The subject of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been around for quite a few years and we are all born with it. Those who have high EQ tend to have more success in life and those the low EQ are more likely to be stressed out.
In the last 20 years or so, research has been done around link between successful leadership and having high EQ. The Harvard Business review found that 90% of successful leadership is down to having high EQ.
So why is EQ important in leadership? Well, in order for you to be at your most effective as a leader you need to have positive relationships with those you work with, be calm and controlled and, have the ability to develop others.
Let’s go into it a little more:
Positive Relationships – It doesn’t matter what type of personality you have, when you have good relationships with the people you work with things become a lot easier. When people feel respected by you they will give you respect. What you give you get. Sure, we all have different social styles, and there will be some people you like more or less than others, but it is a good idea to treat everyone as you wish to be treated. If there is someone who rubs you up the wrong way, check if it is their problem or yours. If it is yours, work on it, if it is theirs, you’re the leader, work with them on it.
Feel Good – If you feel good about who you are and what you do, you will perform well. But how do you get to feel good in the first place? My view is if you feel bad, it’s time to and take stock of why you’re feeling that way in the first place. I remember feeling pretty bad about how things were going in my life a few years ago and it made me very unhappy. ‘Happy’ is my default setting but my vibe wasn’t on that so I stopped and took stock. I had a rare medical condition, which made my life a little tough. I made a conscious decision to have all of the treatment that was available for me then did what I needed to do to improve even more. If I needed CBT, I took it. If I needed light therapy, I took it. If I needed anything else, I took it, then changed my diet and mindset. Slowly, but surely things improved. When you’re in a good place, emotionally, mentally and physically, you are on fire!!!
Be Calm – This is my favourite subject. Calmness, or stillness, is a must for all leaders, because, sometimes, our work can be overwhelming. But what happens when there’s a storm in the workplace between staff or from them toward you? My suggestion would be to have a session with your team, where you go around the table and address what the storm is. I must stress that everyone needs to start the session in a calm manner, including you as leader. One of the techniques I have taught is the ‘Family Meeting’. This is where everyone concerned is around the table and a person can only speak if the they have something, say a pen, ribbon or something symbolic is in their hand, while everyone else listens. Everyone in the room has to respect the confidentiality of the meeting and feel safe to speak. You as the leader must remain calm throughout the meeting just in case things become tense. This will only work when you are calm and focused, and that is the case for any type of conflict within the workplace. Unfortunately I have witnessed it where the leader has lost their rag in front of every one. When that happens respect is lost!
Solution Focused – When you focus on solutions you focus on success and when you focus on success performance improves. For every problem, there is always a solution. You see, problem’s are these little things that crop up and make things a bit challenging sometimes, but how we deal with them can either keep them little or make them mountainous. When being solution focused you can either do it on your own or get someone to help you. Two heads, or more, are better than one and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. As they say “No man is an island.”
Great Communication – This goes without saying really, and when you do it well you go a long way. But how do you get it right? For a start, understand people’s social styles helps. Social Styles is a behavioural style model and is used by many organisations to improve leadership performance. Understanding the social style of those you work with and them understanding yours, is essential if you want to make communication more effective. There are 4 types of communication behavioural styles:
- Analytical – Need to be thorough, are thinkers and like things clear and concise
- Drivers – Like results, are action oriented and like people to stick to the facts
- Expressive – Like personal approval, are spontaneous and are light-hearted
- Amiable – Like personal security, value relationships and like courtesy
When you understand your own style and that of others around you, how you communicate with each other will promote good performance and great success.
Good Emotional Health and Well-being – When you focus on your emotional health and well-being you’re in a much better position to express your feelings and deal with the demands of your life. Emotional well-being is something that many primary schools have adopted to help children to have healthy behaviour and positive educational attainment. When your mind is healthy you are in a much better position to recover from illness, cope with change, be more confident and grow. When workplaces place emphasis on positive mental health, there is less staff sickness, great performance and fantastic relationships between people. If your workplace doesn’t promote well-being, or poo poos the idea, take it up yourself, because you are ultimately responsible for your own growth and progression. Here are 5 quick steps you can try from the Public Health Agency
- Connect with people around you
- Be active and doing something you enjoy
- Stop and take notice and look at what’s around you
- Keep learning because new things help you to grow and feel confident
- Give or do something nice for a friend or stranger.
Focusing on these things creates a resilient and phenomenal leader.
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