The keys to becoming the best leader you can be

ShowUp Team | Published: August 18, 2020

The phenomenon of emotional intelligence is real and it’s captured the attention of the Business world; and with good reason. Whether you're familiar with the work of pioneer Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence; Emotional Intelligence supports Effective Leadership,1995) or are experiencing a saturation of content in your social media account, there is no denying it.

Emotional intelligence is the new IQ to strive for. The real difference between IQ and emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to have empathy and compassion for others. Once referred to as female tendencies (for more info please refer to Shakti Leadership authors Nilima Bhat & Raj Sisodia) companies are now realizing these are the qualities that resonate with long term performance and serve the work community with and sense of purpose and belonging. A win win for producing quality driven results and employee retention rates.

It’s not in the technical skills but in the emotional ones where leadership conquers.

So to call a spade a spade, here at ShowUp we dove into the underlying mold of emotional intelligence with focus on 2 main questions:

  1. How does it serve you personally?
  2. How do you enhance your EQ skills?

Every individual can benefit from enhancing their emotional intelligence. The key is to understand how to make it resonate with you. Drawing on the work of Goleman’s philosophy, the idea is that when you attain control over your emotions, you are able to control the atmosphere of the work environment thereby controlling the emotional reactions of others. The power is yours to gain. The importance of this comes into play when you think about the work environment you are currently surrounded by. Day after day, stress after stress. In a world where change is a constant and bosses are looking for answers yesterday, ask yourself what happens when yet another demand is thrown at you or someone on your team? According to the literature without emotional intelligence in action, your work environment loses its psychological safety and it goes from an environment to thrive in to an environment of surviving.

Psychological safety is the outcome of emotional intelligence. It creates an atmosphere where individuals who work together feel respected and accepted for their perspective and creativity. It is this type of environment that is essential for innovation to happen and risks go from a vision to a method of delivery.

So to sum it up, emotional intelligence gives you the power to create a healthy environment for yourself and others to thrive in, and the atmosphere to motivate you and your co workers to want to invest in. Deepak Chopra draws attention to this emotional bonding in his book The Soul of Leadership, 2010. The motivation to want to be of service to others starts with an emotional connection to ground the loyalty needed to bring out the best in each other.

So how do you get that emotional bonding entrenched in your EQ? You start with the choice to do some self work. It comes down to you wanting to feel empathy for others. Empathy is having the ability to identify, process, and respond to emotions appropriately. It is the concept that captures connection to emotion.

It all starts with understanding your own. The measurement of emotional intelligence comes down to the empathy you show to yourself. Without empathy, you are shutting off your own emotional connection to your needs and are then unable to respond appropriately to the needs of others. In other words if you cannot show yourself empathy, how can you genuinely convey it to anyone?

The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain.

Understand that the ability to perceive what a person is going through is by sensing their emotions and paying attention to their perspective. It doesn’t mean that you have to agree with it. Rather you have the choice in responsibility to convey empathy by responding to the feeling and then verbalize that you understanding. The key is to see it as just that. Not something to judge, nor berate. Something to re frame and acknowledge.

Situations between two people with differing views can be powerful. Ask yourself:

  • How do I feel?
  • How do they feel?
  • Where is the stumbling block?
  • What needs to be looked at differently to get over this hump and continue to create?

Conveying empathy shows compassion. Compassion is the core of humanity that can solve or rectify conflict as it can tap into the main reason for it. By taking the time to answer the above 4 questions you remain present on the issue and not on the assumption. When others sense you are connected to their present needs, positive interpersonal relationships build and with that comes respect.

Self regulation encompasses your discipline in responding and not reacting. Empathy and compassion you convey, self regulation you must consistently work at. Your thinking can then be done with deliberation before you act on your thoughts.This deliberation gives you the time to initiate your empathetic and compassionate thoughts.

It is in those times where you are having your worst day and you are about to let your frustrations be known. Maybe in many inappropriate ways that can have a negative impact on your working relationships and add toxicity to your working environment. Applying your EQ then becomes all about keeping it smooth.

  • Know your triggers that cause your impulsive behaviors.
  • Become aware that it is your symptoms that are driving your reaction.
  • Identify how you are reacting.
  • Look for patterns.
  • Then intervene by owning your symptoms and taking control over them.

Want to dig deeper into your emotional health in the workplace? Check out Forbes coverage on Emotional Courage:

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