The core competencies that got you your first promotion may not get you another one. If you want to be a leader, there is an emotional aspect you must recognize.
That is none other than emotional intelligence, a skill you need to develop if you want to start building your leadership skills and progressing in your role.
But what is emotional intelligence and how can you use it to become a better leader? This article has all the answers you need, so keep scrolling to learn more!
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (see also ‘How To Communicate Better With Emotional Intelligence‘) is understood as the competency to acknowledge and affect the emotional responses of others, in addition to understanding and handling your own.
It is that skill that allows you to effectively mentor groups, cope with difficult situations, provide constructive criticism, and work collaboratively with other people.
What might be surprising to many people is that this skill actually makes up nearly 90% of what distinguishes top achievers from colleagues with comparable practical abilities and expertise.
It is true that the greatest leaders are all one and the same in one key manner: they all possess a high level of emotional intelligence.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean intelligence and specialized skill sets are unimportant. They are important, but only as entry-level qualifications for executive roles.
The 4 Elements Of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is commonly split into 4 fundamental qualifications:
Everything revolves around being self-aware.
Self-awareness defines your capability to identify your emotional states and their impact on both you and your team’s efficiency, in addition to understanding your own vulnerabilities and strengths.
A problem with self-awareness is that most people think they have it when they really do not.
In the workplace, this results in lower team performance and an increase in stressful situations, in combination with lower motivation.
You must first instill confidence in yourself in order to attract the best in other people in your team, and that is exactly where self-awareness is necessary.
One simple way to gauge your self-awareness is to complete a formative assessment, which involves evaluating your output and then comparing it to the personal views of your immediate superior, colleagues, and multiple other stakeholders.
The capacity to control your emotional responses, especially in challenging scenarios, and keep a positive attitude even through failures is referred to as self-management.
Leaders who struggle with self-management typically react badly and have difficulty controlling their emotions.
A response is frequently instinctive. Nevertheless, the more atuned you become with your emotional intelligence, the simpler it is to shift from reacting to responding.
It’s critical to take a breath, stay calm and do anything you need to control your emotional state.
Going for a walk or talking to a friend is a great way to deal with that immediate stress or disappointment so that you can then get back to work being a leader who supports and encourages your team.
Even though it is essential to comprehend and control your feelings, you must also be able to read a room.
Social awareness refers to your skill to identify the emotional states of everyone else as well as the interactions at work within your company.
Compassion is cultivated by leaders who succeed in social awareness.
They work hard to recognize their coworkers’ emotions and standpoints, which allows them to interact and work collaboratively with them efficiently and successfully.
By interacting with compassion and understanding, you can help your staff while improving your own output.
Relationship management describes your capacity to control, mentor, and supervise others, as well as successfully settle conflicts.
Some people choose to evade conflicts, but it is essential to deal with problems when they occur, as they can waste lots of time taking away from productive work while depleting manpower and team spirit.
To keep everyone in your staff actively engaged, everyone needs to be honest and straightforward, and leaders have to deal with any issues right away.
Building Leadership Skills Using Emotional Intelligence
As you can understand, working to improve your emotional intelligence is undoubtedly the best decision you can make both for yourself and your company.
Despite the importance of other skill sets, emotional intelligence will help you effectively mentor your workforce, overcome challenges, offer constructive criticism, and work cooperatively with your colleagues and staff.
With the main components of emotional intelligence in mind and their definitions above, how can you use EQ to build your leadership skills?
Here are some ways to do it:
Start With Yourself
Since emotional intelligence has to do with compassion and interpreting signals from other people and contextualizing them by relying on your own feelings and perception, you need to know yourself. You must become more self-aware to acknowledge your emotions and how to deal with them before you deal with those of your employees.
Do the following easy exercise to begin acknowledging your emotional states.
Think about the following nine states: anger, despair, energy, tiredness, contentment, joy, unsatisfaction, nervousness, and enthusiasm.
Of these, pick five and make a note of them. After that, for each of the choices you’ve picked, try to write down what makes you feel that way.
Receiving commendation from a coworker, line manager, or partner, for instance, may bring you joy or confidence.
This way, you can better understand yourself and realize which situations result in which emotions.
Manage Your Reactions
The utter goal of emotional intelligence is divided into two components. You must first realize your own thoughts and feelings, and then go on by deciding on how to act on them.
Self-management, when done correctly, allows you to control your thoughts and feelings in any situation, helps to improve how you communicate with your colleagues and results in improved outcomes.
A great way to get better at this is by analyzing every instinctual or immediate response you have when something good or bad happens.
When you find yourself smiling, think of what made you smile and try to maximize that effect in your daily personal and professional life.
On the other hand, if you feel anger and happen to take it out on a member of your group at work, try to figure out why that happened.
Was it their fault, did they bring out some negative energy, or were they simply a ‘punching bag’ you accidentally took it out on?
Once you understand what triggered you, you can learn how to better manage your anger and calm yourself the in an appropriate manner.
Empathize With Others
Once you understand how your emotions affect you and how you can deal with them, you can apply that knowledge to your leadership and become a better leader.
So, for example, if you see two members of your group having a dispute or one of them being angry at another, you can understand the trigger points and resolve their issues.
The same can happen when you see someone sad or lacking energy at work.
The Bottom Line
Dealing with problems at work is not always going to be 100% successful but minimizing the negatives and optimizing the positives in your collaborations at work will always work once you improve your emotional intelligence.
However, you need to understand that using your emotional intelligence to build your leadership skills is a never-ending process that you need to keep working on to get better and better every day. Growing as a leader by continuing to improve your EQ will be an exciting journey that will yield countless benefits as you move forward. Mindfully embrace the journey and begin your first steps now!