Making Boardroom Decisions With Emotional Intelligence

This month we revisit an all important topic; Emotional Intelligence (EI). It’s come up in my conversations quite a lot. From clients, networking contacts and even a friend’s kid, to the most remarkable discussion with my executive mentoring client, Fred. We talked about how making boardroom decisions with emotional intelligence is more crucial now; more than ever before.

Board Decisions and Emotional Intelligence

So how does EI apply to boardroom decisions? What does it take for leaders and the wider stakeholders to make better or more impactful decisions?

Over the last few years, I have been fascinated by and researched quite a bit about the connection between the mental and emotional faculties, when it comes to making decisions.

Dare I say I kind of freaked out the first time I heard that we could use our hearts to think and make decisions? This was about 4 years ago. I subsequently explored practicing this on my own, then encouraged my clients to trial it; both at home and at work. The feedback I received has been so positive, impactful and fascinating.

We can make decisions that serve us, others and our organisations better when we understand the concept of the connection between mental and emotional decision making.

My sales and sales leadership folk would agree: people make an emotional decision to buy, then find the logical decision to make it happen (e.g. budget).

I watched a documentary not too long ago which highlights the scientific evidence behind this. Simply put, there are brain-like cells in the heart which give the heart it’s thinking abilities. The decisions made with the heart in conjunction with the mind are of a higher quality. The person making this decision considers a wider variety of angles and then innately gets convinced that this is the right decision for all parties, before making it.

In other words, there is less guessing, hidden agenda, fear or uncertainty involved. It is a more human-centred decision. It is only more recently that I made the link that emotional intelligence and leadership decision making is very much aligned to this concept.

The Personal Angle of Emotional Intelligence

It is now well recognised that when a person experiences trauma, it is registered in two places; the mind and the heart.

Addressing this trauma in the mind alone, e.g. by thinking about it, analysing or rationalising it, makes the healing incomplete; the heart footprint has not been erased

Gregg Braden* makes reference to this by saying that we know this intuitively. He talks about his research with indigenous people and other cultures where people make a hand to chest gesture as a greeting, human-to-human connection or reinforcement of the self. The self resides a lot more in the heart than it does in the mind.

Why Making Boardroom Decisions with Emotional Intelligence Matters

Being individually well convinced that our decisions serve us, others, our organisations and the wider group of stakeholders creates a stronger collective decision that moves both our people and organisations forward for growth. This is even more crucial in times of change and uncertainty. Learn more about our Board Advisory programme. It is designed to enable us adapt better for growth.

Actionable Advice

So, do you have an important decision to make today? Think about it, ask the question to your mind, then ask your heart too. Another way of saying this is ‘drop the thought from your head into your heart’. Remember to listen for the answer.

Your answer is doubly validated, connecting you to who you really are and the responsibility or impact you contribute to your Board. That is what emotional intelligence is all about in its simplest form. It makes stating our case for making a decision easier. It enables us to powerfully convey the importance of winning both hearts and minds in every speech and important decision we make.

Maggie Sarfo is a passionate author, speaker, advisor and mentor for inspirational leaders and organisations looking to adapt for exponential growth or access their highest potential. This blog is her playground, where she explores the topics of business growth, personal growth, purpose and peak performance. Learn more about her programmes.

*Ref: The ANCIENT Technique To Making Tough Decisions | Gregg Braden
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5 thoughts on “Making Boardroom Decisions With Emotional Intelligence”

  1. This is an excellent article Maggie, and I strongly agree that emotional intelligence is a hugely underrated strength when it comes to leaders. So much of our intuition and subconscious intelligence is suppressed because we think head thinking alone is the way!

    1. So good to hear your perspective Michelle and I agree. We need more balance in using all our decision making faculties, not just the head.

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