David Cory Goes to Harvard

I’m not venturing off to do my PhD, not just yet, and when I do, I doubt Harvard will be possible for me. No, I’m off to Harvard University to present at the upcoming Nexus EQ Conference, June 24-26, 2013. The title of my presentation will be “Bulls in the China Shop: the Emotional Intelligence of Senior Leaders.”

Based on work with senior executives, I’ll talk about which areas of EQ senior executives tend to score high in, e.g. Assertiveness, Self-Regard, Stress Tolerance, Optimism and which areas of EQ senior executives tend to score lower in, e.g. Emotional Self-Awareness, Empathy, Impulse Control and how these combinations work together to produce the stereotypical “bull in the china shop.” These senior executives are well known for getting results, achieving at high levels, and making big things happen, however, in the process they are sometimes not aware of the damage that can be done to relationships with people who really matter to them. These relationships are the potential ‘broken glass’ that can result from their actions.

What can be done? First, we can all learn from these high achievers if we would like to be high achievers or even ‘higher’ achievers ourselves. The areas that these high achievers score high in are strengths we can all aspire to improve. We can all be more assertive, have a higher self-regard, improve our ability to deal with stress and learn to be more optimistic through coaching, training programs and reading books on the subjects. Second, high achievers can look at the areas that may be causing problems for them especially given some of their strengths. For example, being competent in the area of Assertiveness is good, however, a lower Empathy score makes this strong Assertiveness dangerous. It’s possible it can come across as aggressiveness. These combinations bear further examination and consideration for redress. When these competencies are in balance then an individual is acting in ways that are emotionally intelligent.

After reading Steve Jobs biography, I began to look at my own business through the lens of excellence and raised my standards on what I expect of myself and what I expect of others. However, Steve Jobs life story is a sad reminder of what can happen if we don’t realize the importance of personal relationships. Yes he was responsible for the creation of the some of most innovative technologies in the world and for the creation of the most valuable company in the world, however, look at the cost in terms of personal/family relationships.

What do you think? Are you a senior leader or do you aspire to be one or are you more like me and work to assist and support senior leaders as they try to strike a better balance among their EQ competencies? Are you coming to the conference?

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