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Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Traditional management skills are okay, but stand out among the rest by coupling them with emotional intelligence.

Even for those who are fit and healthy, the stress associated with disrupted business processes and social isolation due to the prevailing pandemic and work from home scheme continues to affect workers worldwide for far longer than many hoped. With this, companies are now looking at prioritizing employees’ mental health and well-being.

But more than just establishing employee assistance programs to support workers during this challenging time, ensuring the well-being of the workforce must also be accompanied by empathetic leadership.

While traditional management skills are essential, having impeccable emotional intelligence will further pave ways for nurturing and motivating teams as it helps leaders recognize and manage their own and others’ emotions.

Emotional intelligence can be further developed or enhanced—if there is willingness to learn.

Here’s a brief introduction to emotional intelligence and how important it is for leaders and the workforce.

1. Emotional Intelligence means being vulnerable

Leaders are instrumental in building the organizational culture. It is crucial for leaders to be real and be candid about the opportunities and challenges of the team or the organization. It would be foundational for the team needs to hear and feel how leaders are on the same journey with them.

Also, consider setting new expectations. Communicate to your team that it’s okay to see children on a video call from time to time or go off-screen during a Zoom meeting if needed. Employees need to understand that we’re all human and the stated examples are normal occurrences since most of us are working from home.

2. Emotional Intelligence means being self-aware

Working well with others entails the ability to have self-awareness. It is okay to recognize your own emotions and try to understand how employees view you after exhibiting such weakness. Assess your strengths and listen to where you need to improve. When you master self-awareness, you can observe your emotions rather than merely react to them.

3. Emotional Intelligence means practicing empathy

Empathy has several components: mental awareness (imagining you are the other person), communication (what you say and how you say it), and a physical aspect (observing tone and gestures).

Employees want managers who know and care about them as people, and they want to have conversations about life outside of work. Sending them good mornings, patting their backs, inviting them over lunch, or even asking your team what assistance they need can already go a long way in making them feel supported.

4. Emotional Intelligence means communicating effectively

Having strong communication skills aids in all aspects of life – particularly in business and the workplace. Ineffective communication may lead to frustration and confusion among employees – or worse, conflict.

Communication in the workplace isn’t just about how well you work with others. It is about building relationships and working as productively as possible. Leaders who leverage emotional intelligence have a greater ability to connect and engage the members of the team, thereby creating a sense of meaning and accomplishment to the team.

5. Emotional Intelligence means being self-motivated

Motivation is another important emotional intelligence skill. People who are emotionally intelligent are motivated by things beyond rewards and all the perks that come after performing well. Instead, they have the drive to achieve the expectations they set for themselves and pursue peak experiences.

Those who are competent in this area tend to be action-oriented. They set goals, have a high need for achievement, and are always looking for ways to do better. They also tend to be very committed and are good at taking initiative.

To lead by example, you must first learn how to motivate yourself.

Leaders create the context within which we work. They can create a healthy environment and likewise, create the opposite. It is therefore crucial for leaders to be effective and possess the ability to understand how to inspire and ignite passion within the team – and leading with emotional intelligence can do the job well.


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