Emotional intelligence is undeniably one of the most important leadership attributes.
For leaders, emotional intelligence is vital for success. This is what enables us to reach people in relevant ways. With strong emotional intelligence we can motivate, inspire, encourage, and empower in ways that are meaningful to those we lead. Without emotional intelligence it is hard for people to relate, trust, and connect with us. People can sense whether someone is authentic and genuine or not. It’s the ability to emotionally connect to another person that really makes the difference.
Which leader will ultimately be more effective—a leader who reacts to stress with a harsh tone, a raised voice, and impulsive decisions or one who can calmly and firmly assess the situation, show empathy, and manage circumstances in a productive way?
Here are five ways you can develop your emotional intelligence and be a leader who succeeds when interacting with others.
- Be self-aware. Practice healthy self-awareness by paying attention to your own emotions, reactions, body language, and behaviors. Notice and consider how they are affecting the people around you. Tailor your approach in order to find the right balance for yourself and those you interact with or lead. Read your audience and adjust accordingly.
- Be accountable. Staying in control of your emotions and moods is a personal responsibility. Regulating your responses means you’ll avoid making poor or impulsive decisions in the heat of the moment which can lead to negative consequences and damaged relationships with people you work with. Understand the impact your attitudes, energy, and actions have on other people.
- Be empathetic. Empathy is the pinnacle of emotional intelligence. How things look depends on where you stand. When you can see from the perspective of another, when you can consider how something sounds to someone else and when you can feel how life may feel to someone else, an entirely new level of understanding and communication becomes available to you. Tuning in at this level of understanding can make all the difference.
- Create a safe space for people. Allowing others to feel comfortable and secure and not having to weigh each thought or word encourages the type of communication that is indicative of strong effective teams. If someone is feeling small, critiqued, micromanaged, or out of their element, they are less likely to share their valuable thoughts, insights, and ideas. Fostering the right environment benefits everyone.
- Treat people respectfully. Those with strong emotional intelligence are respectful of others. Rather than focusing on their own success first, they help others develop and shine by highlighting and showcasing their strengths, skills, and talents.
People with high emotional intelligence are generally successful in most endeavors. Having a deep understanding of yourself allows others to feel good about themselves and creates an environment with easy navigation and more opportunities for everyone.
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