The Power Of Emotional Intelligence In Leadership

Are you aware of your emotions? Do you know how to control them? More importantly, do you know how to express your feelings?

Then there’s a good chance you’re an emotionally intelligent leader. If you couldn’t answer the questions above in the affirmative, don’t worry. You can learn how to become more emotionally intelligent. Figuring out our emotions and how to deal with them can feel a lot like solving a Rubik’s Cube.

You can work on emotional intelligence, like many of our interpersonal skills. Just because you’ve been bad at relating to others, expressing yourself, and controlling your emotions doesn’t mean you can’t.

The Power Of Emotional Intelligence In Leadership

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important

If you’ve ever worked for a leader who lacked emotional intelligence, you know how difficult it can be. The leader flies off the handle at the most minor issue. Maybe the boss kept all of his feelings bottled up. You never knew who he was going to be on a given day.

Emotional intelligence is crucial because you’re able to control your emotions in difficult situations. You’ve learned how to manage your feelings and how you express those feelings. You’re not wishy-washy in your actions or the way you treat people.

There are several benefits of emotional intelligence. They include:

  • Knowing how to interpret your feelings
  • Managing other people’s emotions
  • Being able to manage and regulate stress levels
  • Improving communication skills
  • Creating a positive work environment
  • Understanding how your emotions impact others

These benefits go beyond benefiting yourself. When you’re emotionally intelligent, you benefit those you lead, who manage you, and those you interact with on a regular basis.

Who wouldn’t want to be more emotionally intelligent?

How To Develop Emotional Intelligence

You know the benefits of emotional intelligence. You also understand you have areas to work on. So, how do you develop emotional intelligence?

The following tips and tricks will help you increase your emotional intelligence and positively impact those around you.

Cultivate self-awareness:

The first step in developing emotional intelligence is to cultivate self-awareness. You have to look inward to understand what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and how you’re dealing with your feelings.

There are some questions that you can ask yourself to be more self-aware. Consider asking yourself:

  • Why am I feeling this way?
  • What triggered this feeling?
  • How do I want to respond?

As you examine these questions in your life, your self-awareness will increase.

Practice empathy:

While we joke that we need to walk a mile in others’ shoes so that we’re a mile away when we do something bad, it’s not the way to do things. We have to learn how to understand the feelings of others.

Consider how your words might make someone feel. You can do this by imagining how your words would make you feel if someone said them to you. I often use the example of Presidential or political campaigns where comments can get dicey. There was a meme going around showing a pig getting ready to go to the bathroom. The words over the image stated, “Prepare for an incoming message from candidate X.” 

If Candidate X were your son or daughter, how would that make you feel? That’s how the person and their family are feeling. 

You’ve now learned how to practice a part of empathy. 

If you want to see how well you practice empathy, take this empathy quiz from Greater Good.

Learn to communicate better:

It’s hard to be emotionally intelligent if we don’t know how to articulate and express our thoughts and ideas. Becoming a better communicator opens up the door to expressing yourself clearly and fully.

There are many ways of improving your communication. You can take a college course on speaking, attend a Toastmasters meeting, and talking in small groups.

You Need To Be Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence isn’t being soft. You’re actually stronger when you understand the way you feel.

This is why you need to be emotionally intelligent. You’ll understand the people you lead better. You’ll understand yourself better. And people will hear what you’re saying.

Practice the skills above, and you’ll find your emotional intelligence growing. You’ll also find yourself climbing the corporate or non-profit ladder as you can better relate to the people around you.

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