There are no hard and fast rules for becoming a great leader, but certain traits can help create better leaders. For example, a leader who applies emotional intelligence will have happier and more efficient employees, which means they’re more successful overall.
Emotional Intelligence’s Importance
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s feelings and emotions and the emotions of those around them. People who display healthy emotional intelligence have more self-awareness, self-regulation, people skills, and empathy than their counterparts.
Even just looking at those base components, it’s easy to see how higher emotional intelligence would result in better leaders. According to one study, seventy-one percent of hiring managers prefer higher emotional intelligence over a higher IQ.
Why It Matters
A leader who is more aware of their emotions is more capable of keeping them in check. In other words, they’re less likely to explode in inappropriate ways. They can handle a crisis with poise – providing a solid front for employees and clients alike.
Emotional intelligence in leaders also allows for the understanding of the employees they work with. They can be more empathetic and understanding, which creates a healthier work environment. Remember, employees that feel safe and happy are more productive.
Along a similar vein, leaders with high emotional intelligence create avenues for communication. They’re capable of listening to employees and responding in kind. To put it simply: team engagement rises alongside emotional intelligence.
Increasing Emotional Intelligence
So, how does a leader increase their emotional intelligence? It’ll take work and dedication, but with time it is an achievable goal. The first step, naturally, is to work harder at listening to others. This goes beyond waiting quietly and requires the leader to be willing to take constructive criticism as needed.
Additionally, take a moment before responding. Let that primary impulse fade, and put some actual thought into the response you want to have. Likewise, make an effort to control what’s running through your mind – negative thoughts can easily lead to negative words, especially if one isn’t careful. If nothing else, remember, we can’t always control what we think – but we can control how we act.