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Ilona Codes for Foundsiders

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How to Boost Emotional Intelligence to Become a Better Leader

“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.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Top comments (6)

aleksandrhovhannisyan profile image
Aleksandr Hovhannisyan

Become a quick decision-maker

I don't see how this is relevant to emotional intelligence, or how it's good advice in general. You didn't really explain what you meant by this.

I would say it's actually worth slowing down your decision-making. Too many people make hasty decisions without considering all relevant aspects. Quick decision-making doesn't make you more intelligent, emotionally or otherwise.

aurumtechie profile image
Neeyat Lotlikar

I agree. Decisions must be well thought out.

aurumtechie profile image
Neeyat Lotlikar

Great article! I do not agree with the quick decision part however. There was no explanation as to why quick decisions make you more emotionally intelligent. I believe that all decisions must be well thought out and need not be quick. An explanation over there would be appreciated.

ssimontis profile image
Scott Simontis

I would add humility as a key value. Never forgot who you are or where you came from. Be the first to admit you are wrong, and "let me get back to you on that" is always a better answer than bullshitting people.

When we are called to lead, we are not infallible human beings. We still have our fears, insecurities, doubts, and knowledge gaps. Defer and delegate to those who know better than you on certain subjects. Find a mentor who can help you with your weaknesses. Lead by example, not by fear, ritual or hierarchy.

You hit on a brilliant key point, motivation. Understand what motivates those around you and help them find opportunities to harness that motivation. It isn't an easy or instant thing. My managers ask me for three things I would like to expand upon so that they have ample opportunity to place me on projects where I can grow, even if it isn't my #1 thing. I think that was a genius move on their part, for me and them.

I struggle with egotism, so management can be quite hard for me. When called to lead, I have to remember to lead as a servant and not a dictator, or else I will not be a leader for long.

evieskinner18 profile image

Beautiful article thanks Ilona! xoxo

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