In the past, many leaders have succeeded professionally through a combination of experience, relationships and IQ. Today’s businesses need leaders that are able to be collaborative, trusting, inclusive, comfortable with challenge, to lead with purpose, motivate teams during difficult times and demonstrate empathy. This requires a whole different set of leadership skills that perhaps don’t always come as naturally.
When we ask clients what makes a good leader? They often say “good with people” “puts the team first” “cares about my development” – these are the individuals with the ability to relate to and understand people on a deeper level and utilise their emotional intelligence or EI.
Emotional intelligence is much broader than your ability to process your emotions – it’s a set of emotional and social skills that impact how well we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way to make decisions. (1)
The ability to identify, understand and respond to emotions has numerous benefits both for leaders and their teams. For example, leaders with high EI can flextheir personal style to motivate a wide range of team members by processing emotional information to identify when they need to change their approach or communicate differently. This can be crucial during times of challenge and change. For team members, understanding their emotions and how feeling manifest themselves can help lower instances of stress and heightened their ability to cope with change and challenge.
There are five core elements to emotional intelligence which with focus and practice you can improve:
- Self-awareness or self-perception: this isunderstanding your own values and beliefs systems and addressing your own unconscious bias which in turn will help you develop higher self-esteem, have greater respect for yourself and appreciate the perspectives of others. Being able to articulate what you believe in and why is important for building followership.
- Self-expression / communication style: understanding how you communicate is just as important as what you say. Being able to express yourself constructively, being assertive and emotionally independent of others is key. Seek out feedback on your communication style and identify times when you weren’t able to be calm – what were the thought patterns you experienced?
- Interpersonal / building relationships: building relationships which are at their core are respectful, constructive and truthful is a key aspect of what employees expect from their managers. Having strong empathy and being able to have open and honest conversations will ensure that your teams feel respected and valued as individuals.
- Decision making: emotional intelligence can play a strong part in decision making. If you are able to utilise emotional information to make decisions it can help you remain objective during times of stress.
- Wellbeing and stress: understanding your own feelings and how they might change during times of stress is crucial in order for you to remain resilient when faced with setbacks.
If you are keen to understand more about your own EQ as a leader, we at Rise Well Coaching + Consulting utilise the EQ-i 2.0 and EQ-i 360 psychometric assessment which investigates your and your team’s emotional intelligence aptitude.
Notes: (1) Definition based on Psysoft Limited’s definition of emotional intelligence as utilised in their EQ-i 2.0 Practitioner training certification.