Following my recent blog on Emotional Intelligence, I am going to focus in this blog on ways that you can improve your emotional intelligence and become a more effective leader.
If you’re self-aware, you can tap into your own feelings and understand how your emotions affect your actions, and how your actions can affect others. An emotionally intelligent leader will know what their strengths and weaknesses are. There are many ways in which we can improve our self-awareness. For example, we could keep a diary where we record our daily thoughts and feelings. This will help us to achieve a higher level of self-awareness. It is also important to SLOW DOWN. We will face many situations in the workplace i.e. anger and it is important to slow down and examine why we are feeling this way. Slowing down helps us to choose how we will react to the situation.
Self-regulation is, effectively, self-control. An emotionally intelligent leader can regulate themselves so that they rarely make emotional decisions. One way in which we can regulate our behaviour is to know what our personal values are. Spend time examining your values, understanding which are the most important to you. This is your code of ethics and if you are clear on these, you will know what to do when faced with having to make an ethical decision.
Ways to improve your motivation include looking at why you are doing your job, so take time to remind yourself why you chose this job in the first place. If you struggle to do this, try to find the root cause of the problem as this could help you to look at the situation in a different light. Take another look at your goals too. Are they energising? It is important to feel optimistic no matter what types of problems you are facing. Try to find something positive in even the bleakest situations.
Empathy is critical to being an effective leader. If you can ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’, they are far more likely to respond positively to you. It is important to look at things from other people’s perspectives rather than having your own opinion. For example, if you ask one of your team to redo a task, and they agree, does their body language corelate with their agreement? Are they looking irritated or upset? Is their tone of voice suggesting that they are unhappy? It is important that you address these feelings. Let them know that you appreciate what they are doing and that you would find having to redo the task just as frustrating as they do.
An emotionally intelligent leader has strong social skills. Being able to resolve conflict between individuals requires strong social skills. For example, sometimes just being able to use humour can diffuse a tense situation. Being able to praise others will inspire loyalty and trust, learn how to do this to inspire others.
Taking the time to improve in these areas will help you to improve your emotional intelligence and become a more effective leader. It is important to realise the importance of leaders being able to understand their emotions and actions and how these affect other people. The better we can work with others, the more successful we will be.
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For more information contact Marie O’Donnell at Marie@professional-futures.com.
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