Woman climbing stairs. Like career advancement

Avancer dans sa carrière avec l’intelligence émotionnelle – Conseils d’Isabelle Roux-Buisson

Isabelle Roux-Buisson est une Senior Executive avec plus de 20 ans d’expérience de management dans des sociétés mondiales d’informatique.  Elle a siègé à des comités exécutifs européens et a géré des unités d’exploitation qui génèrent des revenues de plusieurs milliards. Roux-Buisson est actuellement membre du conseil de la Harvard Business School France (l’une des écoles où elle a étudié) et de celui du Groupe ESEO école d’ingénieur. Précédemment, elle a fait partie du conseil des anciens élèves de Télécom Paris Tech (une autre de ses alma maters).

Denise Dampierre : Vous avez eu une carrière admirable. Qu’est-ce qui vous a aidé à définir votre parcours professionnel ?

Isabelle Roux-Buisson

Isabelle Roux-Buisson : Un des premiers principes en management est de ne jamais cesser de progresser. C’est encore plus fondamental aujourd’hui que le monde du travail est rapidement transformé par la technologie. Des études montrent que 85% des métiers qui existeront en 2030 n’ont pas encore été inventés. [i] Cela implique que les besoins seront différents, et que la nécessité d’être adaptable sera énorme.

Quand on progresse en management, nous avons la responsabilité d’être équipés des outils nécessaires pour continuer à évoluer dans notre environnement. L’intelligence émotionnelle m’a fourni une boîte à outils pour adapter le renforcement de mes compétences à chaque nouvelle étape de leadership.

Aparté : Dr. Daniel Goleman est l’auteur du livre à succès Intelligence Emotionnelle. Pendant 12 ans, il a écrit sur les sciences cognitives et comportementales pour le New York Times. Il décrit l’intelligence émotionnelle comme la manière de se maîtriser soi-même et ses relations, et identifie quatre domaines principaux

  • La conscience de soi – savoir ce que l’on ressent et pourquoi
  • L’autogestion – gĂ©rer nos Ă©motions nĂ©gatives d’une façon efficace et exploiter le pouvoir des Ă©motions positives
  • La conscience sociale – se lier et comprendre les gens qui nous entourent
  • La gestion des relations – mettre ces compĂ©tences d’intelligence Ă©motionnelle au service des relations dans, et hors de, son Ă©quipe
Les compétences d'intelligence emotionnelle selon Daniel Goleman
Les aptitudes d’intelligence émotionnelle et leurs compétences associées

Denise Dampierre : Quel est le rôle de l’intelligence émotionnelle aux différents stades d’une carrière ?

Isabelle Roux-Buisson : Lorsque l’on rentre dans la vie active, on est essentiellement embauché pour ses compétences techniques. J’ai commencé en marketing.

Tôt ou tard, certains d’entre nous vont être amenés à occuper des postes de direction. Avant toute chose, ce sont nos paroles et nos actions qui expriment notre intérêt pour le management. C’est également le cas si on démontre une maîtrise suffisante des tâches techniques mais aussi un certain degré d’empathie, de conscience organisationnelle, de leadership ainsi qu’une capacité à travailler en groupe. Cette combinaison nous place comme un « potentiel » pour le management.

Ensuite, en tant que cadre intermédiaire, le jeu change. Les qualités « humaines » jouent un rôle essentiel. Nous avons alors besoin de démontrer notre capacité à évaluer mais aussi à travailler avec les gens, tout en étant capable de constituer et de motiver une équipe. On doit aussi piloter son environnement : notamment notre manager et nos collègues dans d’autres départements, qui sont des gens dont dépend notre réussite. C’est à ce moment-là que l’on commence souvent à comprendre sciemment et à affiner notre style de leadership.

Quand on progresse en management, nous avons la responsabilité d’être équipés des outils nécessaires pour continuer à évoluer dans notre environnement. L’intelligence émotionnelle m’a fourni une boîte à outils pour adapter le renforcement de mes compétences à chaque nouvelle étape de leadership.

