Updated: Feb 18
You’re a leader. You must be able to effectively get work done through others…period. Whether you’re leading a team or project, you must be able to influence, inspire, and motivate people into action.
To deal with the complexities of relationships, individuals must be able to manage themselves emotionally, as well as understand the emotions of others. This often requires shifting the way we think, act, and respond.
Emotional Intelligence (EI), also referred to as Emotional Quotient (EQ) provides a framework to use your emotions more intelligently. It provides the critical intrapersonal and interpersonal skills needed to help you make the shifts necessary to better perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle your emotions and the emotions of others. When practiced consistently, it positions you to gain influence and increase your impact, two important qualities to being a leader people WANT to follow.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is one of the top skills emerging in prominence leading up to the year 2025. EQ is trending to be the skill you’ll need to be a better boss and build a better team. Improving Emotional Intelligence helps build both intrapersonal and interpersonal skills that supports the success of your own career, as well as the success of your team. People with a strong EQ typically have the following characteristics.
They have good attitudes
They are not negative
They don’t dwell on the past
They rarely complain
They are positive, future-facing people
Recent U.S. research was conducted on the impact of emotional intelligence in the public sector and found the emerging theme is for leaders to have high emotional intelligence, possess self-awareness, and awareness of others, which provides for understanding among subordinates and citizens being served. High Emotional Intelligence is a win-win-win for the organization, employees, and customers.
HERE ARE FOUR (4) WAYS TO BEGIN DEVELOPING YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE:
PRACTICE BEING MORE SELF-AWARE
Becoming more self-aware is the foundation to cultivating EQ skills. Here you’ll uncover blind spots that may be interfering with your success and an understanding of emotional triggers. You’ll also learn to recognize your personal strengths, challenges, and limitations so that you can operate with realistic self-assurance. If you find leading people to be stressful and frustrating, increasing self-awareness is where you’ll begin to better understand how these emotions relate to your work performance and the impact to those you lead. For example, if you find yourself stressed by the thought of interacting with a team member, being more self-aware about that emotion and what causes it, will help you make the shift to enter the conversation with less hostility and more ease so that you can communicate for mutual benefit. Here are two questions to quickly check-in on your self-awareness skills. Are you a yes, no, or sometimes?
Do I understand and know how to manage my emotions?
Do I have a coachable and teachable mindset that allows me to be introspective?
PRACTICE BEING MORE EMPATHETIC
When leading people you will encounter a plethora of problems every day. Depending on the size of your team, the impact can range from mild to severe. Practicing empathy helps build the skills to be more sensitive to moods and emotions to support your team more meaningfully. For example, you’ll be more likely to communicate more positively by actively listening and offering constructive feedback, information, and dialogue. Here are two questions to quickly check-in on being more empathetic. Are you a yes, no, or sometimes?
Do I recognize the feelings and emotions in others?
Do I really care about how others feel?
PRACTICE HAVING MORE SELF-CONTROL
Most of us are consciously or unconsciously emotionally triggered in some way, by something or someone. The ability to control, manage or redirect these disruptive impulses and moods, and the inclination to suspend judgment and think before acting, is what you’ll gain by practicing self-control. For example, make decisions by thinking, feeling, and performing with the best information available to avoid regret, anxiety, and inconsistency. Whether your decision is a yes, no, or maybe, your team needs to know that they can rely on your decision- making tactics, especially during times of disruption and change. Here are two questions to quickly check-in on your self-management. Are you a yes, no, or sometimes?
Do I stay focused and motivated even when things are tough?
Am I more reactive than responsive?
PRACTICE BUILDING RAPPORT
You’re only a leader if people are following you. Building rapport helps foster collaboration and connection to tap the power of synergy within your team. You’ll get proficient in managing relationships, building networks, and finding common ground. For example, people who have always been fast, productive, smart, and creative, but struggle in a new management role, it’s usually because they have not developed the people skills they need to effectively connect and inspire others into action. Here are two questions to quickly check-in on your skills to build rapport. Are you a yes, no, or sometimes?
Am I able to motivate and articulate a shared mission that inspires people into action?
Am I able to handle relationships and let others shine?
I DID NOT WAKE UP LIKE THIS
For the most part, people don’t wake up striving to be a bad boss. It’s not until they experience high turnover, low retention, a negative workplace culture, are demoted or even fired, do they come to understand that they need to take a different approach. Being a better boss will help you build a better team. Improving your Emotional Intelligence is a tool to get you there. But it all starts with you.
If you want a leadership journey that’s fulfilling and less stressful, it’s time to do the work. If your answers to the check-in questions caused you to pause, it’s time to do…the…work. Just like you sharpen the skills of your expertise, skills like emotional intelligence need sharpening too. Leadership is about setting the example. Demonstrating that you’re willing to do the work to be ready to navigate the challenges of the day is a great demonstration of leadership and sets the course to being a leader people WANT to follow.
SO, HOW’S YOUR EQ TODAY?
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This article was originally written by the author and published by Careers in Government. Click HERE to visit.