Max is a successful financial officer at a New York-based company that recently acquired a banking institution in two southern states. Max will take over the recently acquired southern footprint as the new regional CEO.

The newly acquired banking institution has a long-standing reputation as a friendly institution with traditional values, and it prides itself on its exemplary customer service. The current staff has prepared a comprehensive package outlining the bank's vision and key customer success stories that demonstrate their commitment to exemplary service and low customer and employee turnover.

It is Monday morning and Max has called a meeting at 8 a.m. Max arrives at 7 a.m. and is surprised to find only a couple of employees in the building. Max begins the meeting at 8 a.m. sharp, and the auditorium seats are half-filled. Max is perplexed at the turnout but begins the meeting. "Shareholder value is what it's all about. We are the stewards of this organization, and we have a responsibility to the shareholders."

Silence echoes in Max's ears. He continues by stating, "I expect total dedication. If you cannot commit to our new vision and strategies then this is not the right place for you. Commitment starts by being on time." Max motioned to the staff standing next to the auditorium doors to close the doors. "If you can't be here on time, then you can't play in our sandbox."

Later that afternoon, Max met with the executive team and outlined the strategies, goals, numbers, and deadlines. A meeting was held with senior staff members responsible for reporting progress. Market growth numbers were up, and new business numbers were increasing.

A quarter later Max had the quarterly report results. The region was on target. However, turnover increased 25 percent. Involuntary turnover was up 10 percent. Previous customer numbers were decreasing, and customer complaints were increasing. He reviewed the report with his staff. When he asked for input, his request was greeted with silence. He sensed an uneasy feeling in the room.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an ability to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of yourself and others. Daniel Goleman's groundbreaking work on emotional intelligence groups leadership competencies into four buckets: self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Highly effective leaders incorporate all four competencies. Remember the following guidelines when working on leadership and organizational effectiveness projects:

  • Stop and find out the purpose. Is it feasible to link this initiative to business goals and help drive results?
  • Find executive champions and internal stakeholders who can open the doors to link the initiative to business goals and drive results.
  • Determine existing structures and systems that will support the initiative with transparency.
  • Use assessment tools.
  • Incorporate emotional intelligence behaviors to existing learning initiatives.
  • Establish a leadership program to help drive results.
  • Incorporate a coaching and action-planning process.
  • Assess your reward and recognition systems.

How would you rate Max's emotional intelligence? By remembering the four competencies of emotional intelligence, his quarterly results numbers may have been different.