Entrer à la direction générale pourrait être la prochaine étape. Les prérequis incluent notre propre intérêt à prendre une telle responsabilité mais aussi la conviction de notre hiérarchie quant au fait que l’on a les capacités pour assumer ce rôle.

  • Nous sommes responsables de la stratĂ©gie et de l’intĂ©gration d’enjeux complexes issus de divers acteurs.
  • Nous devons comprendre le rĂ´le de notre entitĂ© au sein de l’organisation au sens large et du contexte gĂ©nĂ©ral.
  • Nous devons ĂŞtre capable d’harmoniser, au sein de notre groupe, la bonne Ă©quipe avec les personnes et les ressources adĂ©quates pour atteindre un objectif commun.

Notre réussite dépend de plus en plus de nos qualités humaines mais aussi conceptuelles, qui sont principalement nos compétences en termes de conscience sociale et de gestion relationnelle.

Au cours de cette progression, la conscience de soi et l’autogestion sont toujours les outils fondamentaux d’intelligence émotionnelle. Ils nous aident à identifier nos forces et à mettre sur pied une équipe aux membres complémentaires, dotés de compétences qui compensent les domaines où l’on est moins solide.

J’ai recherché les outils pour me faire progresser en tant que personne mais aussi en tant que dirigeante. L’intelligence émotionnelle de Goleman m’a fourni un cadre pour choisir intentionnellement des options de carrières qui m’aideraient à me développer et qui apporteraient de la valeur à l’entreprise. Cela m’a aidé à identifier les compétences à renforcer pour mes prochains changements de carrière mais aussi les talents à rechercher dans mes équipes pour, qu’ensemble, l’on parvienne à couvrir un champ plus large de compétences.

La conscience de soi et le contrôle de soi donnent la clé du reste de la boîte à outil de l’intelligence émotionnelle.

La conscience de soi et le contrôle de soi donnent la clé du reste de la boîte à outil de l’intelligence émotionnelle. Chaque personne opère dans un contexte institutionnel précis, et nous avons tous une tendance à développer davantage certaines compétences plutôt que d’autres. C’est pourquoi nous allons tous devoir naviguer dans le cadre de l’intelligence émotionnelle et acquérir des compétences d’intelligence émotionnelle à notre manière.

Denise Dampierre : Comment avez-vous découvert le modèle de l’intelligence émotionnelle ? Y avez-vous été formée en école de commerce ou en tant que manager ?

Isabelle Roux-Buisson : Les compétences d’intelligence émotionnelle s’appliquent aussi bien au domaine de la vie personnelle que professionnelle. J’avais déjà été sensibilisée à un certain nombre d’entre elles au cours de mon éducation familiale.

Nous avions évidemment des cours de compétences en leadership à Harvard. Mais c’est mon expérience professionnelle qui m’a amenée à apprécier pleinement leur valeur.

On amorce ce chemin avec le choix de notre employeur. Dans mon cas, les valeurs de Hewlett Packard (HP) et l’attention que la sociĂ©tĂ© portait au dĂ©veloppement personnel m’ont parlĂ©. Dans notre Ă©quipe, j’ai acceptĂ© les projets compliquĂ©s, les territoires peu dĂ©veloppĂ©s oĂą le succès Ă©tait incertain. Quelques annĂ©es plus tard, alors que j’avais astucieusement appliquĂ© mes compĂ©tences techniques en marketing, mes gammes de produits avaient les meilleurs rĂ©sultats en Europe. Ces rĂ©sultats (l’orientation vers la rĂ©ussite – “achievement orientation”) m’ont placĂ© sur le radar de la direction.

Je pensais qu’il Ă©tait essentiel, pour n’importe quelle entreprise, de comprendre le client (la conscience de soi – “self-awareness”). Je me suis Ă©galement rendue compte qu’un passage aux ventes favorisait la mobilitĂ© verticale chez HP (la conscience sociale – “social awareness”). Une expĂ©rience dans les ventes m’a appris l’empathie, l’écoute et la recherche de solutions (et parfois la gestion de conflits – “conflict management”).

