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Emotional Intelligence, the missing link!. 
Leadership is a delicate dance between perception and reality. As leaders, we often believe we're inspiring our teams, but the gap between our intent and its impact can be vast. The following will explore this phenomenon, drawing insights from research, and delve into the three significant blockers that hinder leaders from truly inspiring their teams. 
 
The Inspiration Paradox 
"Why aren't my team members as motivated as I am?" This question haunts many leaders. We attend workshops, read leadership books, and hone our communication skills, yet the disconnect persists. The answer lies in understanding what truly inspires people. 
 
Gallup's Insights 
Gallup, a renowned research organisation, has been studying employee engagement for decades. Their findings reveal a stark reality: inspired employees are more than twice as productive as satisfied employees however, what inspires them? Gallup identified 33 distinct attributes that create inspiration in others. These tangible qualities range from empathy to vision, authenticity to courage. 
 
The Intent-Impact Gap 
Leaders often assume that their intent translates seamlessly into impact. However, this isn't always the case. Let's explore the three primary blockers: 
 
1. Intent-Impact Gap: Leaders may intend to inspire, but their actions fall short. Perhaps they focus too much on their vision and forget to connect it to the team's purpose. Bridging this gap requires self-awareness and active feedback loops. 
2. Deference to Authority: Hierarchies can stifle inspiration. When leaders wield authority without humility, team members hesitate to share ideas or challenge the status quo. True inspiration thrives in an open, collaborative environment. 
3. Blindspots: Leaders, like everyone else, have blind spots. These are areas where their perception doesn't align with reality. Blindspots prevent them from recognising their impact (or lack thereof). Seeking honest feedback and practicing active listening can help uncover these blindspots. 
 
Emotional Intelligence: The Missing Link 
Now, let's introduce a secret weapon: emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ enhances leadership skills by allowing leaders to navigate the human landscape effectively. Here's how it aligns with our three blockers: 
 
EQ and the Intent-Impact Gap: 
○ Self-Awareness: Leaders with high EQ recognize their intent and its potential impact. They pause, reflect, and adjust their approach. EQ helps them bridge the gap by aligning their actions with their vision. 
○ Empathy: Understanding team members' perspectives is crucial. Leaders with empathy actively seek feedback, ensuring their intent resonates positively. 
 
EQ and Deference to Authority: 
○ Social Awareness: EQ enables leaders to read the room. They sense when their authority stifles creativity or openness. Instead of wielding power, they foster collaboration. 
○ Relationship Management: High EQ leaders build trust. They listen, validate, and encourage dialogue. Their authority becomes an invitation, not a barrier. 
 
EQ and Blind Spots: 
○ Self-Reflection: EQ encourages introspection. Leaders acknowledge their blind spots and actively seek feedback. They value diverse viewpoints. 
○ Adaptability: EQ helps leaders adjust. When blind spots are revealed, they pivot gracefully, learning from mistakes. 
 
Practical Steps 
Self-Reflection and EQ: Regularly assess your intent and impact. How do your emotions influence your leadership decisions? 
Feedback Culture: Create an environment where EQ thrives. Encourage open conversations, vulnerability, and active listening. 
Embrace EQ Training: Invest in EQ development. It's not a soft skill; it's a strategic advantage and can be improved and developed with intentional learning and action. 
 
Conclusion 
Inspiring leadership isn't about grand speeches or charisma alone. It's about understanding what truly moves people, bridging the intent-impact gap, and infusing emotional intelligence into our leadership fabric. As leaders, let's be both intentional and emotionally intelligent, guiding our teams toward greatness. 
 
Remember, it's not about being a leader; it's about being an inspirational leader with heart and EQ. 
 
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References: 
How Leaders Inspire: Cracking the Code | Bain & Company 
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ | Daniel Goleman 
 
Tracey Clay of Pivotal Partnerships is an Accredited Practitioner for RocheMartin Emotional Capital Reports and Workshops. If you are interested in developing a Leadership Development through Emotional Intelligence, then please contact to arrange a no obligation Discovery Call to find out more. 
 
 
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