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What Is Emotional Intelligence In Leadership?

We will forever remember 2020, a year filled with fear and uncertainty for many. Leaders entered uncharted territories, adapting how they worked with their teams. Setting up new protocols and safety measures to ensure their teams' safety. Most challenging of all was the complex economic consequences of lockdown on organisations.

It is in challenging times that Emotional Intelligence in leadership becomes so essential. It is no longer a nice to have skill, but necessary to be an effective leader, particularly in trying times. 

Emotional intelligence directly affects how we perceive, use, understand and manage our emotions.  Emotional intelligence is the intelligent use of our emotions. It impacts our capacity to work effectively with others. It helps us make better decisions, and advance toward our goals. Emotional intelligence is a vital leadership skill that produces significant bottom-line results. 

Here are some of the top qualities of Emotionally Intelligent leaders.

  • Leaders who have an awareness of their impact on others

These leaders are mindful of how their emotional state influences their team's. Impacting their teams' decision-making, perception and performance. They aim to energise their team or to inspire confidence. These leaders skillfully direct the emotional pulse of the team to drive positive outcomes.

  • Leaders who strategically use their emotions to help them achieve outcomes.

Emotional intelligent leaders have self-awareness. They determine what emotional self-regulation strategies are best suited to help them manage their own emotional states. They understand that emotions contain valuable data. They are open to capitalising on this information to help with problem solving and creativity. They welcome all emotions. They redirect and prioritise thinking to best suit the need for the best performance in a given task.

  • Leaders who are cognitively and emotionally empathic.

Emotionally Intelligent leaders are attuned to others' states. They understand that empathy involves both a cognitive component and an emotional component.

When an Emotionally Intelligent leader asks, "How are you doing?" They honestly want to know what you're experiencing. They have a keen interest in identifying opportunities to support you. These leaders are sensitive to the emotional pulse of a group. They exercise empathic perspective-taking. They pay attention to the human side of the business and show they genuinely care.

  • Leaders who pay attention to both what is said and unsaid.

These leaders are skilled in perceiving what others are experiencing, they can "read between the lines". They can incorporate what they know about a situation and a person. As well as pick up on non-verbal communication such as body language, posture and voice. 

They avoid jumping to conclusions when there are any discrepancies. They choose instead to investigate. They ask questions and making an effort to understand underlying motivations.

  • Leaders who maintain a positive team atmosphere.

These leaders understand their role in shaping the culture of the team. They focus on encouraging positive emotions. These emotions are crucial to performance, decision making, conflict resolution and team dynamics. 

Emotionally Intelligent leaders create an open, inclusive culture. An environment where people aren't afraid of making mistakes. The leaders know these teams are committed and give their all when they come to work.

  • Leaders who have a rich emotional vocabulary.

Emotionally Intelligent leaders understand the complexity of emotions. The causes of emotional and why people respond the way they do. Their richer and more refined emotional vocabulary means they're able to reflect and navigate their emotional experience in the moment. 

  • Leaders who are open to developing their EI skills.

These leaders recognise the positive influence that emotional intelligence plays in their own leadership and are open to the ongoing development.

These leaders proactively challenge themselves and further develop their perspectives and approach. They make a positive and valuable impact on the lives of their team and their organisation as a whole.

The real, tangible, bottom-line benefits of emotional intelligence are undeniable. Enhancing your organisation's emotional intelligence might be the most impactful company investment you make as we enter another year of uncertainty with COVID-19.

For specialist advice on improving the EQ in yourself and your team reach out to Coach Sonja Shear

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