Sachant que HP Ă©tait organisĂ© selon une organisation matricielle, j’ai cherchĂ© Ă  obtenir un poste en coordination internationale de grands comptes qui nĂ©cessitait de collaborer avec des Ă©quipes (“teamwork”) dans toute l’Europe et me permettait de bâtir un rĂ©seau de collègues dans d’autres pays. J’ai Ă©galement appris comment influencer des homologues (“influence”) dont la performance impactait mes rĂ©sultats. Un de mes comptes a Ă©tĂ© reconnu pour sa croissance supĂ©rieure en Europe. Ceci a d’autant plus confirmĂ© ma rĂ©putation de personne orientĂ©e vers la rĂ©ussite.

En tant que contributrice individuelle (un employé sans responsabilité managériale), je recherchais déjà des opportunités pour développer mes compétences en intelligence émotionnelle.

La conscience et le contrĂ´le de soi nous aident Ă  nous rendre compte de nos forces et d’attirer une Ă©quipe avec des talents complĂ©mentaires qui compensent pour les zones oĂą nous sommes moins forts.

Par la suite, j’ai donc envoyĂ© des signaux pour manifester mon intĂ©rĂŞt de devenir manager et me suis vue assignĂ©e une unitĂ© en perte de vitesse. Une vĂ©ritable chance de revitaliser une branche ! Mon dĂ©fi rĂ©sidait dans le fait d’instiller un esprit d’équipe, de bâtir des relations positives, de co-concevoir et de mettre en place un plan dans lequel nous croyions tous, et de rĂ©instaurer de la fiertĂ©. J’ai appris Ă  mĂ©riter mais aussi Ă  rĂ©clamer le respect de mon autoritĂ© (l’autogestion – “self-management”). Un an après, nous Ă©tions reconnus comme la meilleure unitĂ© d’Europe.

En tant que manager, nous devons évaluer les gens et leurs capacités, pour les faire travailler ensemble et pour les (re)motiver. Ceci a renforcé mes capacités à travailler en équipe et m’a amenée à développer mon style de leadership.

Nous devons aussi gĂ©rer nos supĂ©rieurs et nos collègues, comprendre leurs attentes, leur environnement et leur manière de travailler. C’est ça la conscience organisationnelle (“organizational awareness”) !

Lors de l’étape suivante de ma carrière, j’ai de nouveau accepté la responsabilité de gérer une équipe sous-performante, composée de professionnels de dix à quinze ans mes aînés. Pour travailler avec ce groupe, je devais gérer mes propres réactions et créer du lien (empathie). J’ai demandé conseil auprès de managers plus expérimentés, ce qui m’a permis de vivre le fait d’être coachée et mentorée, et de renforcer ma conscience organisationnelle.

Prête pour une nouvelle aventure, j’ai cherché à obtenir un poste au siège mondial, dans la Silicon Valley. J’étais convaincue que mon évolution de carrière bénéficierait de cette exposition et de la compréhension de ce « centre du pouvoir ». Mes connaissances pratiques du champ européen pouvaient également apporter quelque chose de nouveau à leur perspective.

Denise Dampierre : Quel conseil donneriez-vous à de jeunes employés ? A des nouveaux managers ?

Isabelle Roux-Buisson : La conscience et le contrôle de soi sont les fondements sur lesquels bâtir une riche carrière.

Personne ne peut exceller dans tout. C’est une bonne chose dans les entreprises où il y a des équipes !

La conscience et le contrôle de soi nous aident à nous rendre compte des points où l’on est bon, pour prendre appui sur ces qualités, et à identifier quand nous avons besoin d’introduire d’autres talents pour que nos forces combinées permettent de rendre insignifiantes nos faiblesses individuelles.

Et la construction de la conscience et du contrôle de soi est une tâche qui dure toute la vie.

Merci

Isabelle Roux-Buisson nous a partagé comment l’intelligence émotionnelle lui avait fourni le fil rouge de son développement personnel et de son avancement professionnel.

