Understanding Emotional Resonance
for Leadership Development
Presented by: Mick Lavin
MBA, Dip. Executive Coaching
Research shows that if you spend enough time with
people, their emotions will actually rub off on you.
What are Emotions
• Typically they are a response to events of
concern, triggering physiological and
psychological changes in the person that
• How are you feeling?
– Happy, Sad, Angry, Frustrated, Satisfied, Shocked,
Thoughtful, Surprised, Fearful, …
The Science Bit!
• The next few slides will focus on the basics of
the brain science involved in Emotional
• Emotions are contagious
Thoughts / Feelings / Behaviours
Emotion Trumps Judgement
• Rotman school of management research
suggests that people that are Emotionally
Intelligent are protected from biases based on
their ability to recognise where their emotions
originate – a frustrating drive to work for
• Recognise your emotions?
• Register others’ emotions?
• Figure out what is triggering your emotions?
• Manage emotional information?
• High EI helps leaders manage their emotions
and the emotions of those around them.
Why Employers Value EI?
In order of importance, employers say it’s because
those with high EI…
1. Usually remain calm under pressure
2. Resolve conflict effectively
3. Are empathetic to their colleagues – and act as
4. Lead by example
5. May put more consideration into business
• Let’s find out a little more about how
Emotional Intelligence can help us out!
• Three main schools of thought:
– Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso: MSCEIT – ability based
– Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis: (ESCI) – trait
and ability model
– Reuven Bar-On: EQ-I – ability based model
• Daniel Goleman defines EI as 12 (or 19)
competencies in four distinct areas of ability:
• Emotional self-awareness
• Organizational awareness
• Emotional self-control
• Achievement orientation
• Positive outlook
• Coach and mentor
• Conflict management
• Inspirational leadership
Recognising your Mood State:
• What frame of mind are you in?
• What bias will you bring to a negotiation, a
Managing your Mood State:
• Am I happy, sad, anxious, angry, engaged,
• Self-management competencies
• Emotional self-control
• Achievement orientation
• Positive outlook
Understanding the Environment:
• Organizational awareness
• Coach and mentor
• Conflict management
• Inspirational leadership
Tying it all together:
• Why would my emotions affect others?
• How am I affected by other peoples
• Can I step into someone else’s shoes to
understand how they may be emotionally
Tips for improving EI
• Be mindful of non-verbal communication
– Facial expressions and movements
– Body language
• Reduce Stress
• Stay connected to your emotions
• Practice effective conflict resolution
– Choose your words carefully
– Keep the conversation centred on the present
– Be ready to forgive or otherwise peacefully end the conflict
• Stay positive
Tips for improving EI (2)
• Reflect / Journal
• Understanding physiological/bodily signs
• Understanding Emotional states within yourself
• Understanding Emotional states within others
• Understand your values
• We make better decisions when we act on information
from our feelings, our instincts, and our intuition, as
well as on information coming from our rational
intellect. It is our emotional brains, after all, that allows
us to access memory and assign weight or preference
to the choices we face at work and in our personal
lives. It is our Emotional Intelligence that guides us in
controlling or accessing emotions when we must adapt
to change, get along with others, or deal with stress.
Performance and leadership in any organizational
setting are both influenced by EQ
• Source: The Science Behind Emotional Intelligence, Emily A. Sterrett, Ph.D. 2014, HRD Press, Inc.
– Emotional Intelligence (Baywood Publishing: Mayer and Salovey; 1990)
– Primal Leadership: The hidden driver of great performance (HBR: Daniel
Goleman, Richard Boystzis, and Annie McKee; 2001)
– Competencies as a behavioral approach to Emotional Intelligence (Journal of
Management Development: Richard Boyatzis; 2009)
– What Makes a Leader (HBR: Daniel Goleman; 1998)
– Do you Know What your Emotional IQ is? (Maricopa Association of
Governments: James Bourney, Athena Miller; 2001)
– Emotional Intelligence: Sine Qua Non of Leadership or Folderol? (Academy of
Management Perspectives: Frank Walter, Michael S. Cole, and Ronald H.
– Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Development (Public Personnel
Management, Vol 41 No. 3: Golnaz Sadri, PhD; Fall 2012)
– Emotional Intelligence and social-Emotional Learning: An Overview
(Psychology Research: Anamitra Basu, Martial Mermillod; September 2011)
Additional Reading (2)
• Papers/Articles (contd):
– 3-D Chess: Boosting Team Productivity through Emotional Intelligence (HBR: Steve Barth)
– Rhetoric or Remedy? A Critique on Developing Emotional Intelligence (Academy of
Management Learning & Education: Dirk Lindebaum; 2009)
– The Neural Basis of Key Competencies of Emotional Intelligence (Proceedings of National
Academy of Sciences: Frank Krueger, Aron K. Barbey, Kevin McCabe, Maren Strenziok,
Giovanna Zamboni, Jeffrey Solomon, Vanessa Raymont, and Jordan Grafman; 2009)
– The Role of Personality Traits , Core Self-evaluation, and Emotional Intelligence in Career
Decision-making Difficulties (Journal of Employment Counseling: Annamaria Di Fabio, Letizia
Palazzeschi, and Reuven Bar-On; 2012)
– Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ (Daniel Goleman; 1995)
– Becoming a Resonant Leader: Develop your Emotional Intelligence, Renew your Relationships,
Sustain your Effectiveness (Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis; 2008)
– EI Consortium: www.eiconsortium.org
Additional Reading (3)
• Cultural Influence
– Individualist vs. Collectivest cultures
Lecture series: Influence – Professor Kenneth G.
