It used to be that technical proficiency was the main quality that was desired when it came to leadership. And while technical proficiency is important, it is now considered an entry level skill that is necessary to get your foot in the door. Besides, many jobs are now so complex that we need to rely on a team of competent people. But if leaders lack the ability to communicate, collaborate with others, or set up a culture that supports staff appreciation and development, their technical skills alone will not get them far.
That is why emotional intelligence is critical for leadership. Leaders set the tone for their organization. If they are lacking in emotional intelligence, it will negatively affect employee engagement, satisfaction, turnover, and ultimately the bottom financial line of their organization.
The good news is that emotional intelligence is not static. It can be developed and leaders can develop theirs, increasing their leadership potential.
Here are 7 things to look for in an emotionally intelligent leader:
Emotionally intelligent leaders are sincere, honest, and real.
Emotionally Intelligent leaders are the biggest boosters of their organization. They show continuous belief in their work, in the work of their coworkers, and in the success of their organization.
Sincere support from leaders can help an organization through difficult times. And if this sincere support is missing from a leader, it is difficult for others to keep their faith and belief in what they are doing.
Growth and development require that we continue to push the boundaries of what we feel comfortable doing. Emotionally strong leaders recognize this and continue to push themselves and encourage those around them to go beyond what they already know and are familiar with.
Emotionally intelligent leaders recognize that change is constant and that their success, the success of their people, and the success of the organization requires constant advancements and adjustments.
During times of difficulty and crisis, employees look to leaders for guidance. They want to know how serious a situation may be and how they should respond. Being aware of this, it is crucial that leaders are able to show an outward calm and maintain composure, managing their own emotions.
Even if they don’t have immediate solutions, emotionally intelligent leaders are able to maintain calm in the face of difficulties. This can help their team focus their energy on coming up with solutions, rather than needlessly squandering time and effort on fear and worry.
An emotionally intelligent leader is always clear about their intentions and where they are coming from. This means employees don’t have to worry about deciphering messages from leadership and keeps them best informed about the organization’s goals and motives.
Authentic emotionally intelligent leaders share as much as they are able to with their people at all times and expect the same from others in their circle. They don’t feel the need to hide things from others, cover up their mistakes, or play favorites in their workplace. They treat everyone the same, regardless of their position or station in life.
Emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of their emotions and are not afraid to express them when appropriate. They are aware of how emotions affect everything that we do and are skilled at reading the emotions of others individually and of those in groups.
Rarely does anything go exactly as planned. Failures and setbacks are inevitable parts of the road to anything worth doing that eventually turns into success. Emotionally intelligent leaders expect there to be roadblocks and emotionally prepare for them. They look for the lesson learned and don’t take setbacks personally.
To emotionally intelligent leaders, disappointments are part of their learning and development journey. They understand that these moments will ultimately help them to reach their goals.
According to the S.M.A.R.T. Approach to Emotional Intelligence by Dr. Hank Clemons, “Emotionally Intelligent leaders are resilient. Resilient people develop a mental capacity that allows them to adapt with ease during adversity.”
Everyone has times when they are down, feel like complaining, and struggle to stay positive. Emotionally intelligent leaders are not immune to those feelings. However, they never allow them to set up permanent residence in their minds.
While emotionally intelligent leaders are open to and supportive of others’ feelings, they distance themselves from people who are chronic complainers or are constantly negative. The people they do surround themselves with have a positive outlook and view the bright side of life.
Emotionally intelligent leaders believe that life is to be experienced and enjoyed to the fullest and they attract (and are attracted to) people who live by the same belief.
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