  • Ne jamais cesser de dĂ©velopper la conscience de soi et l’autogestion
  • Passer des compĂ©tences techniques Ă  celles conceptuelles, en passant par celles humaines, au cours du dĂ©veloppement de sa carrière
  • Demander des promotions qui permettent de parfaire de nouvelles compĂ©tences
  • Trouver sa passion, sa force motrice

Quel est votre prochain changement de carrière ? Comment ces conseils sur l’intelligence émotionnelle peuvent-ils vous aider à présenter votre demande d’une manière qui semble avantageuse pour votre employeur ? Faites-le nous savoir dans les commentaires.

Je vous souhaite plein de succès !

[i] Institute for the Future:  Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society & Work in 2030
Cover photo by Bruno Nascimento

Woman climbing stairs. Like career advancement

How Emotional Intelligence Advances Careers – insights by Isabelle Roux-Buisson

Isabelle Roux-Buisson is a senior executive with over 20 years’ experience in management in global IT corporations, sitting on European Executive Committees and managing business units of several billions in revenues. Roux-Buisson is a board member of Harvard Business School Club France (one of her alma maters) as well as ESEO Group engineering school. She previously served several terms on the Telecom Paris Tech (another alma mater) Alumni board.

Denise Dampierre:  You have enjoyed a laudable career.  What has helped you carve your career path? 

Isabelle Roux-Buisson

Isabelle Roux-Buisson:  One of the first principles of management is to never stop growing.  This is even more fundamental now as work is rapidly transformed by technology.  Studies indicate that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet[i].  This implies the needs will be different, and the need for adaptability will be enormous.

As we grow in management, we are responsible to be equipped with the tools required to continue evolving in our environment.  Emotional intelligence has provided me with a toolbox to adapt my skill building for each new leadership step.

Aside: Dr. Daniel Goleman is the author of best-selling Emotional Intelligence.  For twelve years, he wrote for The New York Times, reporting on the brain and behavioral sciences.  He describes emotional intelligence as the way we handle ourselves and our relationships, and identifies four main domains

  • Self-awareness – knowing what we feel and why we are feeling it
  • Self-management – handling our distressing emotions in an effective way and harnessing the power of positive emotions.
  • Social-awareness – connecting with and understanding the people around us
  • Relationship management – putting these emotional intelligence skills to work in relationships inside and outside your team
Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence Skills
Emotional intelligence competencies and their related skills.

Denise Dampierre:  What is the role of emotional intelligence at various stages of one’s career?

Isabelle Roux-Buisson:  As we enter the workforce, we are essentially hired for technical talent. I began in marketing.

Sooner or later, some of us will be invited into leadership.  Foremost, our words and actions express our interest in management.  We also demonstrate sufficient mastery of the technical issues and some degree of empathy, organizational awareness, leadership, and teamwork.  This combination positions us as management potential.

Next as a middle manager, the game changes. “Human“ skills play a critical role. We need to demonstrate the ability to evaluate and work with people and to build and motivate a team.  We also need to navigate our environment:  our manager and colleagues in other departments on whom our success depends.  This is where we often begin to consciously understand and hone our leadership style.

As we grow in management, we are responsible to be equipped with the tools required to continue evolving in our environment.  Emotional intelligence has provided me with a toolbox to adapt my skill building for each new leadership step.

General management could be a next step.  Prerequisites include our own interest in taking on such responsibility and our hierarchy’s conviction that we have the capability to succeed in the role.

  • We are responsible for the strategy and for integrating the complex stakes from multiple players.
  • We have to understand the role of our entity within the larger organization and context.
  • We must be able to align the right team, people and resources within our group to reach a common goal.

Our success depends increasingly on both conceptual and human skills, principally social awareness and relationship management skills.

Throughout this progression, self-awareness and self-management remain the foundational emotional intelligence tools.  They help us to identify our strengths and to garner a team of complementary members, with skills that compensate for areas where we are less strong.

