5 Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence To Become A Better Leader

“Emotional Intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”
- Peter Salovey & John Mayer

Emotional intelligence became widely known when science journalist Daniel Goleman published his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ in 1995. However, this concept had been around since the 1950s under different names.

With its popularity came its importance in the workplace. The world’s premier emotional intelligence assessment provider TalentSmart stated that 90% of top performers in the workplace have high emotional intelligence and it also contributes to 58% of our job performance.

Emotional intelligence has also become vital in leadership. A lot of employees leave their jobs because of toxic relationships with their managers. According to The Center for Creative Leadership, poor leadership, especially during challenging periods, thwarts around 75% of careers.

So, if you want to change things up to be a better leader, here are five effective ways to improve your emotional intelligence:

1. Become more aware of your emotions

Being a leader is not easy. There are times when you will lose your cool because something doesn’t go your way or someone offends you, causing you to jump to thoughtless conclusions and make careless decisions.

To prevent this, stay objective. Don’t let negative emotions get the better of you. Take a deep breath. Set a time when you can do a self-evaluation where you can ask yourself what your emotional strengths and weaknesses are. Then, learn how to work on them one by one.

If you just let negativity control you, it will affect your employees and create an unhealthy working environment. If you are aware of your emotions, you can find ways to change your mood.

2. Empathize with your employees

Gone are the days when the human race is deemed as self-interested. Over the past decade, experts have emphasized that we are made to empathize. Empathy means understanding others by imagining ourselves in their situation. It helps create a work environment that runs with open communication and trust.

We may be born with empathy, but we still have to work on it. Think of how you interact with your colleagues. Do you really listen when they talk? Do you show that you understand them? But don’t just focus on words. Attune yourself to non-verbal cues as well.

Empathy doesn’t tell you to let people off the hook when they make a mistake. However, instead of demeaning them and making them feel bad for their errors, you can use empathy to learn the cause for these mishaps and help them avoid these next time.

3. Keep yourself motivated

As a leader, you spearhead almost everything within your company. However, there will be moments when you will lose the motivation to do anything and you should prevent this from happening. Remember that when you lose motivation, you’ll be taking your employees and your whole organization with you.

Find ways to rekindle your motivation. You can remind yourself why you started your business or list the things you love about your line of work.

Clichéd as it sounds, but you have to think positively. Leaders set the tone of their working environment and their employees’ attitudes. If people see their boss as highly driven and productive, they will push themselves to work harder.

4. Manage your distressing emotions

Work isn’t always smooth sailing. There are times when something unexpected happens, which will cause you stress. During these situations, staff members turn to their leaders to see how they handle the issues.

Make it a goal to stay calm in these moments. Go through every stage of the event and process everything to understand why it led to the wrong result so that you can come up with the proper solutions. Look at stressful situations in a positive light. Instead of hating them, think of them as practice fields for your problem-solving skills.

But keep in mind that too much stress can damage you, your people, and your business. Make the necessary adjustments in your lifestyle to avoid your stressors or to lessen their effect on you.

5. Connect with your team

Strong social skills are essential in the workplace whether you’re the leader or not. Having great relationships with your coworkers also leads to positive outcomes. If you cultivate positive connections with your staff members, it will be easy to communicate with one another.

Employees usually hesitate to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions with their superiors for fear of offending them. So make them comfortable and they will know that you care about what they have to say.

When you are well-connected with your team, there will be teamwork. You can easily support one another and avoid problems caused by a lack of cooperation and communication.

In this fast-changing world where organizational structures are becoming more fluid, everyone needs good leadership. It doesn’t matter if you are managing a team or not. You have to step up to help your company and succeed in your career.

Leadership appears when you initiate or show interest. Good leaders are known to be problem solvers. They are also efficient motivators and listeners. In addition, they inspire other people around them with their words and actions.

You may not be a born leader, but you can become one.

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
- John Maxwell

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