How Emotional Intelligence Makes Leaders More Impactful

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (“EI”) has become one of the most popular leadership theories in business. It looks at how well you control your own emotions and what types of emotions you have to help motivate and inspire others.

Some experts believe that we are only capable of developing certain levels of EI, with some people having higher levels than others. This theory suggests that people who have high EQs are more likely to succeed in life and work because they understand other people’s emotions.

They also recognize their own emotions and learn from them. Because they know why someone is feeling a particular way, they can better predict how they should respond to get results. In fact, several studies suggest that employees who feel more supported by their bosses are less likely to go looking for another job.

There are many different ways to develop your emotional intelligence. You can improve your self-awareness, manage your emotions, relate to other people, use empathy, and reduce stress.

Understand your own emotions

how emotional intelligence makes leaders more impactful

A large part of being an effective leader is understanding your own emotional tendencies and how they affect those around you. Your leadership effectiveness depends heavily on your personal maturity level, which includes your ability to regulate your emotions.

If you cannot control your emotions then that can have negative consequences for yourself and others. For example, someone who is in constant anger or rage will likely hurt themselves and/or others around them.

Similarly, people may avoid working with you if they do not feel safe because of your unpredictable behavior. In both cases, your lack of self-control negates your potential as a leader.

There are several types of emotion regulation strategies that help you gain mastery over your emotions. These include: practicing acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, relaxation, distraction, problem solving, and more.

However, none of these work unless you know what kind of emotions you are trying to reduce or eliminate.

Once you identify your dominant emotions, you can choose to simply acknowledge them instead of reacting immediately. This helps you take some time to process what just happened before you respond.

Connect with your emotions

how emotional intelligence makes leaders more impactful

A few years back, I worked with a leader who was very focused on his career. He made great efforts to position himself as one of the top leaders in his organization by attending all the leadership seminars, publishing his own book, and giving speeches about leadership.

He even hired a coach so that he could learn more about leadership. All these things were wonderful, but they left him lacking in another important area: emotional intelligence (EI).

Emotional quotient or EQ is a term used to describe someone’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage their feelings. It goes beyond just knowing what people feel like telling you – it also means understanding why they are feeling those feelings.

This kind of insight can help you be a better collaborator, negotiator, and friend, which are crucial roles in business. You will not know how others feel unless you ask them, and if you cannot connect with them, then you will never truly improve yourself.

So, how do you develop your empathy?

There are several strategies you can use to strengthen your emotional intelligence. One of the most effective ways is to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness comes from Buddhism and the word itself refers to paying close attention to the present moment experience- without thinking past thoughts or future plans.

Access your emotional intelligence

how emotional intelligence makes leaders more impactful

A key part of emotional intelligence is being able to access your emotions. You’re more likely to be successful as a leader if you are aware of how you feel at all times.

This includes understanding why you're feeling a certain way, whether it's about someone or something. It also means knowing what you're feeling and in what order.

You can learn this by reflecting on past experiences and noticing patterns. When things go wrong, take some time to figure out why.

It could be because of something that happened earlier in the day, week, month or year. Make an effort to understand why you felt the way you did and address any underlying issues.

Use your emotional intelligence

how emotional intelligence makes leaders more impactful

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in what is now referred to as “emotional literacy or EQ”. Many claim that having high levels of emotional intelligence (EI) makes you more effective at work and in life.

This is not surprising given that one of the core components of EI is understanding and managing your own emotions.

And we all know that being able to control your own emotions is a key factor in achieving success in life.

So while it may sound cliché, research does prove that people who have higher EQ are actually better leaders.

They are less likely to get distracted by angry feelings towards someone else and instead focus on solving the problem.

Furthermore, they are usually much more honest about how they feel which helps them build trust with others.

There are several theories about why this link exists between leadership and emotional intelligence but none seem totally conclusive.

However, there is one theory which suggests that when you're a leader, you use your empathy more frequently than anyone else.

You need to be aware of and understand the needs and desires of other people if you want to motivate them to do things for you.

On the other hand, studies show that people who are good at recognizing and controlling their own emotions are also more successful in personal relationships.

That's probably because they learn to regulate their own strong emotions more quickly and effectively.

Make decisions based on your emotional intelligence

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in what is known as emotional intelligence (EI). This term refers to how well you are able to manage your emotions and understand them for their positive and negative value.

Some experts believe that we all have some degree of EI, but it can be boosted through training. There are several different theories about why having higher levels of EI helps improve leadership effectiveness.

However, most agree that being aware of one’s own feelings and those of others is a key part of growing your EQ. You will probably need to work on this at least to the level of having basic empathy, though practicing self-awareness goes much further.

Making effective decisions depends heavily on knowing yourself and understanding other people. So improving your EI is an important goal if you want to grow as a leader.

Become a good listener

how emotional intelligence makes leaders more impactful

As discussed earlier, being a good leader means more than telling people what to do. You also need to listen to them and understand their needs and challenges. This is important because leadership depends on relationships — with colleagues, superiors, and subordinates.

If you are too focused on getting your own things done, then you will neglect important roles that you have as a leader. Your team may feel like they are not heard or understood, which can negatively affect trust and productivity in the workplace.

As a leader, keep an open line of communication by using appropriate listening techniques. Ask questions and really try to pay attention to the answers.

You could even ask about something that was mentioned days ago if there’s anything new happening for them. Don’t just repeat what others say unless you agree-that would be passive listening.

Take notes, make calls, etc., so you don’t forget anything. And don’t interrupt people when they speak! If someone rambles, give them some time to settle down before jumping in.

Emotions arise due to situations or individuals, so asking follow up questions and seeking clarifications can help you better understand why someone is feeling a certain way. Using nonverbal cues such as body language can tell you a lot as well.

Keep an eye on general moods and see how people are interacting with each other. When needed, offer supportive comments and verbalize understanding.

Understand your audience

how emotional intelligence makes leaders more impactful

As mentioned earlier, being aware of what makes someone else feel good can help you influence them or motivate them to do something. This is called identifying their emotional needs.

By understanding these needs, you’ll know how to gain their trust and use that to push through your own agenda.

For example, if someone seems stressed out, you could suggest doing something fun they have been wanting to do for a while. If they seem like they are not caring about others, you could show them how their actions affect those around them and maybe even talk about ways to improve their relationships.

If they don't look too happy, try finding out why they aren't and see if there's anything you can do to make them happier.

The key here is to be authentic and relate to them — just remember, no one but you knows you so always check yourself first.

Be honest with your audience

how emotional intelligence makes leaders more impactful

As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is like having a tool box full of skills. You’re not just aware of some of these tools, you actually use them to achieve things and help others feel good about themselves and their lives.

But before you can apply those tools to yourself or someone else, you have to be able to recognize when they are being used and if they are in fact effective. This is what it means to be “honest with your audience.”

If you don’t know something works for one person, chances are it doesn’t work for you. People’s emotions shift and fluctuate depending on lots of different factors, including mood, situation, and life changes.

This is why it can be tricky trying to determine whether someone has an app level amount of emotional intelligence or not. It may seem obvious to think that people who are mean to you are lacking in empathy, but there could be any number of reasons why they behaved this way.

It could be because they were hurt by you, or maybe they felt insecure and needed to prove a point to show you that they weren’t weaker than you. Or perhaps they wanted something that you had and couldn’t give them.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to acknowledge where the other person is coming from so you can avoid repeating the same behavior later.

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