Business Leadership: A skill or quality?


The role of a leader

A business leader is a goal-driven personality with sufficient knowledge of the relevant market, consumer demands, supply chain, socio-economic factors, legislation, technological advancement, political influences, environment, and demographics to successfully guide a group of people in his company to fulfill one common objective. He has to maintain the integrity of his firm by ensuring internal co-operation and labor management. His plan of action determines how the end-users benefit from an economic activity executed by his employees. He needs to set effective protocols for his staff to follow in the wake of unprecedented adversity.

The importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business Leadership

Although many theories of business leadership focus on the goal-driven managerial skills of the leader, yet only a few theories focus on his emotional intelligence. Just like Artificial Intelligence requires an algorithm for execution, human beings require a set of protocols for executing particular tasks. For example, once a person learns how to enter data into particular software, he will execute the same at a faster rate the next time he receives data. However, the rate-limiting factors in the execution of these tasks are emotions. For example, A person who is emotionally overwhelmed by anxiety will propel themselves towards finishing a task promptly to avoid the confrontation with a possible error they might commit in the task. And during such states of mind, human errors do tend to get neglected by the perpetrator. An emotionally intelligent business leader can recognize such emotions to the grass-roots level and positively act upon them. He will not intimidate an already anxious person as he understands that the sole bearer of his actions will be the business.

An effective business leader neither reprimands an anxious employee nor intimidates them but rather motivates them through positive reinforcement. In the above-mentioned example, an emotionally intelligent business leader will often lay out buffers for the committed errors without necessarily demotivating the person and at the same time give momentary breaks or uncomplicated tasks for the person to revive. Thus, his emotional intelligence relies solely on the concept of empathy, the urgency of thought, and an understanding of his emotional capabilities. Differences in emotional capabilities are often the reason for the rift between CHRO and CEO in a company. In most companies, CHROs manage human resources algorithmically rather than smartly. While they feel disempowered to apply emotional intelligence for HR, CEOs are entitled are to use their emotional understanding for altering the dynamics of an organization provided it is non-discriminatory.

Buffering is the art of amplifying the resilience of an association (in this case, a group of employees) through momentary re-assortment of effort amongst the constituent individuals in response to unavoidable individual emotional inconsistencies, with importance placed more on emotional compensation than financial compensation. The individuals that need buffering are called headliners. In the previously mentioned example, the anxious person is the headliner. The degree of buffering in a company is a direct measure of the emotional intelligence of its leader. In an ideal situation where buffering is recognized by a company as a concept, the degree of buffering can be formulated as follows:

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It is clear from the above formula that as the total number of employees increases the degree of buffering in a company decreases due to an unavoidable increase in the number of unskilled laborers who serve to camouflage the headliners for the CEO to notice. As the skilled employee count increases, buffering can be safely increased by the CEO without a significant impact on the economic activities of the company. Similarly, there is a correlation between the working hours of the concerned headliners with their degree of buffering. However, the formula does not apply to all workers as a company can host more than one skill. Hence, the degree of buffering can be calculated for one kind of skilled laborer (usually with the core skills such as a doctor in a hospital) and then extrapolated to the other workers as well or calculate their degree of buffering separately. Buffering should be non-discriminatory based on gender, caste, creed, sexual orientation etc.

Business leadership as an amalgamation of human virtue and acquired skills

Taking into consideration the importance of emotional intelligence in the success of a business, leadership has become a skill delimited by human virtues such as empathy and compassion. A business leader who takes into account the “humanness” of his subordinates and treats them with compassion can be considered a true business leader.

Sources and references : Business Leadership in the Large Corporation by Robert Aaron Gordon

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