Leaders with high emotional intelligence (EQ) skills are more likely to have a high performing and loyal team following them. But becoming a high EQ leader takes a lot of hard work over time.
EQ leadership skills are best developed by focusing on one or two at a time and practicing them until they start to come naturally. Using the following list, select one trait and start practicing the high EQ behaviors listed. Note the effect it has on you and on others. Once you have mastered that trait, choose another to work on!
High EQ Behaviors: Lots of traffic around this person’s office. Others like to drop by. The door is usually open; a kind and encouraging word awaits those who enter. Predictably available.
High EQ Behaviors: Maintains good eye contact, leans toward and not away from those speaking. Smiles naturally, nodding in agreement, does not interrupt or dominate the conversation.
Can read the room very well. Sees the big picture and can stay focused on personal and professional priorities. Intuitively moves towards synergy with the team rather than isolation.
High EQ Behaviors: Thinks before talking. Only speaks when doing it helps the situation. Keeps lines of communication open even when frustrated. Returns phone calls, emails, and texts promptly. Follows through on promises. Generates progress reports frequently.
High EQ Behaviors: Remains calm and level-headed. Encourages healthy conflict. Delights in truth spoken with empathy. Believes conflict can strengthen relationships.
High EQ Behaviors: Reads others well and spots potential quickly. Feels no anxiety about helping others with the “tricks of the trade.” Usually has been coached and knows the value of helping others.
High EQ Behaviors: Treats people as individuals and can identify with their emotional wants, needs, fears, and dreams.
High EQ Behaviors: Generally has a more positive “half-full” view of life and problems. Sees challenges as opportunities and seeks to inspire others.
High EQ Behaviors: Lights up, smiles, and diverts from the task-at-hand to warmly acknowledge others who enter his/her space. Approachable. Happy to help out or answer questions.
High EQ Behaviors: Often heard laughing. Uses self-deprecating humor. Enjoys healthy banter with the team. Enjoys hearing and telling stories.
High EQ Behaviors: Identifies and owns his/her emotions. Does not view emotions as good or bad but rather as indicators requiring action. Displays emotions that are congruent with the espoused values of the group. Can easily recognize when other people are affecting his/her emotional state.
High EQ Behaviors: Has passion for the work that goes beyond money and status. Motivated by the thrill of the hunt.
High EQ Behaviors: Responds to complications. Sees trouble coming before it arrives. Likes to solve problems collaboratively. Comfortable with blameless resolution.
High EQ Behaviors: Builds networks of people that are both deep and wide. Naturally works to connect others and liberally shares information, resources, and ideas with them. Lingers after meetings to converse and catch-up. An open door policy is a norm. Intentionally makes rounds in the office to check-in and keep relationships from becoming too distant.
High EQ Behaviors: Has an accurate assessment of self and is secure in assigning proper weight factors to personal strengths and weaknesses. Seeks input. Models transparency and vulnerability appropriately.
High EQ Behaviors: Arrests impulses and alters mood and perspectives to make positive changes that will maximize strengths and mitigate elements that hinder performance and limit relationships.
High EQ Behaviors: Gives friendly and warm greetings. Smiles frequently, initiates conversation, and makes others feel valued. “Friendliness with a purpose.”
High EQ Behaviors: Has enough self-awareness to know how and when to recharge. Adjusts schedule to match natural personal rhythms. Finds fulfillment in his/her work and does not fret about segregating work from his personal life. Practices self-care through gracious exercise of boundaries. Seldom procrastinates.
High EQ Behaviors: Gives and seeks good feedback to stimulate the team’s growth. Demonstrates trust in team members. Provides balanced doses of inspiration, encouragement, and accountability. Pulls a fair share of the work load and quickly recognizes the efforts of others to do the same.
High EQ Behaviors: Possesses strong critical thinking skills. Can play the devil’s advocate role by throwing cold water on the ideas of others. Asks good clarifying questions.
Use of Power
High EQ Behaviors: Relies on RELATIONAL power rather than positional power.
For more on growing your leadership skills in the area of emotional intelligence, read "Making Relational Glue" in our book FIT – Improving the Leadership Health of Yourself and Others.
Dave Marks 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.