Emotional Intelligence and Why it is Essential to Your Success

In our last blog post, I wrote about the power of compassionate leadership. Although few people would cite compassion as an essential quality to great leadership, it's an incredibly powerful way to develop trust and followership in your organization. Leaders who show genuine compassion can connect with their employees more effectively, and they inspire their people by displaying care and thoughtfulness, that, in turn, allows everyone else in the business to do the same.

Emotional intelligence, like compassion, is another aspect of great leadership that has been discussed and written about at length. The topic of leadership and emotional intelligence are often described as one in the same. Your emotional intelligence, or “EQ,” is your ability to identify and understand the emotions that you and the people around you experience. 

If you are truly tapped into your own EQ, then you can control and understand your own emotions, and you're also able to perceive the emotional framework behind the actions and attitudes of others. It’s about creating a connection with people by understanding where they are coming from and exemplifying empathy and support as you navigate through your busy days.

As a leader, one of your primary goals should be to create engaging relationships that are built on trust, respect, and support. To me, that's what emotional intelligence is all about. Numerous books and articles have been written and published about the power of emotional intelligence in the realm of business that serve as amazing resources. I'd like to talk about the subject from my personal perspective and discuss some of the ways in which leaders like you can improve emotional intelligence so let's get started!

A Personal View of Emotional Intelligence

When I think of emotional intelligence, I think about it in terms of concepts like empathy, personal connection, and relationships. Take any successful organization and strip away the products, services, reports & data, and the bottom-line results, and what you'll hopefully find at the core are strong relationships between all people in the business, irrelevant of rank or role.

Leaders get the most out of their people because they've been able to make personal, deeper emotional connections. Leaders who understand what drives their employees also understand what is required to motivate and engage each member of their respective team. In the absence of this type of approach, you may come across as generic, lack authenticity, and it might be challenging to create a connection that sparks creativity and desired results.  

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? But this scenario doesn't start to play out until leaders make the choice to start improving their own EQ. It takes effort to create meaningful connections with others, but it is up to you to set the tone and stage for this type of connection to occur by leading by example. This is where vulnerability comes in.  First, you have to decide to present yourself authentically, then you can begin to take the steps that will improve your connections with others in the business and set the tone for “emotional intelligence” within your organization.

Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Some say that emotional intelligence is static, and that it is difficult to improve without hard effort and focus. I disagree. In fact, I believe that there are some things you can start doing today that will have an immediate impact on your EQ.

Improving Self Awareness – Stop, reflect, and look at yourself and how you interact with others. Who are you? What do you believe in? How might others perceive you and your leadership style and approach? Once you know how to focus in and view a clearer picture of yourself, you can truly begin to make the necessary changes to your behavior and ultimately your EQ.

Open Your Mind and Your Heart – It's easy for leaders to isolate themselves, their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. If you want to truly connect with your people, you need to allow yourself to be open and share your ideas (and underlying emotions) with others. Your people will follow your lead if they trust you, and the result will lead to an open, trusting two-way relationship. 

Consider Executive Coaching Programs – If you are self-aware and open minded, you are ready to get the most out of executive coaching. Some people are skeptical about the effectiveness of coaching when it comes to emotional intelligence, but studies have shown that coaching can improve EQ, interpersonal skills, and stress-management techniques considerably. The best part is that it will result in improving workplace performance, in addition to overall levels of personal happiness and well-being.

Solicit Feedback – You won't be able to progress forward unless you are open to receiving feedback on your behavior and communicating style, which is why the concept of self-awareness is so important. The fact is that most people automatically perceive themselves as being empathetic and good at what they do. Without proper feedback, you are limiting yourself and the opportunity for growth.  

Start Improving Your Emotional Intelligence Today

There is nothing more important than being able to connect in a meaningful way with your people, and emotional intelligence is the key that unlocks those amazing connections. If you can improve your EQ, by even a small degree, while tapping into the power of vulnerability, the sky is truly the limit for you as a leader.

Do you need to enhance your emotional intelligence? Are there any techniques that you've used to improve your EQ in the past? Let us know what you think by reaching out as we would love to hear from you!

You can email me at joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.855.871.3374.

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