Emotional Intelligence and Diversity

30th Oct 2013


It is now commonly accepted that it is good for the bottom line to have diversity of thinking within the leadership team.  Different perspectives gained from a team with different backgrounds and experiences.

And yet ‘difference’ is not always easily tolerated within the workplace, instead differences have traditionally been played down. There is a basic human need to ‘fit in’ to be part of a community to be accepted as ‘one of the team’ in short to be like those around us. This is played out in leadership programmes around the globe that have been designed to enable women to ‘get ahead’ programmes that encourage them to lean in, speak up, self promote, network - in short do all the things that traditionally lead to a promotion.

However, many of these skills do not come naturally to women and require then to ‘fake it until you make it’. As I write this I realize how many senior women I have had that very conversation with. Of course this strategy does work and will lead to successes –by changing actions we can change our mindset.

But, how authentic is it?

Authenticity is one of the key competencies of emotional intelligent leadership. A comprehensive study of leadership culture from ‘The Leadership Circle’ TM analyses the effectiveness of 200,000 leaders globally finding that those with the strongest emotional intelligence are leading the most successful companies. These leaders are good at fostering collaboration and responsiveness excelling in skills such as empathy, conflict management, self - awareness and integrity.  Competencies that come naturally to women are now recognized as harnessing a culture that inspire and motivate teams.

Instead of asking our female leaders to ‘lean in’ perhaps we should be asking them to ‘show up’.

In this way we will be harnessing the emotional intelligence of leadership teams while fostering diversity that already exists.

When we talk about diversity we are talking about encouraging and accepting difference.

You want a diverse leadership team?

Invite the women- just as they are.


Beacon Women use ‘The Leadership Circle Culture Survey’ TM to analyse key leadership behaviors and internal assumptions that lead to high achievement organizational culture.





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Emotional Intelligence and Diversity