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Three L's of Leadership

Page history last edited by Brandi Jackson 8 years, 9 months ago


Three L's of Leadership


Faye Altman

September 10, 2014

1:00pm - 4:00pm

University Center

Rose Room

3 Credit Hours



  • Define emotional intelligence
  • Assess and understand individual emotional intelligence
  • Learn primary skills that lead to improved emotional intelligence
  • Create an individual plan for emotional intelligence development


What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others.  Being able to navigate emotions is an important skill because it increases your awareness so that you are better equipped to manage yourself and your relationship with others.  Navigating personalities and having high emotional knowledge can be a huge benefit in the organizational setting.  Organizations are made up of many people with many different personalities and emotional intelligence levels.  Being able to be adaptable to all dimensions is crucial for helping the organization succeed. However, some people have extreme difficulty in assessing their emotions and transferring those feelings into words.  How can we increase our EI?


We can increase our EI by first knowing our own emotions.  You have to be able to read yourself before you can read others.  Being able to differentiate between emotions is difficult because everyone experiences situations differently.  However, if you can accurately differentiate between your own emotions, reading the emotions of others will not be as difficult.  As humans, we naturally observe others around us.  We look at facial features and body language as a way of determining mood before we even speak to another person.  However, if you cannot correctly read emotions, then any social situation becomes sticky.  Two sides exist for EI:

  1. Self side
  2. Social side (other).

The self side of EI focuses on the inner self and whether or not you can accurately identify and navigate your own emotions.  The social side deals with being able to successfully navigate others' emotions.  These sides should be approached in a hierarchical manner because it is difficult to promote emotional and intellectual growth in others if you cannot achieve this for yourself.


The Importance of EI

Some organizations scoff at the benefits of EI because businesses are supposed to be professional and "outside emotions decrease productivity."  However, most organizations also rely heavily on team work and group camaraderie to be successful.  If employees' emotions are ignored, the interpersonal work relationships can be destroyed.  This will open the doors for negative affect to spread throughout the organization causing the staff to be controlled by these negative emotions.  A person's mood affects how they perceive and approach situations.  Being able to navigate these moods to the benefit of the organization can be critical in maintaining balance within the organization.


Applying EI

How does EI differ from IQ?  A person's IQ measures how well he learns and is an inborn ability.  IQ is stagnant and does not have the ability to change over time.   On the other hand, EI is strictly the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of the self and others.  EI is not stagnant and can change over time, depending on multiple variables (i.e., death of a family member, massive distress, age, promotion, etc.).  Individuals below the age of fifty have been found to have a higher level of EI than those over fifty.  This desensitization can be caused by multiple aging factors (i.e., increased health risks).  Also, those who obtain higher status or job authority experience a decrease in EI.  Promotions may affect individuals because of the lack of camaraderie they now feel with those who are now subordinates.  


Although ever-changing, emotions are always present.  Emotions affect all situations and it is the ability to acknowledge and navigate those emotions that will cause employees to be successful or fail.  EI breaks down to whether or not the individual has people skills.  These skills relate directly to EI and are becoming more recognizable benefits for supervisory positions within organizations.


EI Assessment

After discussing EI, the class was instructed to complete an emotional intelligence assessment (page 3).  This assessment included 12 statements to be rated on a scale from 1 (low/seldom) to 5 (high/ very often).  Once all twelve items were rated, we added up the numbers to complete our EI score.  My total score was a 52.  According to the EI assessment, I am "Doing great" with my emotional intelligence level.  I scored eleven items with a 4 or above and the twelfth item with a 3.  This item measured how often I reflect on my core purpose in life.


The Three L's of Leadership

The Three L's of Leadership is a self-awareness/management plan.  It is designed to increase the productivity and influence of managers.  The Three L's are:

  1. Listen
    1. To self (inner voice)
    2. To others
  2. Look
    1. At the self (reflect on self emotions)
    2. At others
  3. Lead
    1. The self by choosing the correct behaviors for the emotions 
    2. Others by providing an example or role model 

This method of leadership will improve managers' abilities to lead through self-reflection and modeling behaviors for others to follow.  We know that emotions come from what you think about a situation so it is important to be able to regulate those emotions in both professional and private settings.  We have to disengage our emotions and think realistically in order to avoid negative situations.  How do you regulate your emotions? STOP!

  • Stop
  • Take a deep breath
  • Open your mind to realistic thoughts
  • Picture yourself calm 

Following the STOP method, individuals should be able to quickly regulate their mood and continue to develop themselves professionally and personally.


Class Activities


After discussing the Three L's and the STOP method, the class was instructed to pick a partner and stand back-to-back.  We were then instructed to talk about ourselves one at a time without any feedback from the other person.  As an extrovert, I found this to be extremely challenging because I adapt my conversations based on feedback, facial expressions, and body language.  Being back-to-back removed all feedback variables, making the conversation extremely awkward.  This activity showed my the importance I place on EI and being able to clearly, concisely communicate ideas to other people when I cannot be face-to-face with them.


Role Play

For this activity, we were supplied with five different scenarios (page 5) in which we could apply the Three L's management technique.  I chose the fourth scenario regarding a supervisor addressing an employee's poor performance.  This type of situation can be difficult to approach.  However, it is the supervisor's responsibility to set the tone for the conversation.  More than likely, the employee will be defensive and confrontational.  The supervisor must first listen to the employee's side of the story and address any issues, then observe the employee's behavior (not any personal circumstances), and finally choose the leading emotion.  Is this a time for a strict, authoritarian personality or a more kind and gentle leadership personality?  When confronting an employee on poor performance, be careful not to point the proverbial finger.  Take careful precautions to address the situation with "I statements" versus "you statements."  This will ensure that the employee is less likely to feel attacked and solidify the power balance and keep the supervisor in control of the situation.


Final Thoughts

Emotional intelligence and leading using the Three L's is important in organizational situations.  A manager must be able to navigate his employees' emotions in order to keep them productive and set the tone for the office.  Overall, this course is very informative and uses psychological principles to ensure productive employees and good leaders.


Notes, Handouts, and Certificates

Three Ls Handout.pdf

The Three Ls of Leadership 09:10:14.pdf

Three Ls of Leadership Certificate.pdf



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