Emotional Social Intelligence Foundations

Emotional Social Intelligence

Emotional Social Intelligence (ESI) are a group of cornerstone capabilities and critically important set of skills for effective leadership. 2018 began with Daniel Goleman publishing an excellent leadership article on Linked In. I suggest we all make the time to read “Emotional Intelligence in the Heat of Wildfires” published on January 9 several times!

Emotional Intelligence in the Heat of Wildfires

Extensive Research of ESI in Emergency Response

Dr. Goleman co-authored leadership effectiveness research with Dr. Richard Boyatzis from Case Western University’s management school and associates at the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Montana. Together, they analyzed 60 critical incidents and published their article in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.


My Personal Wildfire Leadership Connection

It is my personal belief that Emotional and Social Intelligence are foundational to Human Organization Performance Optimization. I built this perspective during my decade of work with the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center at the National Advanced Fire & Resources Institute. While studying the practical application of High Reliability Organizing with Dr. Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe, Ph.D., authors of the Managing the Unexpected series of books, I also had the opportunity to serve incident management teams (IMTs), the same organizations that Dr. Goleman writes about.

My Personal Research

It was an honor and a privilege for me to work with interagency IMT’s Command & General Staff leaders, as well as hotshots, smoke jumpers, aviators, and several other specializations engaged in serving together on several wildfire, and non-fire, crisis events from 2002 to 2014. Eventually I was able to interview 15 Incident/Area Commanders from multiple national-level IMTs and Area Command Teams for my Master of Science degree in Human Factors and Systems Safety thesis. I used Appreciative Inquiry to discover what they they believed was important for “Increasing Resilience through Conditions that Enable Informal Learning for Incident Commanders.”  What they believed was important to lead IMTs effectively surfaced in five primary themes.

I’ll save the results from my research for another blog post after you’ve read Dr. Goleman’s article though. We’ll compare findings later!