6 Signs of Emotional Intelligence for Leaders

6 Signs of Emotional Intelligence for Leaders

Most people value and nurture their current relationships; whether it be with friends, family members or partners. That often means working on aspects like your mental health and past trauma to have better, more satisfying interactions.

However, we rarely do the same for the people we spend most of our time with — the people we work with. It’s a shame, really, because working on our emotional intelligence can have a massive positive impact on our careers and work environments.

People with a high EQ (emotional intelligence) are able to uncover the root of why people say and do the things they do. They are able to set aside their differences to see the other person’s perspective. And from a leadership standpoint, learning the signs of emotional intelligence can help you in terms of team building, critical thinking, improving performance and even setting an example for others when incorporated into your own daily practice.

6 Green Flags of Emotional Intelligence

Everyone loves listing red flags in relationships — whether romantic or otherwise. But learning the green flags for emotional intelligence can help you improve your team, nurture your work relationships and challenge you to grow as a leader.

Here are six signs (or green flags) of emotional intelligence to look out for:

Embrace Change Easily

As humans, we default to avoiding change by nature. We love to set our lives on autopilot in the hopes that it will be less stressful to live this way. In fact, enough people struggle with making decisions that there’s a name for it — have you heard of decision paralysis? Simply put, going through life on autopilot makes things seem easier. But in reality, that makes us averse to change.

Emotionally intelligent people embrace change more easily, and in fact, seek it out because they have a desire to grow. Having a leader or an employee who is open to change can help set the example for others to embrace new technology, new processes and procedures, and new roles and dynamics in the workplace.

Open to Criticism/Feedback

If you’re open to criticism and feedback, you probably see it as an opportunity to grow. This is largely because you’re able to recognize criticism and feedback as something that’s outside of who you are — not a personal attack.

Being receptive to new perspectives can boost your growth and make you a more capable leader as you work to improve your flaws.

Able To Slow Down and Evaluate Before Reacting

A benefit to being emotionally intelligent is that you rarely make big decisions as a reaction to emotions.

Why is that positive? Because emotions are fleeting and frequently changing — but many times, decisions aren’t. Instead, you want to look at all sides of a situation before acting — and emotional intelligence allows you to slow down and find the information you need for the best possible outcome.

Can Communicate Clearly, Even in Difficult Situations

One of the hardest things to do as a leader is to deliver negative feedback or criticism to others. However, emotionally intelligent people know how to deliver such feedback without sugar-coating it.

Someone who’s emotionally intelligent is precise with their words, knowing how critical it is to deliver the message without softening the blow. This type of communication is direct and to the point, without confusing words or leaving room for misunderstanding. On the flip side, there’s no need to be mean either. It’s all about striking a balance between honesty and kindness.

Empathetic and Looks To Understand Others’ Perspectives

When you take the time to view things through other people’s eyes, you are creating a connection that can help build trust. Empathy isn’t necessarily agreeing with their perspective, but it does allow you to see the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind their words and actions. This can help you as a leader create psychological safety in the workplace.

Feel Comfortable Owning Up to Mistakes and Making Amends

One of the most evident signs of emotional intelligence is being comfortable owning up to your mistakes because you’re on a lifetime journey of progress and improvement.

Always striving to do and be better for the sake of their relationships, emotionally intelligent people value progress over perfection and own up to their mistakes more easily. In the end, it’s all about finding a solution rather than placing blames, and the sooner you’re able to see that, the sooner you’ll be able to move forward.

Steps To Cultivating an Emotionally Intelligent Workforce

A workspace is only as healthy as the people that inhabit it. As a leader, you can create a space for employees to tap into their full potential and feel comfortable and supported. Developing your emotional intelligence is essential for your well-being, but it sets the tone for how your employees engage with each other and ultimately, how they perform.

Sounds great in theory. But, where do you begin if you are coming from a place of not knowing how to be emotionally intelligent?

Label Emotions

As a leader, one of the first steps you can take towards becoming more emotionally intelligent is to build your self-awareness.

As emotions wash over you, take notice of them and label them as specifically as possible. By doing so, you are able to recognize the temporary nature of emotions, where you might feel them in your body and how you react to them.

Taking the time to identify your emotions also allows you to learn from them and manage them more effectively instead of acting out of impulse.

Embrace Conflict

No one likes conflict. However, learning how to live with it can sometimes help you see it’s not so scary.

When a conflict arises, try to see it not from the perspective of right or wrong, but through the eyes of the other person. For example, if they are treating the conflict as something that’s not a big deal, but you are irritated because of their attitude towards it, you are missing out on a learning opportunity.

Similarly, treating the conflict without placing blame can be a learning opportunity to see different solutions. Instead of focusing on having the final word, listen to your counterpart and seek to understand them.

Exercise Listening Skills

When you listen to someone speak, are you listening from a place of understanding or from a place of response?

One of the best ways to practice listening is by creating a team exercise that allows your team members to work through potentially difficult scenarios.

Allowing your team to talk without jumping in will be a great way for you to learn how to actively listen without judgment or jumping in to give answers. You’ve probably seen groups of people using some kind of device to signal who has the chance to speak, so give this a try if you think it can help steer the exchange.

While this practice may seem trivial, it can help your team put themselves in each other’s shoes and learn some new problem-solving skills. It’s a win-win!

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence as a Leader Takes Time, Practice and Patience

But just like any skill, practicing often and being open to learning from arising challenges is the way to strengthen your professional relationships and lead with confidence. By diving in for your own development, you are setting a positive example for others to follow.

An emotionally healthy work environment begins with your lead. Are you ready to dive in? Book a consultation below to explore your options.

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