Blogging is a leadership skill Some reflections on our EITC Congress of 2016.

I had the honour of meeting a little while ago with some of the people on the EITC team. One of the central pieces of our agenda was to sort out our forthcoming leadership curriculum. I was eager to participate because I knew it would help me figure out the look and feel of the design and branding and our community engagement plan.

What I didn’t know was that I would be given a front row seat to a rare learning opportunity. Except it wasn’t a front row seat. It was more like I was given a SCUBA suit and taken, by the hand, down, down into the deep waters of the emotional intelligence leadership model.

It was awesome. Honestly, I didn’t get it all. But I feel so much gratitude for having had the opportunity. Most importantly, I think I have a handle on how to develop the branding around this exciting new leadership course. And I look forward to attending it, as a participant, so I can do some more work to wrap my head, and heart, around its many beautiful features.

But here I want to reflect on how I think the leadership model relates to blogging. I’ve always believed that when we write for ourselves, and others, we’re showing leadership.

Put another way, the best blogging is a kind of leadership. So it only makes sense that the leadership model that we use, based on emotional intelligence, should give us a new way to understand why some articles are better than others.

The model has four dimensions, each correlated to six main emotional intelligence competencies. These dimensions are authenticity, coaching, insight and innovation. So allow me to attempt to describe a rubric for understanding great posts that utilizes each of the four dimensions.

Authenticity

The best posts are real and fully human. They do not pretend. Care is taken, of course, not to be alienating and especially to be audience aware. We still edit and review. But, like good creative nonfiction, the posts are not fake. They’re about real perspectives about real issues in our real human lives. In many ways this is what differentiates blogging from other forms of writing, like, for example, publishing in a science journal. We give ourselves. We reveal ourselves in a way that is honest and can create a sense of human connection. And when mistakes are made, they’re acknowledged and fixed. Posts that are too focused on sales, or too much marketing, or too much branding, can feel flat and disrespectful.

Coaching

The best blog posts help readers. They’re informative. They are encouraging. Otherwise, what’s the point? Writing, at its best, helps people to see new horizons and have new understandings of the width and breadth of human experience. Good blog posts help readers to develop their capacities. People read because they want to be entertained, but they also read to become better; better employees, better family members, better informed, better people. And this can only happen when writers take time to consider the audience and meet them where they’re at. It also explains why not all people get the same value from all blog posts. Coaching, between real humans, is a deeply creative, and individually contextual interaction. And this is also true of writing and story telling.

Insight

Good writing, and good blogging, is a kind of leadership.  Tweet This!

Insight is the ability to provide inspiration and purpose. This is what we’ve always aspired to do via our company blog! I’m not saying we’ve always succeeded at it. Hah, far from it. But we’re making an effort to communicate our vision for a world with more EI. And our best blog posts excite people and let them see how they too can improve their lives, their work and their team building skills via deepening their emotional intelligence powers. And it’s not just true of our company blog. This is a feature of all good writing, or blogging. Good articles inform and inspire and can catch the reader up in a bigger purpose.

Innovation

This is a dimension of leadership that is a little harder for me to understand in the context of blogging. But the best blog posts do make an effort to say something new. They offer ideas and it can take a remarkable amount of assertiveness and courage to publish your thoughts to the whole world. That courage, that assertiveness, is an important aspect of innovation. And, the more I think about it, the more I realize that people do change direction as a result of reading. The best blog posts have the potential to alter the course of someone’s thinking and behaviour.

Imagine that. We change ourselves by reading. And we change each other by writing.

When I think about the legion of bloggers and writers out there contributing to public discourse, showing themselves and giving themselves to their communities, and beyond, I feel an immense belonging and pride about the way we’ve always made an effort here at EITC to participate in that.

We want to be part of the conversation. And we’ll keep blogging and working on our leadership skills toward this end to do so.

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