When we face difficult situations or uncertain futures ahead (just think how the 2020 global events have rolled out completely from left field), as humans we get into fight or flight mode. We are made this way, this is our primitive brain that takes over. This is also the time when employees look for their leadership to provide support and guidance. Here is where emotionally intelligent leaders will thrive and will have a higher success rate at guiding their teams through crisis. Emotional intelligence, a term that has gained popularity in recent years, refers to the ability to work with others, be empathetic, lead with integrity, and manage emotions in a constructive manner, as well as emotions of others.
In his book Emotional Intelligence, author and psychologist Daniel Goleman suggested that EQ (or emotional intelligence quotient) might actually be more important than IQ. Think how far anyone can go if equipped to groom both?
Emotional intelligence comes up – over and over again across various future of work and skills reports - as a critical skill for leaders to possess in order to be successful in the workplace. While technology will continue to transform the way we work, skills such as emotional intelligence will never go out of style.
The following are 4 Emotional Intelligence traits that a leader must continuously grow and practice to drive their teams forward – into a future that is now!
It is important to know how your own actions will affect the people around you and what can be the consequences; it can help you handle certain situations and personalities around you in a positive way. Knowing that not all people react to the same situation in a similar fashion, will help you determine the best way to communicate issues with different people. Self-awareness also means that you know your specific strengths and weaknesses and thus provides you the ability to delegate effectively. Passing specific projects to specific individuals with the right strengths is the key to create an empowering environment in the workplace. Awareness starts here: for you to understand those around you, you must understand yourself first and foremost.
Showing empathy for other people and understanding their situation is one of the key traits to have, in both personal and professional lives. Understanding that not everyone is the same, helps to bring out the best from people. Every single person you meet has something of unique value to add to you so be open to others who may not be like you, who may have different lifestyles, different approaches for problem solving, different personalities, etc. It is important for you to step in their shoes and see the world from their eyes, to better understand them and to feel compassion for others. Offering your help to people in need and supporting them in their time of distress is the key to building strong bonds. To learn more about Empathy (vs. Sympathy), I highly recommend checking out this video by Brene Brown.
3. Connecting with others
Negotiation is one of the important elements for anyone to have a successful professional career. And it becomes easier if you can create a meaningful connection with the people around you. By creating connections with your team, you will create a happier environment where everyone trusts each other and can provide a helping hand in time of need. By fostering a collaborative approach, you - as a leader, can create a positive environment leading to increased creativity in the workplace. Listening to other people's ideas and opinions tends to open the gate for something previously unknown. When it comes to EQ and leadership, leaders with higher EQ tend to be better at creating team with high motivation, empowerment and drive.
Someone with low EQ tends to be more obstinate and feels as if they are right all the time. It is not possible to be right all of the time. Don't be optimistic, be realistic. Be flexible enough to listen to someone else's perspective. It is quite possible that others might have a better idea compared to the one which you think is the best for a particular situation. Brainstorming really helps out of the box thinking and is the best way to learn and improve ourselves. Be open to accepting others and their thoughts, if you want to bring the best out of everyone. Flexibility is essential in today’s working world as things are changing faster than ever in regards to technology, the work environment, and how we work with each other. Many have colleagues in different parts of the world, telecommuting and working together via long distance, which adds further need to be flexible and understanding of other people’s perspectives as they may be coming from very different cultures than your own.
Be open, be mindful and be agile.
Do you want to learn more on developing future skills and build psychological resources in your organization? Let's talk.
You might also like this online session on Emotional Intelligence
Managing Partner @ Bessern