Next Generation Leadership

Richard Boyatzis Visits Kenan-Flagler: Resonant Leadership

April 13, 2012 By Kristina Magnuson

By Joshua L Gentine    MBA Candidate Class of 2013

The Family Enterprise Center at UNC Kenan-Flagler brought in Dr. Richard Boyatzis, the dynamic, renowned specialist in leadership, who impressed our audience of MBA and BSBA students as well as family business owners and invested community members.  Dr. Boyatzis was impressive!  In addition to his energy and enthusiasm, (he was, at one point, crawling on the floor to make a point!) Dr. Boyatzis walked us through his talk on Resonant Leadership: Inspiring Yourself and Others through Emotional Intelligence.  

Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT started the talk which quickly morphed into a discussion about what effective leadership truly is.  We started by individually writing down leaders in our own lives who made a significant positive impact and others that made a negative impact.  This simple exercise opened the door to a discussion on leadership and what makes a great leader.  A great leader, according to Dr. Boyatzis, moves people through their resonance and emotional connection with others.  The qualities we defined in our Positive Leaders exercise were truly the foundation for what great leaders do, say, and how they make us feel.  In the end, great leaders have strong, meaningful, resonant relationships…not just strong analytical skill or industry expertise. 

However, this resonance isn’t just a naturally occurring characteristic that some have or don’t have.  To prove his point, Dr. Boyatzis walked us through an exercise that allowed us to identify patterns of thought that helped change our attitudes from negative to positive.  These thought patterns (or exercises) can be used to eliminate chronic stress, which is the leading cause of the breakdown in resonant relationships (and subsequently, leadership).  Dr. Boyatzis believes that through practice, conscious effort, and a commitment to a personal vision for our own lives (this vision predicated on our dreams and joys), we can all be resonant leaders and run highly effective teams and businesses because of it.

Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, Dr. Boyatzis’s three hour talk was incredibly valuable from a management perspective and a personal perspective – it certainly provided me a lot to think about in terms of crafting my future (either in my family business or outside doing my own thing) and I can certainly say everyone walked away rethinking their goals in life.