Anyone who has worked in healthcare for a period of time knows that some physicians have a fantastic bedside manner and other physicians can have terrible bedside manner. The incredible phenomenon that results is that a physician with great bedside manner can have a great reputation even if their skills as a physician may be limited. The opposite of that is also true; a physician with poor bedside manner and a superb skill set can have a terrible reputation. The goal of course it to excel at both, great bedside manner and great skill set. Doctors who are both are considered gifted.
The same holds true for leaders. Gifted leaders use both their heart and their head. Leaders need the intellectual capacity to handle the challenges they face, but intellect alone does not make an effective leader. Effective leaders walk the talk. Effective leaders understand that leadership is about both what they do AND how they do it.
Authors Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, in their book Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, describe a concept they refer to as the open loop. The human brain is an open loop reliant on connections with others for our emotional stability. In addition to our emotions, other people can actually change our physiology including sleep rhythm, cardiovascular function, hormone levels and even immune function. Negative vibes from another lead to negative outcomes for group members while positive vibes lead to positive outcomes.
The authors site a study of 62 CEOs to make their point. The CEOs and their management teams were assessed on how upbeat they were and the level of conflict routinely experienced within their group. The researchers discovered that the more positive the moods of the people were in top management, the more cooperative they worked together and the better the company’s business results. The longer a company was run by a top management team that were more negative and did not get along well with each other, the poorer the company’s business results.
How effective are you at walking the talk? Are you leading with your heart and you head? Even if you are not a physician, how’s your bedside manner?