using popular psychological profiles to understand yourself better. Psychological testing can help you gain insight into your behavior and how you interact with others, and also how athers interact with you.

Using the MBTI (the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The MBTI consists of four dichotomies in 16 combinations that are as follows:
- Introvert (I) vs. Extravert (E)—indicates how you are energized.
- Sensing (S) vs. iNtuitive (N)—suggests how you interpret or understand the world.
- Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)—shows how you make decisions.
- Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)—suggests your approach to life and work.
A person’s type is indicated by a combination of the letters according to his or her preferences in each of these dichotomies.

The Value of Knowing the MBTI. Knowing coworkers’ types can help you as a leader understand how they are motivated and how better to manage them. Awareness of personality types can be advantageous in team settings. Besides, using a personality profile can help in developing your own self-awareness and understanding how best to interact with and manage others. Finally, as an organizational leader, you need to understand the legal ramifications of such testing and the potential misuse of the information.

Developing an approach to improving emotional intelligence by 1) assessing your strengths and weaknesses, 2) obtainning feedback from others on your strengths and weaknesses, 3) establishing your goals, and 4) mapping out a plan to achieve those goals.

Improving your nonverbal skills
Nonverbal expressions are usually categorized into one of following groups:
- Appearance—looks, dress, grooming.
- Paralanguage—vocal cues that accompany speech, such as volume, pitch, and rate.
- Kinesics—body movements, such as gestures, posture, head movement.
- Occulesics—eye movements, such as eye contact or looking away.
- Proxemics—where you stand or sit in relationship to others.
- Facial expressions—smiles, frowns, sneers.
- Olfactics—smells.
- Chronomics—the way time is used.

There are many suggestions to improve your nonverbal communication skills:
Learn as much as possible about any culture in which you will be interacting.
Do not judge someone’s actions out of context or leave the actions unexplored when important to you or the organization.
Develop your understanding or sensitivity to nonverbal cues.
Assess your own use of nonverbal communication.

Improving your listening skills.
There are three levels of listening: 1) Emphatic listening—attempt understanding and convey a sincere interest in the speaker’s woed, 2) Hearing words, but not really listening, 3) Listening in spurts—hearinh some part of what is said and pretend to listen.

A number of barriers can interfere with listening, such as the following: 1) the speaker is talking about a subject of no interest to you or is boring, 2) you do not agree with the speaker, 3) you may be interested in what you have to say than in the other person, 4) you are distracted by other thoughts or by activities around you, 5) you have preconceptions about the subject or the speaker, 6) you respond emotionally to the words or ideas the person presents, 7) you become so distracted by the person’s delivery or something about his or her appearance that you shift your focus away from the words, 8) you only hear what you want to hear and fail to listen to anything else.

There are ten ways to improve listening habits: 1) Stop talking, 2) Stop thinking ahead to what you are going to say, 3) Avoid multitasking, 4) Try to empathize with the speaker, 5) Don’t interrupt, but ask questions if something is unclear, 6) Focus on the speaker closely, 7) Do not let delivery or appearance distract you, 8) Listen for ideas, not just for facts, 9) listen with an open mind, 10) Pay attention to nonverbal cues and what is not said.

Mentoring others and providing feedback

Mentoring. To build a successful mentoring program and establish successful mentoring relationships, you should establish roles and responsibilities for the mentor and the potege.

Delivering Feedback. The goal in feedback should be to connect with the receivers in such a way that they are receptive to what you have to say and leave with the specific information they need to perform differently in the future. The following steps should work effectively when providing feedback in most business situations : 1) Be well prepared for the feedback session—Develop a strategy and analyzeyour audience, 2) Create a receptiive environment, 3) Assume a comfortable demeanor—establish eye contact but not in a challenging way, smile, and exchange some small talk, if appropriate, 4) Start by setting the context for the meeting, 5) Move quickly into your main objectives, which should not be so numerous they overwhelm, 6) Ensure throughout that the receiver understands your points, 7) Finally, close with the next steps, being very specific about the actions you expect the receiver to undertake as a result of this feedback session and the timing for completing them.

Realizing the value of cultural literacy

- Realizing the importance of cultural literacy—is a key component of emotional intelligence. Finding the standard, reliable frameworks to use in learning about cultural differences, as well as exposure to some quiding principlws, will aid you in establishing a foundation on which to build a better understanding and appreciation of culture and its impact on the way we interact and communicate.

- Defining culture—there are six layers of culture: 1) A national level according to one’s country, 2) A regional and/or ethnic/or religious and/or linguistic affiliation level, 3) A gender level according to whether a person was born as a girl or as a boy, 4) A generation level associated which seperates grandparents from parents from children, 5) A social class level associated with educational oportunities and with a person’s occupation or profession, 6) For those who are employed, an organizational or corporate level according to the way employees have been socialized by their work organizations.

Using cultural frameworks to understand differences
- Context—is anything that surrounds or accompanies communication and gives meanind to it. Context includes events, history, relationships, and status. Cultures and professions can be arrayed on spectrum ranging from low context to high context. Low-context cultures depend relatively little on existing relationships for meaning in communication and rely instead on explicit verbal messages. High-context cultures rely more extensively on relationships to understand meaning and place less importance on verbal messages.

- Information Flow. The importance of context in a culture, high or low, influences how individuals approach exchanges of information and determines how messages flow between people and levels in organizations. It also controls who initiates communication and with whom, what kinds of messages are sent, what channels are preferred, and how formal or informal the exchange of information will be.

- Time. In cultural frameworks, time is as polychronic—a state of being consisting of many events occurring at once. Polychronic time is open-ended and flexible, and people are more important than promptness ans schedules. The opposite cultural view of time is called monochronic—believe that time is linear, divisible, and consists of one event at the time.

- Language. All cultural levels have language differences: industries, professions, functions, and even genders. In international business negotiations, you should always consider hiring your own interpreter even if you feel fairly comfortable with the language.
Power. Cultures differ tremendously in how they view power and equality. Some believe in strict hierarchies with clear distinctions between levels and formalized respect for people at the higher levels of an organization. Others see everyone as equal, or some cultures respect age; others do not

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