Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to recognize, understand, and manage emotions in yourself and in others. All businesses require people to succeed, and emotions make up a large part of people. Daniel Goleman, psychologist and science journalist of Emotional Intelligence claims it accounts for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders and emotional intelligence mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ1. Improving emotional intelligence can make a leader more adept at dealing with people and that can lead to a more successful business.
To be self-aware a leader must recognize and understand their strengths and weaknesses, emotions and moods. In business, a leader must take this step further to being aware of how these things might affect other people. No one lives or works in a vacuum and our actions, whether we intend to or not, can alter those around us. Think before doing or saying anything as this allows you to express your feelings maturely instead of being controlled by emotions or impulses. Criticism is difficult to hear no matter what, but a self-aware person will learn and adapt to it, not get offended.
Discipline in this sense is applied to regulating behavior, the leaders’ to be specific. A good leader is disciplined in their behavior creating good habits to ensure success. This provides a good example for team members. Knowing a leader is going to be available for questions at a specific time every day allows the team to focus on their goals. Follow through on your word, being careful to not overstate your bounds. Alternatively, know when you need to admit a mistake, as this can be hugely beneficial to a team. Seeing a leader admit they don’t know something can make others feel more comfortable doing the same.
Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, or the ability to place oneself in another’s position. As a leader, this is vital to getting team members to trust you, and for clients to feel assured you understand their needs. Remember to actively listen when anyone comes to you, don’t check your watch, try to multitask or interrupt. All of this signals that the leader doesn’t have the time or desire to listen, and can lead to preventable problems from being addressed.
Calm under pressure
There is no end to the pressures in the business industry. Every day can bring new unforeseen challenges even the best leader hasn’t weathered before. Plan ahead as best you can while staying flexible. Sounds counter-intuitive but the reality is, as a leader you will be interrupted to focus on something more important. Focus on one thing at a time, breaking it down into small steps can help make tasks less daunting and help get things completed in smaller increments of time. Maintain a positive attitude, and look at challenges as exciting opportunities for growth.