As a leader, you can have every technical skill in the world, but if you are lacking emotional intelligence, you will struggle to communicate properly with your team. While that may sound daunting, don’t worry, let’s walk through what emotional intelligence is and how you can implement it in your workplace.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence, also referred to as EQ, is “the ability to understand and control your own feelings, and to understand the feelings of others and react to them in a suitable way” (Cambridge Dictionary).
Resilient Educator* discuss the breakdown of EQ into its 5 key components:
- Emotional Self-Awareness — knowing what one is feeling at any given time and understanding the impact those moods have on others
- Self-Regulation — controlling or redirecting one’s emotions; anticipating consequences before acting on impulse
- Motivation — utilizing emotional factors to achieve goals, enjoy the learning process and persevere in the face of obstacles
- Empathy — sensing the emotions of others
- Social Skills — managing relationships, inspiring others and inducing desired responses from them
How do these 5 components tie into being a great leader? As a leader, you set the tone of your organization. The way that you interact with and react to your employees affects their cognition, confidence, and therefore, performance.
Emotional Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation
Let’s discuss emotional self-awareness and self-regulation. It’s imperative that you understand yourself first. Take the time to consider why your feelings are what they are and what instinctual actions you want to take, before you take them. What are your strengths and weaknesses? If presented with bad news, what is your impulse reaction? The more understanding you have of your own thoughts and behaviors, the better you can control them.
What motivates you? What motivates your employees? Consider both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from within. Doing work because it makes you feel accomplished, proud, purposeful, etc. Extrinsic motivation is all about what you can receive from your work. Awards, bonuses, public accolades. If you can understand what motivates your employees and makes them feel valued, you can create situations where their performance will thrive.
Empathy and Social Skills
In leadership, you’re going to face situations with your employees that are less than ideal for the business. Employees will have great days, but they will also have really bad days, just like you. The key to handling these bad days is having empathy for your employees, and being able to pick up on their emotions before they negatively affect business. One day, you may recognize that a typically chipper and confident employee seems quieter than usual. If possible and not an inconvenience to the business, perhaps that day you should move your 2-hour meeting with them to a different day. Or, if an employee is having a great day, that may be the day to meet with them and discuss upcoming projects you would like for them to take on. Overall, understand how to read the room. This empathy will lead to highly-valued, trusting relationships with your employees.
Lastly, consider your social abilities. Do you know how to properly handle conflict between employees? How to properly praise your employee when they’ve done excellent work? A leader with proper social skills creates an example for employees to model in their own behavior.
Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.
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*“Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Theory: Explanation and Examples: Resilient Educator.” ResilientEducator.com, 11 June 2020