How Does Emotional Intelligence Influence Leadership
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (EI) has become one of the most popular leadership theories. It looks at how well you control your emotions to influence others and help them feel more confident in yourself and their surroundings.
Many companies have designed programs or services that focus on teaching people’s emotional skills. These include things like confidence, negotiation, communication, empathy, etc.
There are even some websites and courses that offer “emotional fitness” tests so you can get quick scores for your overall EI.
But is it all just a fad? Is this theory too good to be true?
We will talk about whether or not emotional intelligence is an effective tool for leading teams in the next section. But first, let us discuss what makes up someone’s emotional intelligence.
The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership
Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in what is now referred to as “emotional literacy” or “EI.” This term was coined back in 2000 when Daniel Goleman published his best seller, "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters and How To Develop It." Since then, it has become one of the most popular concepts in psychology.
Many experts believe that we are living in an era where people don't seem to have much emotion-the ones they do have are either very strong emotions suchas angeror none at all.
They say that this lack of feeling is preventing us from functioning effectively at work and home. In fact, some even argue that the current epidemicof depression, anxietyand stress-related disease is due in part to our growing inabilityto regulate our own feelings.
The relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership
Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of interest in what is known as “emotional literacy” or "EML" (pronounced like "medical"). This concept looks at how well you manage your own emotions to facilitate effective performance in workplace settings.
Most experts agree that being able to recognize, understand, and control your own feelings and those of others are just as important as knowing about math and science. They say that developing this ability is a fundamental part of leading and motivating people.
Furthermore, they claim that lack of emotion regulation can be a major cause of poor leadership.
There have even been some theories suggesting that having low levels of EI may make someone a good leader, because of their natural tendency to motivate other people through persuasion rather than command.
How to improve your emotional intelligence
Developing your empathy is an important part of improving your emotional intelligence. You’re probably already quite empathetic, which is why you’ve been able to relate to other people for most of your life.
But there are several ways to increase your empathy in order to help yourself and others around you feel more appreciated and relaxed. Here are five easy tips that can boost your EI immediately.
1.) Do something kind for someone else
This could be as simple as giving someone back their bag they left at your place or buying them lunch because they worked hard somewhere. Or it could be doing something much bigger like helping them move into their new house or donating money to a worthy cause they mentioned.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure it takes about half an hour of their time and then let go of whether they did good or bad for you. The only thing you care about is how you felt afterwards.
Hold conversations more closely with your team
As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is related to how well you understand other people and their emotions. When talking about leadership, this aspect of EI becomes even more important.
As a leader, you will need to talk to everyone around you. You will have to work effectively with others in both casual and professional settings.
Conversational skills are an integral part of being a successful leader. In fact, there’s a growing body of research that suggests having strong conversational skills can be as significant as having a college degree in determining someone’s promotion potential.
But what makes a conversation “strong”? And what qualities make a person seem like they have strong conversational skills?
It's impossible to tell if someone has good conversational skills until you've given them a chance to speak. So try asking questions and listening actively. If you're struggling to think of something to say, take a break or ask someone else for help.
Make more authentic eye contact
A good deal of leadership is about making people feel important, which typically requires making at least occasional eye contact with each other. When someone does not have enough EI, they may look away often to avoid being recognized or acknowledge you only when asked directly. This can be problematic for leaders who depend on relationships to succeed.
As we know, one of the major factors that determine whether someone has high EQ is their ability to recognize and understand emotions. If you cannot tell how others are feeling, it will be difficult to develop strong interpersonal skills and trust.
If your colleagues do not seem to like you, ask yourself why. Is it because of something you said? Did you do something wrong? Are they jealous of your position? Try to figure out what is going on before assuming anything.
It could also be due to emotional regulation issues. People with low self-control tend to become angry or irritated very quickly without reason. It takes longer for them to calm down after an argument or confrontation.
Be more consistent with your emotions
A related way to strengthen emotional intelligence is by being more consistent in how you show your feelings. When someone does something that hurts you, try not to immediately go after them or put them down.
This will help you to hold onto your sense of calm longer than if you were constantly blowing up and becoming very angry. It also helps them realize they did wrong before you take action, giving them time to think about their behavior.
In addition to this, remember there’s no such thing as perfection. We’re all human, so let yourself off the hook sometimes! Don’t expect yourself to be perfect every day, because we’re never going to be that person at least once in our lives.
Instead, use your emotional intelligence to help you achieve your goals and keep moving forward.
Learn to laugh
One of the most essential skills that leader’s must possess is their ability to learn how to laugh. A lot of times, leadership positions can get very stressful and there are only so many breaks you have before you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing and whether or not it’s worth it.
As human beings we spend a large amount of time in our lives being stressed out about something or other. We worry about money, we worry about work, we worry about family, and we constantly feel stress from trying to fulfill all of these things.
But why should we be worried? Why should we be stressed out about everything? Because we're spending too much time thinking about things that aren't necessarily good for us.
We're living such hectic lifestyles which are completely unnatural. Living your life with no break really takes a toll on you as an individual and a team. Having enough sleep, exercising, eating right, and giving yourself some down time help keep you balanced and relaxed.
By learning how to reduce your own level of stress, you'll also be able to help others relax and de-stress.
Share your experiences with your team
As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is like IQ for people. Just because you do not have much of one does not mean you cannot function well in society. People who are highly intelligent can sometimes show lack of empathy due to their high IQ.
However, being emotionally smart means having control over your own emotions which helps motivate others. If someone else brings up an emotion that you are feeling, then you will choose whether to take action or not on that topic depending on if they seem more motivated than you.
Your job as a leader is to create an environment where your team feels comfortable sharing their feelings so that they can ask for help when needed. This also gives them the opportunity to talk about things that may be bothering them so that they can work through it.
By doing this, you give your team the chance to connect on an even ground and make them feel valued.