Strong interpersonal skills are a sign of a high EQ
Strong interpersonal skills are a sign of a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). Highly emotionally intelligent individuals are likely to become transformational leaders. In this article, you will find out how transformational leadership was the key to the Kenes Group successful transition through the turbulent times of the COVID-19 pandemic, showcasing a method that associations can use to nurture their boards and members’ leadership skills.
In March 2020, when the world went on an unprecedented global lockdown, several associations were counting on Kenes Group to deliver top of the line professional conferences within the following few months. The 2nd Focus Meeting on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases, AAT-AD/PD™ 2020, scheduled to take place in Vienna in April, was turned to fully virtual by Kenes in under three weeks. From April to October of the same year, in a record time of six months, the Kenes IT team designed, developed, and coded their self-owned events platform, VirtuOz, while simultaneously operating many other virtual meetings relying on third-party suppliers.
“With COVID-19 everything changed – IT suddenly became the focus, the all-around player. It was challenging but we managed because we held meetings at least twice a week to keep the information flowing. Soon we understood the magnitude of the changes that we were bringing to the company, leading it on a new path. Everyone worked more than 300 hours a month to make this possible”, explains Uzi Drori, Information Systems Director at Kenes Group.
These remarkable results were an outcome of the Kenes long cultivated transformational leaders, who day to day create a vision beyond their immediate self-interest that influences their teams to perform over their perceived capabilities. Transformational leaders have high quotients of emotional intelligence, which is the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions through strong essential, interpersonal skills such as active listening, decision-making, rapport, assertiveness, and empathy.
The five characteristics of transformational leaders, according to the Full Range Leadership Model (FRLM), are known as the 5Is: idealised attributes (IA), idealised behaviours (IB), inspirational motivation (IM), intellectual stimulation (IS), and individualised consideration (IC). These are directly correlated to the abovementioned essential interpersonal skills, intrinsic to leaders who build trust, act with integrity, inspire others, encourage innovative thinking and coach people who ultimately deliver in an outstanding manner.
With the understanding that leadership itself is an emotion-laden process, Kenes Group has nurtured a family-like culture, legacy of the founder Gideon Rivlin who passed away in January 2021 and whose son, Dan Rivlin, is currently leading the business. CEO Dan Rivlin’s approach to the unprecedented circumstances brought by the global pandemic involved the implementation of Situation Rooms with the Management and companywide monthly updates since April 2020 to establish direct communication with his employees regarding administrative decisions.
“It seemed that during this period with fewer meetings, somehow we communicated more and more efficiently. We saw it internally, within the different teams, departments, and offices alike, who, inspired by Dan Rivlin’s updates and transparency, also made sure to communicate more efficiently together. We also observed the same improvement in the exchange with our clients. While before we may have relied on the perfect time to get together in-person to discuss important matters, the situation forced quicker and more open conversations. We all entered another level of togetherness, convening from our homes, being more authentic, empathetic and real,” commented Idit Reisner, Director of Operations at Kenes Group.
From a psychological standpoint, “mood effects” are cognitive and behavioural group responses to their leaders’ goals, intentions, and attitudes; this is also known as emotional contagion and explains why charismatic leaders influence others and drive what is called group affective tone. Leaders who are effective at managing the group’s affective tone have a greater impact on team coordination, effort, expenditure, and task strategy.
Active listening, decision-making, rapport, assertiveness, and empathy are only a few of the essential, interpersonal skills that give individuals the ability to understand each other at deeper levels. Associations can enable such necessary communication processes, that allow teams to successfully perform and deliver in unprecedented circumstances, and reinforce transformational leadership within their boards, as well as with their members.
This article first appeared in IAPCO’s The PCO, December 2021.