Stewart’s book has been described as an “outstanding biography” by the Wall Street Journal and was recently awarded the “History Prize” by the Society of the Cincinnati. (The Society of the Cincinnati was “founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army who served together in the American Revolution.” President Washington was a founding member and first president of the organization.)
In a profession filled with high IQs, there is evidence that working on your emotional intelligence (or EI) can pay dividends in your professional and personal life.
The education and training in law schools traditionally focused almost exclusively on developing the cognitive ability to solve legal problems. Emotions were discouraged and even criticized as a sign of weakness. Research in more recent years confirms the relevance of emotions in decision-making and the benefit of well-managed emotions to career success and personal satisfaction.
The Yale researcher in the 1990s who coined the term Emotional Intelligence found that the most sophisticated information processing and decision-making occur when we employ not only cognitive ability but also emotion. For a brief history and explanation of Emotional Intelligence, please see the ABA article by Ronda Muir, Emotional Intelligence for Lawyers. She explains,
research has established that rational decision-making is impaired if the area of the brain relating to emotions is damaged or excised. It has now been scientifically demonstrated that the best analyses and decisions are made when we engage the emotions, as well as the intellect. For lawyers, the message is clearly that, in order to upgrade their performance, they should use the additional data available from their own and others’ emotions to enhance their cognitive skills.
In his best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman reported research showing the traditional IQ test only accounts for 20% of a person’s success in life. “Psychologists have concluded that a portion of the missing factors lies in Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and others and to control our own emotions while empathizing with the emotions of others.
Law schools place a high value on intellect and cognitive ability and we are not wrong to do so. Lawyers as a group have higher than average IQ scores. Some assume the IQ is an accurate predictor of success after law school, and it is – but only to a point. Lawyers “exhibit high average IQ scores (in the 115-130 range), while at the same time scoring lower than the general population on Emotional Intelligence (85-95).” Emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success when IQ is similar, according to Ronda Muir, in “Emotional Intelligence for Lawyers.”
What is Emotional Intelligence?
As a general matter, emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own and others’ emotional state to relate and work well with others. One approach to EI is to consider four aspects:
What a person knows about themselves (self-awareness);
What a person does with this understanding of their emotions to control or guide their impulses (self-management or regulation);
What a person knows about others (social awareness); and
What a person does with the awareness of others to use that information to build relationships and work well with others (relationship management).
Enhancing one’s Emotional Intelligence takes commitment to developing emotional competencies (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills) through sustained practice, coaching, and feedback.
Spend time this month exploring emotional intelligence. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, start with:
Pick two different scenarios where you can observe a group without participating in the group. You also should be far enough away that you cannot hear what the individuals are saying to one another. Write down what actions you observe and what you think they mean. For example, if someone frowns, do you think that person is angry, is sad, disagreed with another person, or something else? Was the emotion directed at another person in the group or someone who you do not think was present? Spend at least ten minutes observing each group.
On top of the traditional busyness that comes with starting a new academic year, we know many face difficulties during these challenging times. To all of you, we send you our heartfelt greetings and best wishes!
As you resume your work preparing law students to be problem-solvers and influencers, please continue your efforts to increase leadership development activities at your school. For August, we challenge you to try the following:
For readers in the legal academy: Help at least two colleagues find ways to incorporate leadership development in their classes, programs, or other work within the school.Offer specific, concrete ideas or exercises to facilitate their efforts.
For readers who do not hold a full-time position in a law school: Inquire about leadership programming at your alma mater or one with which you have a relationship and offer to help.Feel free to use some of the modules and examples from Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership for a guest lecture, a CLE offering, or a professional development program.
