Lesson No 39: The Heart Of Governance

The Queen of Hearts: The Confessions of An ‘Accidental’ Leader 

I didn’t purpose to be in the space that I find myself in.  God plucked me from the path that I had set out for myself & set me on an alternative journey. At the start it all appeared somewhat ‘accidental’ but I know now that it was no accident, rather His design, His purpose for my life… 

So now that I am here, these are my confessions…the lessons I am learning about being a woman in business, building an empire, one brick at a time… 

Lesson No. 39: The Heart of Governance

“Emotion can lead to our worst decisions or our best ones: The difference is Emotional Intelligence”

Six Seconds

October was a busy month – I spoke at several conferences.  I love being part of the Women On Boards Network* & so when I was asked to participate in their annual conference, my answer was a very quick YES! 

Anyone who has served in a board knows the emotional behaviour of board members can impact the board’s efficiency & effectiveness.  From the board member who is frustrated because he was not understood and does not participate any more, to the resident chatter-box who dominates conversation and seems to think only his contribution important, to the only one female board member who is incensed by a degrading gender remark.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” 

Dale Carnegie

I have learned that a general lack of EQ seriously handicaps a board’s ability to problem-solve and make informed decisions. My view is supported by research – a study published in the Journal of Mangerial Psychology (Hopkins et al, 2007) shows that there is a positive correlation between emotional intelligence and effective board governance. 

Emotions are real … These neurohormones are part of the chemical signals of our brains, inseparably mixed with what we call “thought.” Emotions are affecting all of us, all the time. With EQ we can harness the power of emotions to drive us where we want to go, to do the things that we mean to do & say the things that we want to say.  

Emotions are not “good and bad” or even “positive or negative.” They are data about threats & opportunities we’re perceiving inside us and around us. Just for example, when we feel fear, it’s because something we CARE about is at risk. So, fear is connected to care, to love. Not as opposites, but as two signals that give us information about what’s important… and they energize us to protect what matters. 

During my presentation I shared 3 insights that can help board members increase their effectiveness; 

  • Develop Greater Self Awareness: 

Self-Awareness is the capacity for introspection. Awareness of ones strengths, weaknesses, style, personality, preferences, etc., has a significant impact on how leaders behave and interact with others. A ‘self-aware’ leader can consciously influence the climate & dynamics of the board.

  • Be Proactive & More Intentional 

Self-Management means that an individual demonstrates self-control and an ability to manage time, priorities and decision-making capacity.  Board members who are able to respond, rather than react, are more effective. 

  • Identify & Articulate Your Purpose

Why are you serving on that board?  What value do you add? Would you do it if you never received any compensation?

Our ‘WHY’ fuels our behaviour.  Effective board members are clear about their purpose & direction. They are able to articulate what makes them tick and what motivates them on a daily basis. 

Whilst there are boards that believe Emotional Intelligence is a dispensable “soft” skill, I know that EQ is the absolute foundational basis for leadership & effective board governance. 

Emotional Intelligence is being more aware, more intentional & more purposeful.  Emotional Intelligence is at the heart of leadership. 

With Love, 

The Queen Of Hearts 
Mucha Mlingo
| Six Seconds EQ Practitioner | Master Trainer & Facilitator |
| Award Winning International Keynote Speaker |

Emotional intelligence and board governance: leadership lessons from the public sector – Hopkins et al. (2007) 

*The Women On Boards Network is an initiative aimed at promoting and encouraging women into Board leadership. The Network provides a platform that will bring together women from diverse fields and ranks; facilitate those already sitting on Boards to effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities, and up skill and prepare for the boardroom those women who are already in senior leadership roles, but are not yet sitting on any boards. 

For more information, visit their website – 

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