Researchers in behavioral neuroscience have made some stunning discoveries about how our brain cells actually create a chemical connection with others. This is measurably true between leaders and their followers. Simply stated, a leader’s mood drives the mood of the team. Leaders who consistently manifest emotional maturity (high emotional intelligence) will likely have a high performing and loyal team following them.
Unlike IQ which is established at birth and in early childhood and changes only slightly throughout life, emotional intelligence (EQ) can be acquired and be significantly developed. The following are five of the most recognized attributes of EQ. By choosing to work on one or two, you will increase your EQ and positively impact your team and organization!
Self-Awareness is a foundational element. Individuals who understand themselves are able to leverage their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. There is a freedom from “self” that comes with honest self-assessment. Not surprisingly, those who possess high EQ inevitably pursue additional insight about how they are wired. Then, they make appropriate adjustments to their thinking and behaviors and move on. Confidence grows and the fear of weaknesses being discovered by others fades.
Ask Yourself: What have I learned about myself in the last month?
Try: Identify five areas where you can grow as an EQ Leader.
Self-Management is the proactive solution-based response to good feedback. A non-defensive attitude to problems contributes to trustworthiness in the midst of confusion, conflict, and change. The ability to redirect reactive impulses (such as an angry outburst, powering up, and blame shifting) into a stable response that explores solutions builds deep trust in a team.
Ask Yourself: In what areas do I have knowledge about myself that I could act on in order to improve my EQ Leadership?
Try: Consider reducing “learning time” and intentionally adding some “acting time.”
Passion for the task turns work into fuel for life. The work is energizing in itself. Remove passion from the challenges of life, and stress and anxiety will soon replace contentment. A motivated person is like a race horse in the gate waiting for the bell to ring. Their internal compass points them towards an attitude of optimism and of hope, believing every day holds a new challenge and a new opportunity to contribute something of value.
Ask Yourself: Is my recent self-talk more pessimistic or optimistic in nature?
Try: “Thank You” therapy (intentionally focusing on things you appreciate in others, situations, or events, or things for which you are thankful).
Note: Pessimism is frequently generated by fear without hope.
Empathy is the heart of EQ, literally. At the core of high EQ is relatability. When you are able to think like others and feel what they are experiencing, you will be able to coach and develop them. People around you are able to perceive that you “get” them; they are convinced you really care. With such trust, they will let you into the inner sanctum of their lives. They do not fear a judgmental attitude, and they believe you have their best interest in view. By contrast, leaders who have an easily-bruised ego will seldom be given the opportunity to shape the heart of an individual. Loyalty to such leaders contributes to an employee’s personal satisfaction and thus their longevity with the company.
Ask Yourself: How well do I know the people I work closest with? Can I name the top concerns or burdens they bear outside of their work demands?
Try: Send a note, make a call, or demonstrate personal interest in someone this week.
Connections come easily to the possessors of EQ. Such leaders are tuned in to themselves and others, and as a result, they are frequently known as networkers par excel ‘lance. The inherent trust in these leaders gives credence to their recommendations. They are able to lead positive change with greater ease because their power to persuade others is directly linked to the strong “relational glue” they have made while developing their EQ skills.
Ask Yourself: Is your circle of friends getting smaller and weaker or stronger and deeper?
Try: Commit to a date on the calendar to connect with someone.
Your actions and attitude will influence those of your team. If you want your team to perform at a higher standard, you need to be sure to set the example first.
Dave has over 35 years of church ministry experience including 23 years as a senior pastor. His consulting experience includes ministry assessment, leadership coaching, and strategic planning. Dave’s degrees include a B.S. in Bible, a M.S. in Organizational Leadership and a D.Min. in Leadership.