3 simple steps: Keep calm and lead your team with positive influence
[2 min read]
Insights and tips to understand and improve your emotional intelligence.
While nobody questions that natural IQ and technical skills are crucially important for the success of individuals and organisations, Emotional Intelligence (EI) may be the single most important leadership trait determining work and managerial performance. As Daniel Goleman, possibly the most well-known EI theorist, puts it: “Effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence”.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise and manage emotions. How we react to the world around us, and how we interpret situations dictates our emotional state. It is very important to bring what we think and feel into harmony to experience a positive psychological and physiological state. Successful managers have the ability to connect with others at a personal and emotional level to secure positive outcomes even from challenging situations.
Understand Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence dictates our performance both in our professional and our personal life, but it starts with us. From our confidence, empathy and optimism to our social skills and self-control, understanding and managing our own emotions can accelerate success in all areas of our life. Daniel Goleman identified five key components of emotional intelligence as applied to highly emotionally intelligent leaders:
- SELF-AWARENESS: The ability to understand own emotions and the effect of their moods on others. - Individuals with self-awareness show self-confidence, have a realistic sense of their abilities and, interestingly, can laugh at themselves.
- SELF-REGULATION: The ability of individuals to control their emotions/impulses and redirect negative emotions to achieve positive outcomes by using emotional information to guide their own thinking and behaviours. - Individuals who can self-regulate are trustworthy and reliable, are comfortable with grey areas and ambiguity and are open to change. Such individuals are able to take a step back, suspend judgement and reflect before acting.
- SELF-MOTIVATION: The drive possessed by individuals to pursue work goals for reasons that go beyond money, status or power. - Motivated individuals are personally invested in their work, are goal-oriented, optimistic, and committed to their organisation.
- COMPASSION: The ability of individuals to understand the emotions of other people and respond effectively to others’ emotional reactions. - Managers with empathy develop and retain talented team members, use cultural understanding of emotional displays and are able to focus on customer needs.
- SOCIAL SKILLS: The ability of individuals to manage relationships and networks by seeking out common ground and building rapport. - Leaders with social skills are effective in gaining buy-in for change initiatives and can effectively build teams.
“Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered.
They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.”
Apply Emotional Intelligence
Following is a 3-step overview of the application of emotional intelligence when interacting with peer managers, team members, clients or other stakeholders.
The process** in a social interaction unfolds as:
Step 1 – IDENTIFYING
Individuals reflect on their own emotions and identify how they truly feel about a given situation or the person they are interacting with.
Step 2 – MANAGING
Individuals manage their own emotions so that they are able to control their behaviour in ways that add positively to relationship building or at least do not interfere or undermine it.
Step 3 – UNDERSTANDING
Individuals interpret their own feelings and those of others and blend them into a coherent and richer whole. The result is a more elaborate and realistic mental model or understanding of a social situation than would be possible without taking into account emotional information from various sources.
The overall result is a more positive interpersonal relationship, which can lead to more success with individual, team and organisational outcomes.
The best time to handle an emotion is when we first begin to feel it; it is a lot more difficult to interrupt an emotional pattern once it’s full-blown. Understanding our thoughts, emotions and behaviours empowers us in our dealings with others. Successful managers are aware of their thought processes, whereas unsuccessful people fall consistently victim to their own negative thoughts. So, learn to control and use your emotions to ask smarter questions, make better decisions and achieve better outcomes.
“Dare to make a difference!” #WeMakeItEasy #LeadershipSkills
** Source: Adapted from: J. Ingram and J. Cangemi, 2012, ‘Emotions, emotional intelligence and leadership: a brief, pragmatic perspective’, Education, vol. 132, no. 4, p. 775.
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