Emotional intelligence underpins leadership development for senior managers

The client

A major UK based Investment Banking Group.

The context

The organisation's success depended upon a core group of senior managers, across all functions, leading teams of highly skilled and professional individuals.

Handling large portfolios across global markets and the vital 'back office' support services, these teams were responsible for researching and marketing new products and services, as well as generating wealth through investment fund management.

The need

Whilst the organisation was highly successful and continuing to grow, it had been identified that the potential of the leadership team had reached a plateau. This manifested itself in a leader's ability to develop and retain highly skilled asset managers, or in their less-than-collaborative dealings with other departments.

There was no single problem, just a recognition that these high performers could achieve more individually and collectively. However, what had been clearly identified was that the barriers were not due to technical skill or knowledge gaps, but to the way individuals managed themselves or interacted with others.

The solution

Working with the HR Business partner and members of the Senior Team a connection was made between leadership potential and Emotional Intelligence (EI/EQ). A residential leadership programme was then developed that allowed these senior managers to:

  • participate in a 360 degree Emotional Intelligence exercise to generate information on themselves as seen by the individual and by significant others
  • explore their leadership skills through using experiential exercises thereby generating real data to compare with current self perceptions and the EI reported information
  • understand a language that described the self management and interpersonal skills needed for highly effective leadership and recognise how these skills could be developed and used in practice
  • develop and practice the vital development skills of noticing; giving and receiving high quality feedback
  • create a personal development plan and a collective action plan within the leadership cadre to implement changes upon return to the office. This included the option for individuals to return and co-facilitate on future programmes, thereby improving their people development skills

Outcomes so far:

  • Greater self awareness and specific development plans for each individual;
  • Greater effectiveness reported by individuals in their self management or when leading others;
  • Enhanced collaboration between teams;
  • Presentations and recommendations by programme participants to the Chief Executive;
  • A commitment that the programme was to be rolled out across all senior managers over the next few years to establish a common language and approach across the whole leadership team.