By Sarah Griffiths of SallyG.com
It’s widely known that emotional intelligence is a crucial component to business leadership. Without definition, emotional intelligence is too often read as an ‘of-the-moment’, new age business philosophy that is more hot air than applicable strategy. But looking beyond traditional technical traits reveals the importance of emotional intelligence. Applying traditional relationship therapy and team building tactics to the workplace dynamic mean you can foster this practice for leadership purposes.
Defined not just as an awareness and understanding of your own emotions but the ones of those around you, the 1990’s emergent concept of emotional intelligence has spawned many books. Management and leadership roles demand strong interpersonal skills beyond the requirements of the regular workforce. Developing a high EQ (as opposed to IQ) will inform your ability to motivate your employees as well as foster good relationships that pay dividends down the road in loyalty. Breaking down emotional intelligence into its 5 crucial factors will demonstrate how you can apply it your interpersonal strategies.
Knowing Yourself Leads to Compassionate Leadership
Often referred to as the foundation of emotional intelligence, self-awareness is also the core of strong leadership. The ability to define one’s own strengths and weaknesses signals humility to co-workers and suggests one is not just a strong leader, but also a strong member of the team. Most people identify as self-aware but in reality it is a much smaller portion of the population that can truly credit themselves as such. This means you need to demonstrate it yourself. Gain insight into your own behaviour, strengths and weaknesses by complete 360-degree feedback. Assessing yourself and as well as the feedback of your workers, peers and reports discovers how you are perceived in your organisation.
Self-Regulation for Minimised Risk
Maintaining positivity under stress as well as managing your emotions demonstrates your strong self-management skills. Stress and panic are contagious so it becomes the job of the person in charge to keep colleagues moving in a positive direction. However calm is also contagious. Giving into impulses and having a hard time handling stress suggest low self-control and weaker leadership skills. It’s true that reactions are automatic but learning to be more in touch with your emotional intelligence will smoothen the transition between react and respond. When you pause and collect yourself through breathing (or another mechanism you find works) will relax and put you in the best position to respond to a stressful or adverse situation.
Reading the Room is a Key Skill
Social awareness is just as important as managing your own feelings. Being able to read the room means you can recognise the emotions of other people and understand the dynamics of their relationships and positions. Good social awareness is typically seen in people who are empathetic to others in their life. Empathy can be explained as the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes and thus understand their feelings and how they might react to a situation. Leaders who empathise with their peers and colleagues communicate better with them. By communicating better with empathy, individual performances as well as team efforts are benefited in an environment based on respect and trust.
Relationship Management for Better Business Management
Deep connections cannot be maintained with distraction and conflict in the workplace represents a major distraction for you and your team. The presence you’ve gained from the above tips will allow you to form better relationships with others and gain the understanding of what motivates or upsets them. Any unaddressed conflicts in the workplace will massively diminish output – it’s estimated 370 million working days a year are lost because of this issue. While some prefer to avoid confronting conflict, if you want to keep morale high you have to have those tough conversations. Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels is usually ranked as a top factor in job satisfaction. This alone pinpoints your relationship management as a priority responsibility.
Paired with empathy, effective communication is a valuable tool that cannot only prevent this conflict but also can deal with the repercussions of it. Misunderstanding and lack of communication are most frequently the basis of problems between people. Confusion, frustration and bitterness lead the consequences of poor communication which left unchecked will fester into bigger issues. However your clear communication as management will check theses problems before the spread. When people clearly understand their role within an organisation, it fosters a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Not to mention they will feel valued. By aligning everyone’s purpose with clear communication you will be ingraining your emotional intelligence into the workplace’s culture rather than just standing and handing out policy.
Leading with emotional intelligence can seem like an incredibly alien task when first considered but really, it just takes moving over some of the compassion you already show in other aspects of your life. This is the key to building up a positive workplace culture built on the 5 core principals of emotional intelligence. You and your peers growing together will dissolve barriers in the workplace while keeping it a professional place to collaborate and excel. Good luck.