I sought out tools to grow as a person and a leader.  Goleman’s emotional intelligence provided a framework to intentionally choose career options that would help me develop and add value to the company.  It helped me identify the skills to build for my next career moves and the talents to seek out in my team so that together we could cover a wider set of competencies.

Self-awareness and self-control open up the rest of the emotional intelligence toolbox.

Self-awareness and self-control open up the rest of the emotional intelligence toolbox.  Every person operates in a specific corporate context, and we each have a propensity towards some skills more than others.  Therefore, we will all navigate through the emotional intelligence framework and build emotional intelligent skills in our unique manner.

Denise Dampierre:  How did you discover the emotional intelligence paradigm?  Were you trained in this at business school or as a manager?

Isabelle Roux-Buisson: Emotional intelligence skills apply to both the personal and professional realms of life.  I was already sensitized to several through my family upbringing.

They did teach us these leadership skills at Harvard.  My work experience led me to fully appreciated their value.

We embark on this path with our choice of employer.  In my case, Hewlett Packard (HP)’s values and their focus on people development resonated with me.  In our team, I accepted the challenge projects, the undeveloped territories where success was uncertain.  In a few years, when I had applied my technical marketing skills with savvy, my product lines were the top performers in Europe.  These results (achievement orientation) put me on the management radar.

I believed that it was vital in any company to understand the client (self-awareness). I also realized that a passage in sales favored upward mobility at HP (social awareness).  Sales taught me empathy, listening, and solution-finding (and sometimes conflict-management).

Knowing that HP is a matrix organization, I sought an international account coordination position that required collaboration with teams throughout Europe and allowed me to build a network of colleagues in other countries.  I also learned how to influence peers whose performance impacted my results.  One of my accounts was recognized for top growth in Europe.  This further confirmed to my reputation of achievement orientation.

As an individual contributor (an employee without management responsibilities), I already sought out opportunities to build emotional intelligence skills.

Self-awareness and self-management help us identify our strengths and garner a team of complementary members, with skills that compensate for areas where we are less strong.

Next, I sent out signals indicating my interest in becoming a manager and was assigned a team in a flailing district.  What an opportunity to revitalize the business!  My challenge was to ignite team spirit, build positive relationships, co-conceive and execute on a plan we all believed in, and re-instore pride.  I learned to both earn and demand respectful authority (self-management). One year later, we were recognized as Europe’s top performing district.

As manager, we need to evaluate people and their capabilities, to have them work together, and to (re)motivate them. This strengthened my teamwork skills and led me to develop my leadership style.

We also manage our bosses and peers, understand their expectations, context, and working style. That’s organizational awareness!

In my next career step, I again accepted a stretch job: to manage an underperforming team of professionals ten to fifteen years my senior.  To turn the group around, I had to manage my own reactions and create connections (empathy).  I sought counsel from more experienced managers which gave me the experience of being coached and mentored and reinforced my organizational awareness.

When I was ready for a new adventure, I sought out a worldwide headquarters position, in the Silicon Valley. I was convinced that my career development would benefit from the exposure to and the understanding of this “center of command.” My pragmatic knowledge of the European field could contribute to their perspective.

Denise Dampierre:  What advice would you give to young employees?  To first-time managers?

Isabelle Roux-Buisson:  Self-awareness and self-control are the foundations on which to build a vibrant career.

None of us can be excellent in everything.  That’s a good thing in a company where we have teams!

“Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.” – Peter Drucker

Self-awareness and self-control help us realize where we are strong, to lean on those qualities, and to identify where we need to bring in other talent so that our combined strengths make individual weaknesses irrelevant.

And building self-awareness and self-control are a lifetime task.

Thank You

Isabelle Roux-Buisson shared how emotional intelligence provided the guiding thread for her intentional personal development and career progression.

  • To continuously build self-awareness and self-management
  • To move from technical to human to conceptual skills in career growth
  • To ask for promotions which hone new skills
  • To finding your passion, your motor

What is your next career move?  How might these emotional intelligence insights help you present your request in a value-adding manner to your employer?  Let us know in the comments.

