As many of you know, I had the privilege of presenting at the recent PMI Global Congress in Vancouver, BC. The conference was an amazing gathering of Project Management Professionals from around the globe, as well as many who work in project management and other support roles in their organizations. Each year I am impressed with the work that PMI does to bring together many of the great thought leaders in business and industry, and have them speak at the Congress.
This year was no exception. I wanted to capture a few exceptional highlights of the event for those who were not able to attend.
On opening day, the morning kicked off with a keynote by Annie McKee, Ph.D.,bestselling author, and advisor to top global leaders. She stressed the power of leading with Emotional Intelligence – EI, or sometimes known as EQ – and why it is actually more important to success than IQ.
Annie had the audience enthralled with her stories, and she told us, “Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, powerful ideas or vision. But the reality is much more primal: Great leaders work through the emotions.”
Each of us has experienced the technically proficient people in our organizations rise to increasingly higher levels of leadership. They have all the ability and intelligence they need to succeed. And yet, so many of them fail. And, most of us have also known leaders who were not exceptionally gifted intellectually or technically, and they succeed on a massive scale. They get the work done with and through other people.
How does that happen? Research over the last few decades has pointed to the capabilities associated with emotional intelligence – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management – as some of the best predictors of whether someone will be a great leader.
Think about it for a minute. Who were the greatest leaders in your life? What qualities still stand out about them today? If you’re like most people, they were great leaders as much for how they made you feel, as for what they taught you.
What a powerful concept for all who wish to be great leaders in their organizations!
“Emotional Intelligence competencies are not innate talents, but learned abilities, each of which has a unique contribution to making leaders more resonant, therefore, more effective.” -Annie McKee
That evening, we enjoyed a lively keynote delivered by best-selling author, speaker, business strategist, and leadership guru, Marcus Buckingham. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hear him speak or are not aware of the groundbreaking work he’s done in the field of research on maximizing your strengths, then I encourage you to check out his work. You won’t be disappointed.
Marcus talked with us about using our own signature strengths in order to develop our personal leadership styles. As he pointed out, “Leadership is idiosyncratic. What works for one person won’t work for another.”
He gave examples of brilliant leaders he’s worked with and interviewed to learn how they excel in their ability to lead their teams to success. What he discovered was that leadership is as different to each of us as our own fingerprints – no two are exactly alike.
He spoke of finding our own authentic leadership style that coincides with who we are at our core. It made me think of Shakespeare’s often-quoted line, “To thine own self, be true.” Yet, for many of us we may find it difficult to really know ourselves. It’s challenging sometimes to see beyond our own “identity” that we’ve developed over the years, and to know ourselves, our strengths, and to see our blind spots.
“All great managers turn one person’s talent into performance, but your way of doing this will depend on your unique combination of strength roles.” -Marcus Buckingham
So how do we do these things? How can we become more emotionally aware, learn to better use our emotions rather than having them use us? How do we become more knowledgeable of our own strengths and challenges? It’s the same as with anything else – we must be willing to invest in our own growth. Whether that means studying the things you want to learn, buying books on the subject, or hiring a coach to help you, it requires your full commitment to becoming the highest version of yourself. In doing so, you can maximize your impact on your teams, your organizations, and the people in your life.
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Kevin Ciccotti, Human Factor Formula
Helping companies create sustainable, effective teams that are committed to the success of their projects, the organization, and the individuals with whom they work