The focus for leaders and coaches within sport has shifted well beyond the X’s and the O’s, and even beyond accounting for the value of superior physical capabilities. Of course, the tactics, technique and physical abilities of individual athletes and teams will always be important, but the most crucial asset which drives the other components has emerged – Emotional Capital.
Emotional Capital, as described by Dr. Martyn Newman in his book – Emotional Capitalists: The Ultimate Guide to Developing Emotional Intelligence for Leaders - refers to the value created within an organisation by the positive morale, engagement and commitment to the brand demonstrated by all members of staff who work there.
Building the stocks of Emotional Capital within a sporting organisation can lead to a considerable advantage – both at board room level and on the field of play – and leaders and coaches who are able to cultivate this throughout their organisation, are characterised by high levels of Emotional Intelligence (EI).
EI refers to the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, as well as recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others, which in turn drives their behaviour. And the great news is, this ability can be trained and developed through focussing on and building 10 key competencies.
Leaders who have well-developed levels of emotional intelligence are more confident, resilient, and are better at forming meaningful relationships and cultivating a shared identity. They have developed the capacity to inspire a team to action from within and get them driving towards a common goal.
At RocheMartin, we have been fortunate enough to work with some high profile leaders within the world of sport to help them develop their EI, to enhance their performance. For example, Stuart Lancaster – now assistant coach at Leinster Rugby – often refers to the importance of emotional intelligence for leadership success, and we have worked with him over the years to help him hone his so-called ‘soft skills.’
Changes in technology, the workplace and the economy have had a profound impact on how organisations evaluate and create value. In the modern world of sport, athletes and employees have higher expectations of their employer - their values have changed, and they care about different things than before. Athletes want more than to win at all costs, employees want to work for more than just a pay check. They want their work to matter, they don’t want to be treated like robots and they want to feel part of something bigger than themselves.
Emotions drive our behaviour, shape our relationships, our most important decisions and even our economy.
Following an extensive review of the research on the relationship between several models of EI over a 10-year period, RocheMartin founders and psychologists - Dr. Martyn Newman and Judy Purse - identified ten social and emotional competencies closely linked to leadership performance. They described this model as Emotional Capital because it focussed sharply on the value that these competencies add to driving success in the workplace. Research within both sport and business using the model culminated in the creation of a psychometric tool specifically designed to measure these competencies – the Emotional Capital Report (ECR).
Empathy, Self-Confidence, Relationship skills and Adaptability are just four of the competencies within the ECR model, and developing them should be a fundamental component of any current or future leader’s continuous professional development. Not only will this help them manage their own emotional responses, adapt to change and sustain performance during the constantly evolving world of sport, but it will help them understand and influence the behaviour of others to achieve successful outcomes.
The importance of EI for leadership success was reinforced in a recent interview series carried out by the team at Global Sports Jobs focused on advice for first time leaders. Published in December last year, the video series involved interviewing a number of leaders from the world of sport and they were asked to share some insights that would be useful to people who might be stepping into leadership positions.
And what underpinned all of the advice that they shared? The critical role that emotional intelligence competencies play. For example, Mark Parkman, General Manager of the IOC, suggested that in order to be successful, future leaders need to be able to adapt to the pace of change and remain open-minded – both key behaviours which form the basis of Adaptability.
Emotions are involved with everything a sporting organisation does. Emotions determine whether or not people will work well with you, recruit you, or like you. Importantly, Emotional Capital eventually shows up in on-field performance and ultimately, financial performance.
This article was written by Roche Martin, leaders in emotional intelligence, mindfulness and leadership. Their EQ Sports Report is the world's first assessment tool to measure the key performance competencies compiled through the assessment of the world's top performance athletes.
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