The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. — Kenneth Blanchard Click To Tweet

By, Dr. Pamelyn Witteman
You might ask what a Resonant Leader is? I would be happy to tell you.

Resonance comes from the Latin word “resonare”, or to resound or more specifically, “by synchronous vibration”.  You could think of it like two people being on the same wavelength emotionally. They are “in synch”.

It is very important for a leader to display these characteristics. A resonant leader is attuned to others feelings and helps move people in a positive emotional direction. A resonant leader creates positive emotions in people when they speak authentically because a resonant leader speaker forms their own values and emotions. In the workplace, a resonant leader will tend to create a positive environment for the employees. Employees tend to share more ideas and learn more from one another, which will be beneficial to a company due to the employee feeling like they are needed. In addition, a resonant leader will leave an employee feeling uplifted and inspired even during hard times.

Resonance comes naturally to emotionally intelligent (EI) leaders. EI leaders are passionate about the cause or the workplace. In the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly  Effective People” written by Steven Covey, he discusses the following habits of an  effective leader:

  • Be Proactive
  • Begin with the End in mind
  • Put first things first
  • Think win/win
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • Synergism
  • Sharpen the saw

Being proactive is recognizing your responsibility and taking an initiative to make things happen.

To begin with the end means to know where you are going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction ( Covey, 1989, p. 98).

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For example, in one of my jobs, I knew that I needed to make the facility better and I knew how to get there, so I was always trying to make good decisions to move the facility in the right direction.

According to Covey, putting first things first is effective management. When the leadership of a corporation decides what “first things” are, it is management that puts them first, day-to-day, moment-by-moment. For example, you go into a meeting with your superiors and they want you to head a project, so you leave that meeting knowing what you have to put first and create a team etc. You can begin the project and keep it running day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

We all know what thinking win/win is. To win/win is when everything becomes mutually beneficial in a situation and all parties are feeling good about the decision. For example, in pilot pay negotiations, they agreed to a pay cut. This is a win/win situation for both because the pilots will not lose their jobs and the airline will save some money.

Seeking first to understand, then to be understood is learning to listen to someone. For example, when you seek first to understand by listening to the conversation. People usually listen to reply and not with the intent to understand, but if you would listen to another with the intent to understand, then they can be understood. This is done through Empathetic Listening.

We all know what synergy is…(working together to create a better outcome or two heads are better than one).

Sharpen the saw is really sharpening “YOU” by taking a break and sharpening the physical, social/emotional, spiritual, and mental health of yourself, which are the motivators. When you express all four motivations, it means exercising all four dimensions of our nature. For example, you might have a stressful week and you take a hot bath and you relax, take a step back and begin to analyze your life or sharpen your mind to battle another day.

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Now with all this said, we come to Self-Directed Learning and the five discoveries from the Primal Leadership text. Self-directed learning is developing or strengthening an aspect of who you are or who you want to be (Goleman, 2002, p. 109). To illustrate, when you seek to change habits in your life and practice them, they become part of your real self and the cycle continues. It is a lifelong process of growth.

The idea is to use all the five discoveries as a tool for making changes needed to become an Emotional Intelligent Leader.

Ideal self = who I want to be.
Real Self= who am I/strengths, my gaps.
My learning = building on my strengths while reducing gaps.
My experimenting = practicing new behaviors.

Developing relationships = trusting relationships that help, support, and encourage each step in the process.

It is difficult to break bad habits, but there is always time to add good habits in our loves that will help us become better leaders in our organizations, so start to adopt the 7 habits and see where they lead you. It is worth it!

Covey, S. (1989). The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

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