I read an article recently about emotional intelligence, that suggested this will become a prominent component of business principles in the not-so-distant future.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is no longer the remit of more ‘hippy,’ laid–back companies who tend to employ an attitude of self-love and self-understanding among employees.
EI is becoming a business prerogative, growing in importance as an essential set of skills required in the workplace across all sectors.
EI was ranked sixth in the World Economic Forum’s list of the top 10 skills that employees will need to possess to thrive in the workplace of the future.
So, what exactly is EI, and why is it so crucial to business, going forward?
It may seem like a bit of a buzz word, but EI is a phrase that’s been around for a while now. Its meteoric rise in popularity has recently been pushed by Millennials and the upcoming Gen Z who are entering the marketplace looking for much more than just a good salary.
We know that an employee who has high EI has a better understanding of their strengths, areas for development and self-awareness that allows them to function well with their colleagues. They tend to be happier in their work, more motivated and therefore, more productive.
Additionally, good EI enables the individual to show greater empathy to clients and even have a better understanding of a competitor’s motivations.
So, how can self-love and self-understanding help you achieve success as a leader? Here are five key ways to embrace your own EI to become a successful leader.
Self-awareness, is the ability to recognise yourself and what makes your identity unique, with components that include your talents, thoughts and experiences.
PositivePsychology refers to self-awareness as being one of the main mechanisms of self-control. It enables you as an individual to monitor your inner world and emotions as they arise and to be aware of your outward reactions to those thoughts and feelings.
Having the ability to be non-judgemental of yourself, but to accept what is, will enable you to deepen your self-awareness by acknowledging that you are only human rather than giving yourself a hard time over past actions and reactions.
With self-awareness comes the ability to self-regulate. By acknowledging your thoughts and reactions, you can control your emotional response and behaviour in the real world. This gives you the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses and control your behaviour – of paramount importance in a leader.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey refers to this as the response-ability – the ability to choose your response to a given situation. By the way, if you haven’t got a copy of this book, I highly recommend it.
In other words, you are in total control of how you react, rather than being unable to control your emotions. You can exercise your free will to choose how to respond!
Do you find it easy to metaphorically step into a colleague’s shoes and see situations from their point of view? If the answer is yes, then you’re already exhibiting traits of empathy.
Empathy is a critical component of Emotional Intelligence.
It is more than merely being sympathetic; it’s more about feeling with the other person, picking up non-verbal clues and showing sensitivity to their situation, thoughts and emotions.
Motivation is the passion you have to get started; to undertake an action.
Internal motivation often refers to the motivation that drives us to do something for which there is no tangible external reward. An example could be learning how to draw or to play the piano – something purely for the enjoyment it brings you.
Internal motivation can also refer to the resulting action dictated by our feelings. This can be positive or negative.
So, for example, you could want to make a cake for a colleague’s birthday as you know it will give them great pleasure (positive motivation). Alternatively, you may be motivated to stay up late to finish a paper to avoid being unprepared for an important meeting the following day (negative motivation).
Motivation is critical to a leader. Focusing your time and energy on positive internal motivation will help you motivate your team.
Social, or interpersonal, skills are a crucial part of EI. These include verbal and non-verbal communication, listening skills, negotiation, problem–solving and decision making.
These are the everyday skills you use when interacting with others. As a leader, possessing excellent social skills will enable you to work well with others in a collaborative manner. It will help you communicate with individuals and to understand different communication styles.
Additionally, active listening will make you more receptive to what your team are really saying and act accordingly.
A good leader also needs excellent negotiation and influencing skills to work with their team to ensure a mutually agreeable outcome. Coupled with these skills, an aptitude for conflict resolution will enable you to resolve disagreements and conflict positively and move forward as a team.
Finally, a leader should possess the ability to define and solve problems; sometimes making difficult decisions about a course of action but always accepting responsibility for their choices.
Giving yourself an honest appraisal; how do you measure up in Emotional Intelligence? Do you think there’s room for improvement?
Emotional Intelligence can be enhanced – by learning what it involves and by taking a step back before taking action, you can choose how you respond.
Taking control is the start of building your Emotional Intelligence and learning to understand and love yourself is undoubtedly the key to the pathway to success – for you and your team.
Here at Zestfor, we now offer programmes to help you to optimise your leadership skills and personal development and get the best out of your team. If you would like to find out more, then send a quick email here.
Until next time,
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