Brown of The University of Iowa
Geert Hofstede: Cultural Dimensions Theory
– Culture Influence on Emotional Intelligence: An
Exploratory Study (Academy of Management
Annual Meeting Proceedings: Marjaana Gunkel,
Christopher Schlaegel, Robert L. Engle; 2013)
Hi! My name is Mick Lavin, I am here today to talk with you about Emotions and how these help shape your current and future leadership development. Understanding your emotional state and how this affects your own behaviour along with the emotional states of those around you can help you develop and become an effective leader, team member, and serve yourself better in many situations.
The video we have just seen – how did that make you feel?
Did you feel a smile begin to form on your face? Or did you even laugh?
Why do you think that is?
Was there anything explicitly funny in the video? Some joke or visual cue? Or did you feel you were carried along by the laughing man’s happiness?
During this presentation we will briefly look at some of the brain science behind this.
One of the first things we can learn is to smile. This can help us in both social and business contexts by making us more open to other people and they to us.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you!
Hatfield, E., J. Cacioppo, and R. L. Rapson 1992 “Primitive emotional contagion.” In M. S. Clark (ed.), Review of Personality and Social Psychology: Emotion and Social Behavior, 14: 151–177. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
How we feel in the moment will affect the decisions we make. If we are happy we may give concessions during negotiations, sadness may mean we lose interest and somehow sabotage negotiations, anger may lead to stubborn behaviour where we won’t concede ground. Fear may mean we put off decisions. Shock may make us stop taking risks, even measured risks.
How can we know and perhaps counteract these emotions when we make decisions?
By understanding a little more about Emotional Intelligence.
As we saw in the introductory video, emotions are contagious - our brains are social. They contain what are called Mirror Neurons that activate when we observe other people – when we see someone smile, the neurons that activate a smile light up in our own brains. What this means is that emotions can be contagious. Luckily, positive emotions are more contagious than negative ones – however, this does not mean we are immune to the negative emotions around us.
Do mirror neurons form the basis of communication and empathy? It has yet to be determined but there is evidence to support this.
As a leader we need to be aware of how our emotional cues, both verbal and non-verbal affect the teams around us.
The human brain is complex. Like most animals on the planet we share certain characteristics in the structure of the brain. All mammals have a brain stem and limbic system. However, our prefrontal cortex has evolved to allow us to exert a certain amount of control over our reactions and impulses, and even actions of our sympathetic nervous system.
Triggers enter through the brain stem and are interpreted by the Limbic system consisting of the Amygdala and Hippocampus where the trigger is compared against known memories. If the Fight, Flight, or Freeze panic button is activated then the hypothalamus is called upon to flood the body with stress hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline causing our physiology, emotions, and mood to change.
By the time the Prefrontal Cortex, the thinking mind, gets involved, things may already be in a dire situation!
Regaining control of your Emotions/Mood can take up to 20 minutes after a triggering event.
Much like the Cognitive Behavioural Model, the basis for understanding EI is to become more self-aware. To do this we need to understand how Triggers can launch us into emotional states that will not serve us in leadership roles.
Understanding our emotions, the triggers that launch our emotions, and changing our behaviour to these triggers can effectively help us overcome our default emotional states and become more positively resonant leaders.
The “amygdala hijack” is a term coined in Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, his first book on the subject. The amygdala is the emotional part of the brain, which regulates the fight or flight response.
When threatened, it can respond irrationally. A rush of stress hormones floods the body before the prefrontal lobes (regulating executive function) can mediate this reaction.
In a work situation this can prove very costly.
What this research seems to suggest, is that while we sometimes make decisions based on emotional biases, we can exert a measure of control over this by recognising our mood state. Knowing that the drive to work has agitated us and understanding that stress hormones may be working their way through our system, means we can try to regain control over our decision making.
How Emotional Intelligence can Improve Decision-Making: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/22/emotional-intelligence-decision-making_n_4310192.html
Study on Decision making: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080530132111.htm
If you can answer Yes to these questions then you probably have a reasonably high level of Emotional Intelligence. If not, don’t worry your emotional intelligence is not fixed and can be improved with a little effort.
The emotional intelligence site 6 seconds provide a wonderful infographic detailing a number of the benefits of EI including why employers value it.
Sourced from 6-Seconds EmotionalIQ-Infographic: http://www.6seconds.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/EmotionalIQ-Infographic.jpg
The story of Phineas Gage! Phineas was a foreman on a railroad work site and by all accounts a very good foreman and person.
While working one day with a colleague they became distracted which resulted in an accident that cause the crowbar he was using to be launched through his skull and removing a portion of his brain.
