Emotional intelligence is an often overlooked leadership trait. It is the ability to identify and assess your own emotions and the emotions and feelings of those around you.
Leading on an emotional level means that you understand how your words and actions affect others. Emotionally intelligent leaders understand how to overcome stress and help others to overcome stress. They are also identify and respond to the emotions of others. Without emotional intelligence, leaders are not able to gauge the needs of their employees, which can lead to a lack of trust, miscommunication and poor working relationships.
Leadership team building strategies that spark greater levels of emotional intelligence
The following five strategies improve personal emotional intelligence.
1. Focus on yourself, first.
Take care of your own needs before addressing the needs of others. This means taking stock of yourself. Are you happy, angry, irritated or sad? Before you say or do anything assess yourself and regulate your thoughts and actions.
By performing a self scan, you are able to recognize where your power and energy is focused. You are also able to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. Coming from an irritated and weak state of mind results in actions that do affect the people around you. So the question is, would you rather come from a position of strength and assertiveness or weakness and aggressiveness?
Taking stock helps you become more confident in your strengths and to mitigate your weaknesses. This way you respond to others in a more assertive, empathetic and compassionate way. By building your taking stock muscle, your are more able to self regulate and remain calm in stressful situations. This keeps your team calm and capable of contemplating solutions rather than responding with fear or panic.
2. Be empathetic and compassionate.
No matter if team members are in the office or working remotely, empathy and compassion are key elements of success. Leaders are empathetic when they ask open ended questions that help them understand what their team members are going through. Questioning rather than judging helps them to imagine what it must be like to be in their team member’s situation.
While this may be more difficult with remote employees, it is still important. One reason is that remote team members only have interactions with their leaders. Therefore, leaders need to be deliberate with their interactions and take time to understand team members on a personal level. This includes scheduling time for small talk during conference calls and exchanging pleasantries through email. Leaders should also consider how their performance affects their team members’ performance and adjust their actions when necessary.
3. Give team members a higher purpose.
When employees are connected to a purpose that is higher than simply getting the job done, they become more emotionally connected to their work. In the book, TIGERS Among Us, we show how two leaders do that by connecting employee performance with creating happiness and bringing smiles to millions. When your team members recognize their job performance as a gift to something greater, they feel more satisfied. They feel that they make a difference.
Employees who feel more satisfied also display more satisfaction with their positions and your organization. This leads to higher productivity and decreased turnover. So grow to understand what your team members see as important in achieving that higher purpose. When possible and practical make decisions that support them.
4. Be positive.
Positive interactions are more effective in achieving goals than negative interactions. So catch one of your employees doing something right and tell stories about employees — back when — who made tons of mistakes. People learn from stories.
Research shows that negative interactions and punishment do not promote progress, creativity and happiness. Negativity shuts employees and emotions are contagious. Team members feed off of the emotions of others. They look toward their leaders to set the tone for the organization. So if leaders are stressed and have a negative outlook, the team feels that negativity and become negative themselves. This leads to lower productivity, decreased job satisfaction and higher turnover.
5. Use your resources.
No matter what your emotional intelligence level is, managers can learn to improve their leadership skills and build better teams. Online resources, such as Quiz Yourself: Do You Lead with Emotional Intelligence? from the Harvard Business Review, helps you measure your emotional intelligence. Learning more about what empathy is and isn’t and building self awareness is the first step.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that separates great leaders from ones who are not. It starts with self awareness. So focus on yourself first. Self-assess and self-regulate your thoughts and actions; be empathetic, assertive and compassionate with team members; share a larger purpose with your team; promote being positive; and use resources and training to improve.
We thought the following articles add to this discussion on emotional intelligence. Feel free to click through and delve deeper.
- 5 Aspects of Emotional Intelligence Required for Effective Leadership
- How to Create an Emotional Connection With Remote Employees
- When management meets emotional intelligence
- The Emotional Impulses That Poison Healthy Teams
- Quiz Yourself: Do You Lead with Emotional Intelligence?
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
About TIGERS Success Series, Inc.
TIGERS Success Series is a Bend, Oregon Leadership and Team Improvement Consultant that helps committed leaders build more cooperation among employees and collaboration between departments for improved growth and revenue.
We do this by deploying the TIGERS team process that improves workforce behaviors that are anchored by trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk resolution and success. Providing diagnostics and customized team interventions, you can improve both work culture and transform your adequate teams into exceptional ones. We also license and train HRD Executives, Project Managers, Managers, Trainers and Team Consultants in the use of our award winning resources. For more information, call 1+ 541-385-7465.