This past week I learned to administer the EQ-i 2.0, a leading assessment of emotional intelligence (EI). During my training I came across a stunning statistic: 72% of the reasons leaders fail are attributable to their neglect of two factors – interpersonal relationships and self-management.  These are building blocks of emotional intelligence.

In his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith identifies 20 specific behaviors that senior leaders often exhibit to their detriment.  Below are a few examples.  Do any of them sound familiar?

  • Adding too much value: the overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
  • Making destructive comments: the needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
  • Passing judgment: : the need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  • Speaking when angry: using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  • Refusing to express regret: the inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.

Whether we are in formal leadership positions or “merely” leading our lives, we do well to pay attention to the ways we manage ourselves and the impact of our behavior on others.

We can begin by identifying one habit that we would like to change.  We can then ask ourselves, what is one small step I can take to begin changing it?  Then, as Marshal Goldsmith prescribes for the CEOs whom he coaches, we can “go public” by telling the person(s) most affected that we are committed to changing that behavior.  Finally, we can ask for their support by gently reminding us when we fall short and affirming us as we change.  Doesn’t this process seem like the emotionally intelligent thing to do?