Phineas survived miraculously but was never the same. He lost the ability to regulate his emotions. His cognitive functioning was not affected but his ability to control his impulses was lost. The result was that people who knew him before the accident recognised the difference in his personality and his now aggressive behaviour. The old Phineas, fair foreman, and good colleague was gone forever.
Phineas lost his Emotional Intelligence
Let’s try to figure out how we might improve our EI to make us more effective resonant leaders.
The main proponents of the concept of Emotional Intelligence. Much of their research was based on earlier work by Edward Thorndike in the 1920’s (Interpersonal Intelligence), Howard Gardner in the 1980’s (Multiple Intelligences).
From what I have read in their research it appears there has been some discord between the researchers. In a paper by Mayer he refers to Goleman’s popularization of EI as creating a new management fad and comments that the “faddish appeal of emotional intelligence has encouraged many people engaged in otherwise legitimate business consultation to include a wide variety of approaches and concepts under the umbrella emotional intelligence.” (The effective leader: understanding and applying emotional intelligence, Mayer 2002)
Links to EI Test descriptions
BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory
Emotional & Social Competence Inventory
Emotional & Social Competence Inventory - U
Genos Emotional Intelligence Inventory
Group Emotional Competency Inventory
Mayer-Salovey-Caruso EI Test (MSCEIT)
Schutte Self Report EI Test
Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue)
Work Group Emotional Intelligence Profile
Wong's Emotional Intelligence Scale
I have used Goleman’s and Boyatzis’ definition in most of my works as I their research more accessible. You may not have heard of Richard Boyatzis but he is a distinguished professor at Case Western Reserve University (Weatherhead School of Management) and partnered with Daniel Goleman on much research related to EI.
Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding our own emotions
Self-management: Effectively managing our own emotions
Social awareness: Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others
Relationship management: Applying our emotional understanding in our dealings with others
Can you accurately self-assess your emotional state?
Suppose you have a meeting at 9am. Traffic is hell and you are running late. You may not make it for 9 but you have a few minutes before you need to make a call to postpone the meeting.
What is going through your mind right now as you sit in traffic?
If you make it to the office at 9, will you even be able to grab a cup of coffee?
What is that idiot doing at the traffic lights!!??
Will you get the chance to visit the restroom before you need to sit for an hour in the meeting?
What if you need to postpone – no, you’ll make it on time!
By the time you do get to the office, with 4 minutes to spare, how do you feel?
Understanding oneself and how ones physiology reacts to stimuli allows us to become aware of our behaviour.
Our view of ourselves rarely matches how others view us.
We are biased towards ourselves and our in-groups, or other relatedness groups.
Choosing to stop instead of reacting to stimuli, then choosing our ‘response’ to that stimulus helps to control the situation around us and avoid escalations.
It can also be said that emotions can be guided to our advantage. If I know the negotiations will be difficult, I may purposefully use anger to stop giving concessions where I might if I were happy.
Understanding my own emotions means I have some control of my responses in, for example, a negotiation or making a decision.
Self regulation is mostly about being able to control your emotions and responses to situations and other people. But it's also about feeling positive emotions and expressing positive emotions to others.
Social awareness is the ability of a Leader to understand the emotions of the team members around them and to get a good comprehension of their emotional makeup. The ability to treat people according to these emotional states is vital.
Empathy is the ability to understand and see things from other peoples perspectives, expertise in building and retaining talent, valuing diversity and appreciating the organisational goals. In essence this part of emotional intelligence then, is about understanding and being truly in touch with the complete demands of the environment and acting to suit those conditions.
Organisations awareness is the ability to understand the politics within an organization and how these affect the people working in them.
Leaders with good Relationship Management Skills are often very good communicators. Leaders who are good in this discipline are also good at conflict resolution and communicating the vision to team members, enlightening them and creating motivation and inspiration throughout the team. They are experts at getting their team to support them and believe in their leadership. They set the example, for others to follow by demonstrating the acceptable behaviours and values.
Resonance is the term used to explain how your emotions affect others and how their emotions affect you.
Being aware that emotions are contagious gives you an advantage in recognising how you have been affected.
In an emotionally charged situation, such as a employee review, it is important to understand your own and your counterparts emotional state. Having the ability to realise the situation and step into the others shoes to perceive how they may see the situation and react, can give you a great advantage.
7 – 9 hours sleep a night is essential for peak cognitive performance and enables us to ‘catch’ our amygdala hijacks in time.
Caffeine, late in the day, can impair our ability to sleep properly. It also stimulates the brain but needs to be used appropriately.
Meditation has been found to improve focus and improve our ability to better manage emotions and stay positive.
Reflection / Journaling can help us to make sense of events after they happen, to explore our triggers and reactions.
Recognising how our bodies react to triggers helps us ‘feel’ the warning signs that we have been hijacked.
Knowing how we feel helps us steer our reactions/responses.
Knowing how others may feel helps us steer our interactions with them.
Knowing what our values are, allows us to steer by our value system and avoid cognitive dissonance in our thinking that may trigger unwanted emotional states.