How to Boost Emotional Intelligence to Become a Better Leader

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February 22, 2020 by Ilona

“What does it take to be a better leader?"—a lot of things: all kind of great stuff like communication skills, vision, motivations, and emotional intelligence (EI). EI is the ability to identify and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. Though, it defines our professional growth and how people interpret us as a leader.

Emotional intelligence is all about people and relationships:

  • between colleagues, between managers and employees;
  • between the company and its customers, stakeholders, competitors, networking contacts.

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion. —Dale Carnegie

In seeing that people skills could make all the difference, Carnegie effectively popularized in his books the idea of emotional intelligence, decades before it was established as a fact in academic psychology.

More information about how to apply emotional intelligence in everyday life you can find in the bestseller: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Here, you can read a quick review of the book.

Are you aware of how your emotions affect your success in life?

For sure, if you have good emotional intelligence and lower levels of general intelligence, you can still be a great leader. However, if you have lower levels of emotional intelligence and good general intelligence, you will struggle to be a good leader.

How can we help ourselves with developing EI?

❣️Show empathy

It means understanding the needs of others, be willing to appreciate it. This, in itself, makes it essential in the workplace.

For example, for leaders to get through the tough times easier, they will have to understand what their co-workers are going through. Without empathy, it’s impossible to nurture a team.

👂 Listen twice as much as you talk

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. —Epictetus

When we listen, we show people that they are valued. Enjoy the presence of other people and learn to develop a listening attitude.

✅ Become a quick decision-maker

Our emotional awareness will decide how we make decisions in our life–be it professional or personal.

The most critical component of decision making is self-confidence.

We decide: how we envision the world around us, how confident we are, and how we make a decision for better or worse.

🧘‍♀️ Develop self-awareness

How do emotions affect our behavior and leadership role?

Self-awareness goes hand in hand with emotional intelligence giving us a better view of how we discover things. People respect the leader who stays calm when the issues may arise.

Identify your own bad habits to develop a foundation for self-improvement. It is on us how to choose to behave with ourselves and others.

The ability to accept feedback is an excellent example of developing emotional intelligence. To truly accept feedback, you have to:

  1. Make it clear to people that you are open to feedback, and that you want feedback.
  2. Give up on being right during the feedback session. It is not about being right. It is about getting feedback.
  3. Even if the feedback is yelling or completely wrong, listen attentively. It is about hearing and making sure the other person knows they are heard.
  4. Take notes. This way, you can ask questions about the feedback for clarification. Get as much as you can.
  5. Say, thank you. Show that you really appreciate it. Work on meaning it.

With experience, emotional detachment can come eventually. The feedback that listened to carefully can provide gems for the person: their growth and self-improvement.

💬 Conclusion

Emotional Intelligence is about recognizing our own emotions first.

It is exercising self-control within ourselves. So that we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes and bring our empathy into play not only at work but in life too. Therefore reading between the lines and understanding the needs of others.

The good news is that just like your regular intelligence, you can also train your emotional intelligence.

You can learn to become more empathetic, to be more aware of your own emotions and to deal with them better, resulting in a more fulfilled life and career.

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