How Emotional Intelligence can help us be more effective Leaders

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI), refers to a different way of being smart. It is the ability to understand and manage our emotions and feelings, as well as the emotions and feelings of others.

Why is EI important in the Workplace?

Having strong emotional intelligence skills will enable you to empathise with your team, communicate effectively, and manage conflict. This means you understand your strengths and shortcomings, and how you respond in certain situations.

Leaders and managers with high EI achieve objectives through their self-awareness which as a result, promotes productive, motivated, and equal workplaces. They also tend to have happier employees who stay longer, and try harder - thus improving results, workplace culture, and employee fulfilment.

According to the World Economic Forum EI is one of the top 10 skills needed for professional success in 2020 and beyond.

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The elements of EI

Scientific journalist, author, and psychologist Daniel Goleman has developed a framework made up of four key domains and twelve connected competencies.

The EI framework makes it easier to identify areas of improvement and work towards understanding emotions and managing them.

Goleman's framework for Emotional Intelligence

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1. Self-Awareness

Individuals with high levels of EI are comfortable with their own thoughts and emotions and understand how they impact on others. Self-awareness is knowing your emotions, your personal strengths and weaknesses, and having a strong sense of your own worth.

Understanding and accepting the way we feel is often the first step.

2. Self-Management

Self-management can be defined as the ability to control and manage our actions, thoughts, and feelings in a flexible way. Self-management and control are necessary components of the leader's tool kit. It is important to have an understanding of self-awareness first in order for self-management to be possible.

3. Social Awareness

Social awareness is the ability to accurately notice the emotions of others and ‘read’ situations appropriately, (includes tone of voice and facial expressions). It’s about sensing what other people are thinking and feeling and being able to take their perspective using your empathy.

Empathy is defined as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, see things from their point of view, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

4. Relationship Management

Relationship management can be used to influence those around us to make good decisions. We can sense other’s reactions to the situation and fine-tune our response to move the interaction in a positive direction.

It is critical that this is a genuine attempt to help everyone reach the best possible outcome and not become an act of manipulation for self-interest.

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So how do we become more self-aware?

There are a variety of tools and techniques that can help with this. Mindfulness can help us become more aware of what emotions are coming up for us. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

It can also be useful to follow a sequence of questions to help process these emotions:

Self-Awareness sequence

1. Sense the feeling (or emotion)

2. Acknowledge the feeling (e.g. ‘I’m feeling overwhelmed’)

3. Identify more facts – what has contributed to this feeling?

4. Accept the feeling

5. Reflect on why is the emotion showing up now?

6. Act - take appropriate action, if needed.

7. Reflect on the usefulness of the response and lessons learned

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So what next?

If you are considering how you can best support your workforce in this area, or you have any questions or concerns regarding the wellbeing of your people, please get in touch for a free, no-obligation chat.