Wishing you success!

[i] Institute for the Future:  Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society & Work in 2030
Cover photo by Bruno Nascimento

Graduates with caps

Preparing 21st Century Leaders – Insights from Olivier Guillet at Sciences Po

Dr. Olivier Guillet is Vice-Dean of Sciences Po School of Management and Innovation as of 2017.  Before earning his Master and Doctorate in management, Guillet first studied piano and law. He launched his career in the construction business before embarking on a career in higher education management.

Denise Dampierre (DD):  From your academic and management perspectives, how has technology and the Internet impacted business leadership in France?

Olivier Guillet (OG): Historically, France was built on a system of aristocracy.  Over the centuries, the criteria of nobility has changed; birthright was replaced by a Grande École education (selective higher education institutions).  In business, the most respected companies sought out graduates from these schools as they gave evidence of an aptitude in mathematical reasoning. French business elites have been very much grounded in the 19th century paradigm where the engineer, the one who can  measure and provide scientific or mathematical verification, is the one who deserves legitimate power.

Neither technology nor business are ethically and politically neutral. People provide them with meaning. Our world needs leaders who develop projects and technologies that benefit humanity in the long term.

One might believe such scientific literacy provides French business leaders with an advantage in a technological and digital world. Experience reveals a different story.

In our times where machines and programs increasingly take over measuring and quantitative functions, the current challenge for French leaders is to understand the complexity of the world from a qualitative standpoint.

Neither technology nor business are ethically and politically neutral. People provide them with meaning. Our world needs leaders who develop projects and technologies that benefit humanity in the long term.

DD: What skills are needed for this simultaneously quantitative and qualitative leadership mindset?

OG: We need to free ourselves from the traditional French vision of leadership centered in excellence in mathematics.  Leaders also need soft skills, self-awareness, compassion, and emotional intelligence.  That’s a given.

They also benefit by expanding their vision of the world through social sciences and more.  The Greeks, for example, provide a rich source of inspiration.

We need to free ourselves from the traditional French vision of leadership centered in excellence in mathematics.

Consider the notion of “time” which is such a key issue for leaders.

Our ability to measure time scientifically frames everyone in the linear dimension of time, Chronos.  This is necessary for everyone, and a leader also needs to evolve in other dimensions of time.

Kairos refers to the moment of opportunity.  All good leaders know how to sense when something has to be done.  Now or never.

Aion represents presence in the here and now. Being fully present in the moment gives a richness to interactions and is a prerequisite for creativity, for connecting with people, and for making an impact.  This dimension of time combines the realm of the intellect with those of the emotions and intuition. This multi-dimensional, humane mindset is the winning paradigm of the 21st century leader.

This multi-dimensional, humane mindset which combines intellect, emotion, and intuition is the winning paradigm of the 21st century leader.

The challenge is to apply this kind of knowledge in real life!  We need to break down the wall between theory and practice.  Intellect is only one of the ingredients of intelligence.

People can easily fall into the trap of associating knowledge with capability. When a former colleague, a PhD in philosophy, took on a leadership position, he would ask me for advice on common management issues. He possessed the necessary knowledge to handle the situation; he lectured on the topic in his class on Stoics 101!

  • To distinguish between what you can control and what you cannot
  • Regarding the issues in the first group, to do what you can
  • With respect to matters beyond your control, to learn to let go.

He had disassociated theory from practice, knowledge implementation.

The challenge is to apply knowledge in real life!  We need to break down the wall between theory and practice.  Intellect is only one of the ingredients of intelligence.

At Sciences Po School of Management and Innovation, students gain quantitative literacy, of course.  They also follow classes in sociology, history, and geopolitics.  Additionally, entrepreneurship plays an important role in our curriculum.  We incubate over 80 projects a year.  This start-up focus is attracting a vibrant change-oriented student body to the school.

For generations past, Sciences Po had the reputation that provided students with a status and a certain guarantee of success.  This mindset no longer corresponds to the reality of Sciences Po today.  Our students are taught to be thinkers and doers, meaning-providers and risk-takers.

