How To Use Emotional Intelligence As A Leader

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (EI) has become one of the most popular leadership theories. Some even refer to it as the “new soft skills” or “the new psychology” because of its emphasis on non-verbal communication.

But what is emotional intelligence actually like? And why should we care about improving our own EI?

This article will go into more detail on these questions by looking at the characteristics of someone with high levels of EI, how they benefit from having this quality, and some ways you can develop your EQ.

Held up against other leadership qualities such as motivation, empathy and self-awareness, emotional literacy seems rather trivial. But that perception misses the key point: being able to recognize and manage your emotions is an essential skill for leaders.

If you cannot regulate your own moods and emotions, then it becomes much harder to motivate others and maintain trust between you and those under your command. You may also find yourself unable to complete your daily tasks due to stress.

There are many reasons why effective leadership depends upon you being in control of your feelings, but all too often – especially if you're a leader of people - you don't have this mastered.

In this article I'll talk about the different types of emotional intelligence, how they relate to each other, and some tips for developing yours.

Have patience

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As mentioned earlier, leadership is not a position of power where you show up once in a while and get praise for it, but instead, it is always present. It is never interrupted or limited to certain times. Being a leader means being there every day – consistently showing up even when you don’t feel like it.

This can be difficult at times because we human beings are emotional creatures. We feel things very deeply and strongly which makes it hard to contain our emotions outside the workplace.

It also takes us longer than others to process what happens around us so we may put off addressing an issue until we have calmed down or moved onto the next thing. This could negatively affect people who work under you and look to you for help.

As someone who has received training in EI, you should know how to use your EQ skills to promote productivity and happiness for yourself and those around you. You will need to learn how to regulate your own emotions before trying to influence others.

You cannot expect other people to do that for you unless they agree that this is necessary. Becoming more aware of your emotions and learning how to control them is a worthy goal if you want to climb the ladder.

Make eye contact

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

One of the most basic forms of nonverbal communication is making direct eye contact with someone. When you make an effort to look directly into their eyes, they know that you are paying attention to them, and they may feel more inclined to do the same.

Making frequent eye contacts can help create rapport and understanding between people. It’s also a nice way to show respect for others.

When you don’t make eye contact with people, it can be difficult to connect with them and read what they are trying to say. This can hurt your relationships — both professional and personal.

As a leader, keeping an open line of communication is important for teamwork. If you aren’t able to communicate effectively, then how could you hope to inspire trust, collaboration or cooperation in others?

Fortunately, research has found that emotional intelligence (or EI) helps explain why some people seem to enjoy consistent success while helping others achieve the same.

Be realistic

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As we have seen, EQ is like any other skill – it can be trained and improved. Just because someone has high emotional intelligence does not mean they will make an excellent leader, or even good leadership.

Just like with any other talent, being a great leader requires that you are willing to put in the effort to develop your skills. This includes investing time in training, education, and practice.

It also means having a willingness to lose – just like anyone else, there will be times when you lead people who do not agree with you, or get frustrated with you, or even walk away.

But if you remain committed to the cause and focus on what you know, then hopefully others will follow your example and gain from it.
As with anything, developing your ability to be a strong leader takes work and persistence.

Share your experiences

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you will need to use emotional intelligence (EI) in order to inspire others to work harder for you. You must be able to show emotions such as joy, sadness, anger, and fear, just like anyone else!

When someone does something that makes you feel happy or sad, it is important to understand the reason why they made you feel that way. It could be because of what they said, done, left behind, or how they treated you.

By being aware of other people’s emotions, you will know how to motivate them. If you don’t have this skill, it can be hard to survive as a leader.

Your team members will quickly lose respect for you if you cannot recognize and manage their emotions. At the very least, they will avoid telling you things they think you might not want to hear.

On top of that, you won’t get the best performance out of everyone around you. Some people may even go above and beyond for you, but you would never know it unless you displayed certain emotions.

Be honest with your peers

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you will run into times when someone doesn’t agree with your decision or strategy. This can be tough, but don’t get too discouraged!

Instead of withdrawing in order to save your own face, try being more open about why you made the decisions that you did.

By being more transparent, it gives other people an opportunity to respond and defend their points of view which may help you come up with another solution.

Your colleagues will probably praise your honesty, even if they didn’t agree with what you did.

It also shows them that you are willing to talk through issues openly instead of having to go behind their back to say something false.

Be honest with your superiors

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you will gain respect if you are able to be honest about who you are. You cannot fake emotional intelligence or empathy. If you struggle to relate to people, it can sometimes make working directly with others feel like an uphill battle.

As a manager, you need to develop relationships with your subordinates so that they trust you and come to look up to you. This takes time and is very difficult when you do not have much interpersonal skills yourself.

If you want to climb the ladder at your company, then you must learn how to manage people.

Be consistent

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As mentioned before, one of the biggest reasons why people lose motivation in their lives is due to lack of motivation they have for past projects or actions.

If you want to see changes in your leadership, you must consistently show these changes. You will not see progress until you make it a habit to use those skills and behaviors.

It will take some time to see the results though, so be patient. Don’t expect to see changes immediately! That would be very frustrating.

Consistency is key because it creates consistency in behavior which then can create more stable emotions. More stable emotions mean less anxiety or fear of doing something, or feeling motivated about an activity.

Also, being consistent helps promote accountability. If someone else sees that you perform your job with proficiency every day, they are likely to do the same.

That person may even feel obligated to keep up certain standards if you both work together, but don’t feel obliged to help out when he/she doesn’t try hard enough.

Be optimistic

As mentioned earlier, your emotional intelligence will determine how well you lead others. Being able to identify and manage your emotions is an important part of leading.

One of the most crucial qualities that leadership requires is optimism. You must believe in yourself and your ideas and products and be confident that they will work.

You need to believe that people can do their jobs better than they are now and done right, not just for them but also for you. This creates an environment where people feel comfortable trying new things because they have faith in the process and the people involved.

Leaders must always look at the positive side of things and focus on what could possibly happen next rather than what has happened before and why it did not turn out well.

Optimism is also very attractive to other people. If someone else is doing something, you should strive to copy or mimic this behavior instead of criticizing it.

Optimism is clearly valuable, so why don’t more leaders seem to have it? Perhaps they don’t think they deserve it or fear being seen as too hopeful.

Whatever reasons there may be, lack of optimism is one of the biggest weaknesses we can develop and improve upon as human beings.

SQ Recommends

Copyright © 2024
Success Quarterly Ltd. company