In the business world, managing directors face a variety of challenges when trying to develop their companies into successful and profitable enterprises. As business leaders they need to arm themselves with a set of skills and traits that will allow them to maximize their own potential and the potential of their staff, and thereby maximize profits. But how do successful business leaders get investors, employees and consumers to trust their vision and ideas? The answer is through effective leadership and at the heart of that lies the concept of personal development. There are no magic formulas for success but as LEAP’s John Raftery explains, there are 5 key factors in personal development for managing directors that can influence your company’s bottom line.
“The key factor that dictates success in any endeavour, whether it’s in a business, a family, social settings or in a community, is emotional intelligence. The concept has been around for years, but essentially the most successful people in all walks of life are people who have high levels of emotional intelligence. What defines emotional intelligence more than anything else is self-awareness. There are lots of techniques to develop it such as psychometric tests and personality testing, but essentially what you need to do is devote a lot of time to reflecting on your behaviours, your attitudes and emotional responses to situations. It’s about questioning yourself and trying to reflect as much as possible in order to build up self-awareness. The reason why self-awareness is fundamental to emotional intelligence is because without it you won’t know what needs to change, or what issues need to be addressed in the way you behave. Self-awareness is the foundation to good personal development and making an impact on the world around us. Without it we are lost and it’s a never ending quest. We can spend our whole lives developing and honing self-awareness.”
“There are two types of motivation; intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. By intrinsic motivation I mean you are motivated internally, by something you want to achieve or gain for yourself in order to find personal fulfilment. Extrinsic motivation is where you are motivated by external factors such as status, money or power. Both internal and external motivation can be quite strong and lead you to achieving huge success, but ultimately intrinsic motivation is the stronger of the two because that always remains with you. And linking that back to self-awareness; the more awareness you have, the more you can tap into your source of motivation to drive you on.”
3. Self- Efficacy
“The third element is one of the more important ones. Self-efficacy is the ability to control your responses and your emotions without being stoic or frigid in your responses. In other words you give the appropriate response in appropriate situations. You can decide what your response is in a particular situation and you can control your behaviours. That includes behaviours relating to alcohol, exercise or diet and more importantly having control over your emotional responses. It means accepting you are in control of your emotional responses.”
“The fourth element is the one that is most lacking in the world today. Essentially empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, to see things from their point of view. All conflict comes from a lack of empathy, from major conflicts to minor ones. People who are psychopathic have no empathy at all so they can’t feel another person’s pain. They can’t relate to other people. People with high levels of empathy can tune into other people and read situations better. They are better at reading the emotional responses of the people they’re trying to manage, or motivate or develop or relate to in some way. They are much better listeners than talkers, and by listening more you learn a lot more. There’s an old truism that God gave us two ears and one mouth and we should use them in that proportion. Listen twice as much as you speak. Allow others to speak without interrupting. Often when we are in conversation we are thinking about what we are going to say next rather than listening to what others are actually saying, and being inquisitive about what others are saying to us.”
5. Social Dexterity
“The last thing is what I call social dexterity which, at its most basic level, means interacting with other people. Basic things like shaking people’s hands, how you look them in the eye, and what your body language says about you. How confident are you in certain situations? How assertive are you? How do you relate to others in your network? How do you communicate with people? Can you actually lead teams or teams of teams? Can you lead an organisation? Can you relate to and manage large numbers of people? Social dexterity is something we try to develop in our children; we try to make them socially comfortable. We try to get them to relate to their peers, to get them to develop leadership skills through sport and so on. Ultimately this is the foundation that should lead people to greater levels of social dexterity further down the line. It’s one of the key components of leadership. I believe if an individual can develop the five key areas of self-awareness, understanding motivations, develop high levels of self-efficacy and empathy, and are comfortable and assertive in terms of social dexterity, then you’re looking at an individual that can have a great deal of influence on the people they come into contact with.”