Our teaching goal at Sciences Po School of Management and Innovation is for students to embrace learning as a way of life: acquiring knowledge, applying it, and advancing through trial and error.   This sounds simple, yet it is complex.

Corporate cultures that allow people to make mistakes and ask questions create the conditions where people can free themselves from their biases.

Consider our susceptibility to be influenced by cognitive biases. They certainly limit our leadership development. How to free ourselves from them? Developing awareness of our unconscious beliefs is not easy. Corporate cultures that allow people to make mistakes and ask questions create the conditions where people can free themselves from their biases.  This is the environment we offer our students at Sciences Po.

DD:  Many of the historic French managers could be in a situation where the status quo is comfortable for them. Young graduates seek a new leadership paradigm.  How does a business school prepare current leaders to embrace this new generation or to equip Sciences Po graduates to navigate effectively at work?

OG: It has a lot to do with critical thinking.  By critical, I am not referring to negativity, rather to not taking things for granted.  It implies stepping back to review your management tools, culture, and values in connection with those of your future corporate world.  From a career development standpoint, it is the ability to know yourself enough to assess, “Is this what I need?  Will this make me happy?”

DD:  Success is often associated with earning a comfortable living, yet you describe something more.  How does one prepare students to weigh a comfortable lifestyle with meaningful work?

OG:  The “greed is good” paradigm is not as popular as it used to be. Young people want to undertake careers that will allow them to have a positive impact in society.

At the same time, “meaning” is one of those overused words whose definition is unclear and therefore misleading.  Does it represent purpose, fulfillment, or enjoyment? Either way, for today’s students, success clearly goes beyond the materialistic.

We encourage students to apply critical thinking to their interpretation of success.

Critical thinking is not about negativity, rather about not taking things for granted.  It implies stepping back to intentionally review your management tools, culture, and values.  Then applying them.

Be critical about “being critical” too, about relying solely on the intellect.  Our students are sophisticated thinkers with great analytical skills.  We must also warn them of the temptation to rely solely on their intellect and get disconnected from the rest of their selves.  It is important to stay tuned to the soft voice of our emotions, intuitions, and the spirit, a voice which goes beyond pure reasoning.  It speaks the relevant message of inner accord or dissonance.

DD: How does one help people hear inner dissonance?

OG:  We can promote a new paradigm of leadership.  A leader is not a tool.  A leader is an explorer of the world and an explorer of him or herself.  Students and young employees need such role models.

I am a big believer in the mimetic nature of desire, as René Girard describes it. Our aspirations emerge from within and are influenced by the people we look up to. We can easily become like the people in our entourage:

  • to want the same things
  • to think like they do
  • to act as they act

Modelling desirable behavior is key for leaders.  Their example, whether positive or negative, makes an impact.  Employees surrounded by managers who view leadership as the implementation of “universal techniques” will likely adopt a similar approach.

A leader is not a tool.  A leader is an explorer of the world and an explorer of him or herself.

We intentionally present our students with positive role models:  people of different backgrounds, more women, more artists, more social workers, and change makers.  We seek to introduce our students to courageous personalities who express a wisdom-filled vision of success.  These are leaders who step back, with humility learn about themselves and others, and invest this wisdom in both their professional and personal encounters.  They intertwine prosperity throughout the multiple dimensions of their life.

My definition of success invites an integration of the whole person: intellect, emotion, and intuition.  This applies in all facets of life: professional, personal, and communal.  Is not 21st century leadership about making a positive impact for ourselves, for the French, and for all?

Thank You

Olivier Guillet presents a thoughtful outlook on leadership in the 21st century and an invitation to action.

  • To recognize our own paradigms
  • To operate in the three dimensions of time: chronology, opportunity, and presence
  • To apply our knowledge in real life
  • To lead by example

His comments invite reflection.  How do you step back and take time to think?  How do you measure the value of soft skills in leadership?  What qualities will you model to those around you?  Please share in the comments.