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Relational intelligence for leading responsibly in a connected world

Author: Pless, Nicola M. ; Maak, Thomas In: Academy of Management conference proceedings - Book Language: EnglishDescription: p. I1-I6.Type of document: INSEAD ChapterNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: In this paper we argue that organizations and their leaders face profound challenges in a global and connected world. To navigate successfully in the 21st century, executives have to deal with an ethics challenge, a diversity challenge, a business in society challenge and a stakeholder challenge. These challenges also shape their leadership roles and responsibilities, which have a relational dimension. The need to interact with different stakeholders from vari-ous cultural backgrounds both inside and outside the organization, with different interests and values, requires leaders to connect and to act interpersonally and ethically competent. We therefore suggest that leaders need relational intelligence to cope emotionally and ethically mature with the leadership challenges at hand. We define relational intelligence as a combination of emotional and ethical intelligence, that involves the ability to be aware of and under-stand own and others' emotions, values, interests and demands, to discriminate among them, to critically reflect on them and to use this information to guide one's action and behaviour with respect to people. Based on this definition we suggest and introduce a preliminary model of relational intelligence. Drawing on case examples we show how relational intelligence (informed by emotional and ethical abilities) can guide leadership behaviour in interactions helping leaders deal with complex ethical and cultural dilemmas and make balanced and responsible decisions. We postulate that relational intelligence can support global leaders to meet the leadership challenges by guiding them to interact adequately across borders and to build sustainable and trustful relationships to various stakeholders.
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In this paper we argue that organizations and their leaders face profound challenges in a global and connected world. To navigate successfully in the 21st century, executives have to deal with an ethics challenge, a diversity challenge, a business in society challenge and a stakeholder challenge. These challenges also shape their leadership roles and responsibilities, which have a relational dimension. The need to interact with different stakeholders from vari-ous cultural backgrounds both inside and outside the organization, with different interests and values, requires leaders to connect and to act interpersonally and ethically competent. We therefore suggest that leaders need relational intelligence to cope emotionally and ethically mature with the leadership challenges at hand. We define relational intelligence as a combination of emotional and ethical intelligence, that involves the ability to be aware of and under-stand own and others' emotions, values, interests and demands, to discriminate among them, to critically reflect on them and to use this information to guide one's action and behaviour with respect to people. Based on this definition we suggest and introduce a preliminary model of relational intelligence. Drawing on case examples we show how relational intelligence (informed by emotional and ethical abilities) can guide leadership behaviour in interactions helping leaders deal with complex ethical and cultural dilemmas and make balanced and responsible decisions. We postulate that relational intelligence can support global leaders to meet the leadership challenges by guiding them to interact adequately across borders and to build sustainable and trustful relationships to various stakeholders.

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