We believe leadership development is helpful and essential, and leadership programs are gaining traction nationally. Please note that the ABA has proposed amendments to the ABA Standard on Legal Education which impact lawyer leadership. Three important topics may become mandatory for law schools, and they are fundamental topics in well-developed leadership programs. The proposed amendments to Standards 206, 303, and 508 will be voted on at the February 2022 meeting of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. If adopted, the following topics will be required in legal education:
Diversity and inclusion, (now specifically including bias and cross-cultural competency);
professional identity including lawyers’ special obligations to clients and society (which includes topics such as ethics, influence, and leadership); and
In our opinion, these three concepts must be addressed in leadership development courses or programs as they enrich any study of leadership. Deborah Rhode’s inclusion of these concepts in the Introduction and Conclusion of her Leadership for Lawyers textbook reveals her focus upon these concepts. We address these subjects both in individual chapters and woven in discussions throughout our textbook, Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership. To explain the relevance, the language of the proposed amendments to Standards 206, 303, and 508 are included in our Teacher’s Manual (See pages 3, 18, 81, and 124, available as part of the Professor Resources) at the beginning of these three chapters:
Chapter 17: Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Intelligence
Chapter 1: What is Leadership?
Chapter 11: The Importance of Well-Being: Thriving in the Legal Profession.
This is NOT a sales pitch for our book. Our primary goal is to help as you advocate for, create, or enhance leadership development programming at your school. Whether a school or program chooses to adopt our book has nothing to do with that goal. The “leadership team” (Stephen, Liz, Pat, and me) at Baylor Law stands ready to work with other law schools fully embracing the need to develop lawyers who are not only competent practitioners in their chosen career pursuits but also well-rounded professionals who seek to be positive influencers among their family, friends, and clients and to have a meaningful impact on their communities.
We want to be a resource for – and learn from – others. Please let us know how we can work together to make leadership development programs, and legal education generally, better. That IS the reason we wrote the textbook. It was designed not only for use in leadership courses, but also so that individual chapters can be used as modules in orientation, professional identity programs, clinics, academic support programs, career development and student success centers, and any other courses or programs with the goal of better equipping our students for success in their future role as difference makers.
We note that the proposed amendments are not without critics. We share concerns about the lack of attention to the assessment of the effectiveness of any new training. But we are encouraged by the work of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, and its Co-Directors, Professors Neil Hamilton and Jerry Organ, who are leading the national effort to help law schools develop and adopt assessment tools in the form of stage development rubrics. Effective use of such rubrics can help law schools not only satisfy compliance with ABA Standards but also be more intentional about developing law students who are better prepared for the obligations they will assume as practitioners, professionals, and leaders.
We wish you a great start to the new academic year!
As the end of summer nears and return to school looms, we are returning to the basics. For me, that means back to the beginning of this effort to support the growth of leadership development programming in legal education. I remember the early morning breakfast at the 2016 AALS meeting where Deborah Rhode and I hosted a small but enthusiastic group in the first conversation about this effort to encourage law schools to better prepare students as leaders. Encouraged by the energy at that gathering, we planned a formal Group Discussion for the 2017 AALS Annual Meeting entitledIntroducing Leadership Development into the Law School Curriculum(see notes linked).The room was packed and over-flowing! The appetite for action was exciting. We all agreed that it was time! Lawyers are leaders and leadership development should be an integral part of legal education and training.
After all manner of justifications for why we need to emphasize leadership development in legal education, we identified and acknowledge challenges and we generated ideas. Two of the challenges identified at that time were:
How do we get colleagues to support the creation of leadership development initiatives?
How do we help professors and staff colleagues incorporate leadership development into all aspects of their legal education (class, clinics, professional identity formation, career development, etc.).
For readers in the legal academy: Help at least two colleagues find ways to incorporate leadership development in their classes, programs, or other work within the school.
For readers who do not hold a full-time position in a law school: Inquire about leadership programming at your alma mater or one with which you have a relationship and offer to help.
In a case of colleagues who still think “leaders are born, not made,” victory may be convincing them that leadership development is relevant and important and can be done in law school. Even if they are not yet comfortable that they can effectively include discussions or lessons of leadership in their classrooms, maybe they will be supportive of leadership development efforts of other colleagues.
In future posts, we will discuss some suggestions for influence and action, which is after all our definition of leadership.