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New Workforce Demands New Type of CEO

In the recent blog “Is Workplace EQ More Important than IQ?” we discussed why EQ can be arguably more important than IQ and how there has been a recent trend in focusing on the importance of Emotional Intelligence and soft skills in the workplace.  A survey conducted by London’s Cass Business School and the executive-search firm Odgers Berndtson, further advances support for EQ being just as, or more important than IQ.

In “Want to Be CEO? Get In Touch With Your Softer Side”, an article featured in the Wall Street Journal, author Javier Espinoza discusses the implications of the study,  saying “it was found that ‘82% of managers believe that leaders of the post-Baby Boomer era will need to develop so-called ‘feminine’ skills to motivate their workers.”

In the past, leadership was typically defined by traits that were stereotypically “masculine”, but according to the survey, new generations entering the workforce will be more successful being directed by leaders who have more “feminine traits”. Richard Boggis-Rolfe, the chair of Odgers Berndtson, states “those [feminine] traits include emotional intelligence, flexibility, and a talent for instilling workers with a sense of purpose.”

We can understand these categories of “feminine” and “masculine” traits by referring to TRACOM’s 50-year history of understanding different behavioral styles and recent data on SOCIAL STYLE and gender.  Women tend to be more Amiable and Expressive (60% combined), while men typically tend to be Analytical and Driving (57% combined). This tells us that many women are more comfortable showing their emotions, which according to the results of the survey, is something CEOs need to learn to do.

Another skill consistently rated as crucial for senior leaders is the ability to provide feedback. SOCIAL STYLE data again shows that women have higher Feedback skills on average than men. These findings provide evidence of the so-called “feminine skills” that could improve the workplace, especially as members of Generation Y enter the workforce.

TRACOM chief executive John R. Myers works with CEOs and believes that most top executives recognize the need for these new leadership skills.  “In the past, most CEOs took pride in being primarily focused on the bottom line,” Myers says.  “But there is a growing belief that business success is the result of engaging their employees and creating collaboration, not the other way around.  These leaders are looking for ways to develop their own individual emotional intelligence and that of their organization.”

Anyone is capable of adding more skills to their toolbelt. TRACOM’s Casey Mulqueen touches on how CEOs can learn to develop these “feminine traits” and improve their workplace skills. “For CEOs who want to improve their leadership abilities, it’s really a matter of slowing down, paying better attention, and responding to what others are saying and doing. The traditional ‘masculine’ approach was to act quickly, decisively, and independently. While these traits are certainly helpful in some situations, there are many more circumstances that call for seeking out others’ opinions, displaying an understanding of those opinions, and communicating with employees in a way that is personally meaningful for them. Even hard-nosed CEOs can learn these new behaviors, and, for them, the sooner the better.”

To develop your own emotional intelligence, TRACOM offers a weekly EQ tip.


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