How To Improve Emotional Intelligence In Leadership

Developing your emotional intelligence (EI) is an integral part of being a leader. You will not know how to lead others if you do not develop your empathy, confidence, motivation, and relationship skills.

Many believe that leadership is only about having power, but this is wrong! Being a good leader means helping other people achieve their goals while motivating them to work hard for it. It also includes leading a team of people who are working together towards a common goal.

If you want to be a better leader, you must improve your emotional intelligence. Research shows that people with higher EI are more successful leaders than those with lower levels.

You can increase your level of EI by developing the five major components – self-awareness, relationally focused communication, motivation, emotion regulation, and adaptive decision making.

Self-awareness looks at what parts of yourself contribute to your feelings and behaviors. For example, when something bad happens, some people become preoccupied with why it happened and what they could have done differently. This can make them feel guilty or even punish themselves by refusing to go out or exercise.

It also means recognizing your strengths and weaknesses so you can choose to focus on your strengths or learn from your weaknesses. This helps you recognize just how capable you are and gives you courage to try new things.

Relationally focused communication refers to understanding how emotions influence others. This includes knowing which buttons to push and when.

Have patience

how to improve emotional intelligence in leadership

As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is like having water in an ocean. You can never really have enough of it, but you come across situations where there’s not much available due to lack of resources or time.

That's when you need to be able to regulate your own emotions so that you don't overreact. It also helps if you learn how to give others their needed emotional resources by being aware of their needs and doing things that make them feel good about themselves and what they're working on.

By having patience with yourself and those around you, you will find that your emotional intelligence has improved.

You'll also improve your leadership potential as we discussed before. A leader cannot demand respect and admiration from his followers at all times, but he must show them that they are worth investing in and who they can turn to for help. This isn't always easy, but it is important.

Running away from difficult challenges only creates more problems down the line.

Make eye contact

Making direct personal connections with others is a powerful tool for leadership. When you make direct, meaningful eye contact with someone, it can strengthen your relationship with them, influence how they perceive you, and even change how they feel about yourself.

Making eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean looking people in the eyes, although that is usually understood to be a form of making a strong connection. It can instead be a way to acknowledge their presence or look into their face to show interest.

When our emotions are running high, it's easy to avoid direct eye contact because we're not feeling comfortable. If you want to improve your emotional intelligence as a leader, though, investing some time in developing this skill will help.

Making intentional eye contact can reduce stress, increase confidence, build trust, and promote cooperation. When done correctly, it can also motivate people to do things for you.

Be realistic

how to improve emotional intelligence in leadership

A lot of theories about emotional intelligence focus too much on what makes someone “toughen up” or “get into it,” something that is often discussed in relation to leadership. While these are important components of EQ, they're not the only ones.

There are eight main factors that make up your overall EQ score, according to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and its applications. They include self-awareness, regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills, responsibility, use of emotion for good, and acceptance of yourself and others.

And while having high levels of one factor is helpful, knowing which ones are weak and need developing can help you improve them. That way, you don't waste time working on things that aren't making a difference.

Share your experiences

how to improve emotional intelligence in leadership

As mentioned earlier, one of the important things that great leaders do is share their past stories with others. Leaders learn from their mistakes and how they overcame adversity or achieved success.

Leaders also use these lessons to inspire other people. When someone looks up to you, what qualities they admire about you can be used as an example for them to follow.

By sharing your own experiences, you will help motivate others and show them that you are a person who knows what it takes to succeed. You will also give them guidance by offering tips and tricks that have worked for you.

Reading business books and listening to audiobooks are good ways to develop your leadership skills by learning more about different aspects of the workplace.

You could even create your own book or audio story to teach others something new. The only thing that matters is if you are teaching someone else something then you are helping them improve their emotional intelligence.

Be honest with your peers

how to improve emotional intelligence in leadership

Sometimes, in the workplace, we see people that are not being as honest or direct as they could be. This is particularly true when it comes to friendship relationships. In these cases, we can say that their emotional intelligence (EI) has slipp-ed off.

If you notice someone who seems less passionate about his/her work, or feels like he/she does not have enough respect from colleagues, then this may be an indication of low EI.

It is important to note that there is no way to know if this person was born without empathy or whether he/she never learned how to use it, but by knowing what signs to look for, you can now improve their EQ.

Listen to others closely

how to improve emotional intelligence in leadership

As a leader, your success will depend heavily upon your ability to listen well. You must be able to distinguish what people are saying about you and how they say it- whether it’s positive or negative- so that you can respond appropriately.

Whether someone else’s praise is due or not, acknowledge their comments and recognize their efforts when they try to help you succeed.

When they fail to compliment you, ask them why and if there is something you could do to change to get the same response again.

It may also be time to give up trying to elicit compliments. It’s a lovely thought, but it's probably just not for you. Your personal style of leadership makes you who you are, and changing that would take work.

Instead, learn how to interpret other people’s body language and tone of voice. There’s no need to speak per usual norms unless those norms include making other people feel valued and respected.

Don’t be egotistical

how to improve emotional intelligence in leadership

As mentioned before, emotional intelligence (EI) is your ability to recognize, identify, and control your emotions. It helps you manage your moods and behaviors, and understand the feelings of others.

But while most people agree that having high EI is helpful for leadership, some believe that being egocentric or self-focused is actually a prerequisite to leading.

They claim that only someone with very low EI can succeed as a leader because they don’t have internalized the importance of putting others first. At the same time, they may not realize how their own negative thoughts and feelings influence those around them.

Furthermore, since they are less aware of their own weaknesses and fear of failure, they won’t encourage other people to try new things.

Be humble

how to improve emotional intelligence in leadership

Humility is one of the most important qualities for leadership. People will not trust you or believe in your abilities if you are too confident.

As leader, there will always be people that do not agree with what you do. There will also be times when things go wrong and you feel bad about it.

When these happen, being able to show humility helps mitigate this negative effect.

By acknowledging how you could have done something better or worse, others will perceive you as more trustworthy.

Furthermore, people who work under you want to know they can rely on you and hope to find someone like this at their company.

Being humble is an excellent quality for anyone aspiring to lead. You must remember that no matter where you are in life, other people’s perception of you matters.

Conversationalists and socializers are good ways to improve your emotional intelligence.

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