What do you think is the most important characteristic of successful leaders?
Is it intelligence and knowledge?
Perhaps being a good communicator or being able to motivate others is more important.
There are many different characteristics that can help leaders be successful, but there's one trait that I think stands out above all others: emotional intelligence.
Emotion, in all its richness, fluidity, and connectedness is, for many of us, another unknown E-word.
Since it is intangible and ethereal, we don't think of it as something we can harness or apply in our daily lives. It seems too complex.
However, I believe that emotional intelligence is the hidden key to success for anyone who takes the necessary steps to create this skill within themselves.
I'm sure you've responded appropriately when someone needed comfort, congratulations, or reprimanding.
However, what would happen if we could read others’ emotions as easily as other people read books?
Imagine having the empathy to read others' feelings and communicate your own clearly. Imagine being able to motivate others by managing their emotions effectively.
Emotions are powerful.
They profoundly affect how we interpret and interact with the world.
The ability to understand, intuit, and respond to the emotions of others is a skillful and powerful application of emotional intelligence.
And, as we shall see, it is a key element of leadership effectiveness.
What are the attributes that qualify someone to be an emotionally intelligent leader?
Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as those of other people.
They can identify their own feelings (and beliefs) and accurately assess how they change in response to different situations.
They can also identify the feelings (and beliefs) of others and accurately predict how these will change in response to different situations.
Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to use these skills in order to guide themselves and others toward desired goals.
What are the key characteristics of emotional intelligence?
1. Self-awareness - It's hard to manage others if you don't know yourself. The first step in developing emotional intelligence is being able to analyze yourself. You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and what motivates you and keeps you going strong. Self-awareness is the foundation on which the other three components of emotional intelligence are built, so it's important to take some time and really get to know yourself.
2. Self-regulation - Once you've examined yourself, it's time to learn how to regulate your emotions so that they don't get out of control. This means learning how to calm down when you're angry or figuring out ways to keep your cool in stressful situations.
3. Social Awareness - The third component of emotional intelligence is being able to see things from another person's perspective. This doesn't mean you have to agree with them; it just means that you understand where they're coming from and why they feel or react the way they do.
4. Relationship Management - Finally, once you've developed your self-awareness, self-regulation, and social awareness, you'll be ready to learn how to manage relationships with other people.
How do we lead with emotional intelligence?
It's crucial to remember that your team is made up of people. People who have feelings, thoughts, and emotions. If you want to lead with emotional intelligence, you must first identify, understand and manage your own emotions, as well as those of the people you lead.
Don't expect your team to be more emotionally intelligent than you are. If you're constantly frustrated by their reactions and behaviors, it's likely that they are too. By accepting responsibility for your own feelings and reactions, you'll be able to model emotional intelligence for those around you.
Empathize with others’ feelings. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it feels to be in a particular situation or environment. This will help you gain insight into why people react the way they do.
Listen to what people are saying, not just the words they're using - when you listen actively and seek to understand, rather than just hear - you'll be able to identify the emotions behind their words.
Make others feel safe sharing their emotions - when you're aware of your own emotions and able to acknowledge them, you'll be better equipped to understand others. When someone shares their feelings with you, try not to judge them or tell them what they should do next - instead, listen actively and seek to understand where they're coming from. This will help create an environment where people feel safe sharing whatever's on their minds without fear of judgment or criticism.
Understand how different personality types may react differently when faced with certain situations - When working with a team or group of people, make sure to be aware of what type of personality is around you and how they might react in certain situations; this will help prevent misunderstandings from happening in the future.
Taking into account how others might be feeling before making decisions or giving orders - can help you avoid conflict and prevent your emotions from getting in the way of making good decisions.
Leading with emotional intelligence is not about denying or ignoring your emotions; it's about recognizing them for what they are - a guiding force that can help you make better decisions. Emotions can be an engine for change in your life, but only if you know how to harness them.