Incorporating Emotional Intelligence Into Leadership

Emotional intelligence or EI is the capacity to understand and control your own emotions, and those of the people you interact with every day. People with a high degree of this aspect of their makeup understand their feelings, what their emotions represent, and how those emotions can influence other people. EI is critical to all leaders to help ensure success. Leaders who are able to control their emotions are more likely to be great leaders. This aspect of leadership includes five key elements: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Leaders who are able to control each aspect of their emotions have a higher level of emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness
Being self-aware indicates that you know how you feel and how your emotions and actions affect others. This also means you have an awareness of your strengths and weaknesses and you behave with humility.

Self-regulation
Leaders who control themselves effectively seldom verbally attack others, make hurried or emotional decisions, typecast people, or compromise their morals. As a leader you should have a clear idea of where you will not compromise under any circumstance. You also know what values are most important to you. You reexamine your code of ethics to ensure they are unchanged. Knowing what is most important to you helps you realize that you won’t have to think twice when you face a moral or ethical decision.

If you have a tendency to blame others when something goes wrong then you are not accountable. You should admit your mistakes and to face the outcome, whatever they are.

Practice being calm – The next time you’re in a difficult situation, be aware of how you act. Do you have outbursts of anger? You have to learn to calm yourself.

Motivation
Energetic leaders work consistently toward their purpose, and they have exceptionally high standards for the quality of their work. Your personal motivation can be improved by following these simple guidelines.

Re-examine the things you really love about your career. If you’re unhappy in your role and you’re struggling to remember why you wanted it, then you should spend some time to find the root of the problem. Starting at the source often helps you look at your situation in a new way.
Make sure that your goal statements are creative and energizing.

Know where you stand. Determine how motivated you are to lead. Completing a leadership motivation assessment can help you see plainly how motivated you are in your leadership role. Motivated leaders are usually positive, regardless of the problems they face. Implementing this approach might take practice, but it will pay-off in the long run. Mind Tools has a good assessment tool that anyone can use.

Every time you face a challenge, or even a letdown, determine at least one good thing about the situation.

Empathy
Empathy is vital to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy have the talent to put themselves in someone else’s situation. They help mature the people on their team, challenge others who are treating others unfairly, give practical feedback. These leaders will listen to those who need it. In order to earn the respect and loyalty of your team you must learn to be empathetic. Becoming empathetic is not easy but with perseverance you can learn. These exercises will help.

Put yourself in someone else’s position. It’s easy to sustain your own point of view. However, to be a good leader you should take the time to look at situations from other people’s outlook.

Pay attention to body language. Body language tells others how you really feel about a situation, and the message you’re giving. Body language can be a real benefit in a leadership role, because you will be able to ascertain how someone really feels. This gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately. However, you should keep in mind that body language is not the most important aspect of determining someone’s feelings. For instance, when someone crosses their arms, it usually means that they’re not open for arguments. By crossing the arms, an obstacle is put in front of the body, as some sort of protection. There are many people who simply like to cross their arms for reasons other than shutting people out. So be careful how you read body language.

If you have a team member that is often asked to work late and begrudgingly accepts, then you should try to determine what the problem is. Do they have previous plans that have to be changed to accommodate your request? Perhaps the solution would be as simple as allowing the employee to come to work later in exchange for working late.

Social Skills
Leaders who do well in the social skills segment of emotional intelligence are great at imparting ideas to others. These leaders are also good at managing change and settling conflicts discreetly.
Leaders must know how to settle conflicts between their team members, customers, or vendors. Learning conflict resolution skills is vital if you want to succeed. Develop your communication skills. Proper communication is critical to good leadership. You should learn how to improve these skills. As a leader, you can improve the loyalty of your team easily by giving praise when it’s earned.