How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?
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More and more organisations accept that emotional intelligence (E.I.) is important to success, and are using it when they hire and promote. But what is E.I.?
E.I. is the ability to recognise and understand your own and others’ emotions, and how you affect the people around you.
So, How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?
Emotional intelligence is often one of the greatest predictors of leadership success, especially at the executive level. It can be a differentiator for leaders on the rise. Research confirms that emotional intelligence and leadership accomplishment at the highest levels are highly correlated. Not everyone is born with it or have been in environments that nurture this quality, however, you can improve your emotional intelligence with practice. If you’re going to practice something new, the visualisation of that behaviour certainly helps.
So, how do you visualise what an emotionally intelligent leader looks like? In my 25 years’ experience of wellness leadership training and consulting, leaders with high emotional intelligence often demonstrate four key attributes that you can observe in daily interactions. Here they are:
1. They know themselves well. Self-awareness is fundamental to building high emotional intelligence. When you truly know what makes you tick, what your tendencies are and what motivates you, you can quickly make sense of your emotions. Most importantly, it’s the honest understanding and acceptance of the whole of you, being “the good, the bad and the ugly”, that allows you to build strategies to make real progress in mastering the behaviours required to be successful. There’s no excuses or defences required. Emotionally intelligent leaders look at themselves in the mirror of reflection and feedback and say, “Yes, that’s me.”
2. They are transparent and authentic. Emotionally intelligent leaders are authentic leaders who aren’t afraid to let their vulnerabilities be known. They acknowledge their flaws and own their mistakes readily. Likewise, they’re able to confront reality and talk straight with others in a manner that lends clarity without game playing or emotional blows. You always know where you stand with an emotionally intelligent leader, and you respect them all the more for it. By allowing their true self to be seen and heard, they give others permission to do the same, which accelerates the building of trust, which is fundamental for healthy relationships.
3. They connect and are present. The abilities to be perceptive about people and situations, meet others where they are and recognise their needs and emotional responses are trademarks of emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent leaders listen first, allowing others to be heard. They are open-minded, give thoughtful consideration to other ideas and perspectives and are nonjudgmental in their responses. Emotionally intelligent leaders are not only fully present and able to read others well, but they can also adjust their thinking or approach in response to others to result in a more productive outcome.
4. They are consistent and calm. Emotionally intelligent leaders rarely get their buttons pushed. It’s here, in the mastery of self-management, that a leaders’ awareness of their emotions is critical, as self-awareness is what allows you to actively make a choice about how to respond. Emotionally intelligent leaders don’t allow their emotions to get hijacked because they recognise that this serves nobody. They are aware that in doing so, it would disrupt and frustrate those around them, sometimes to the point of resentment. In contrast, they model consistency and maintain control of even the most difficult situations, which gives their teams the stability and confidence that can fuel optimum performance.
Take a moment to reflect on these four attributes. Picture in your mind a leader who demonstrates one or more of these attributes day in and day out. They probably make it look effortless, but believe me, it’s most likely that they didn’t become proficient in the mastery of their behaviour overnight. It’s usually only through diligent practice, self-reflection and feedback that leaders can improve their emotional intelligence. Yes, at first it may feel like extra workload. However in time, it can become your natural state of leading in both life and at work. It begins with the first step. Pick one attribute at a time, and get to work on your own emotional intelligence enhancement plan. Before you know it, you will be the emotionally intelligent leader that others visualise in their minds.
Take this FREE quiz now to get a benchmark of how emotionally intelligent you are!
You can develop your emotional intelligence just as you can develop any other skills, through learning and practice.
Wellness Leaders are professionally qualified and accredited to have a firm footing in all of the above, that’s what makes them great leaders of wellbeing in organisations, able to inspire and enable others for optimum performance and to cultivate a healthy workplace culture.