Are you an emotionally intelligent leader?

Written on the 7 May 2010 by Stephen Lynch

Research shows that top business leaders have higher levels of Emotional Intelligence than average leaders.

Emotional Intelligence ("EQ") means you to understand the emotions, desires, and tendencies of yourself (self-awareness) as well as the people around you (other-awareness) - and are able to communicate in ways that move everyone in the direction of a common goal.

Here are a few key points to help you develop your EQ:

Different does not mean difficult

People behave differently. Behavioral profiling tools like Extended DISC have identified 164 different behavioral “styles”. There is no “good” or “bad” style. What you may think of as “difficult” people – may just be people who interact with the world differently than you do. Leaders with high EQ use behavioral profiling tools to learn about and empathize with people who have different styles – and make the effort to communicate with others on their terms.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses

Just as a coin has two sides - all strengths have an associated weakness, and all weaknesses have an associated strength. The key to success is to capitalize on strengths – not try to change weaknesses. People are more engaged and fulfilled when they perform in roles where they get to play to their strengths most of the time.

Its takes all styles to make a great team

All behavioral styles come together and add their own unique strengths and insights to a team. You don’t want everyone to think and act in the same way. Leaders with high EQ encourage different points of view and promote vigorous debate on their teams. As General Patton said, “If everyone is thinking the same, then someone isn’t thinking”.

Everyone wants something different

Don’t assume that your people want the same thing you do. Ask them! Some people are strongly task-focused and want to: “do it right”, or “do it fast”. For them the joy is about the work, and they are not so interested in the social aspects of business. Other people are more socially-focused and think along the lines of: “let’s do it happily”, or “let’s do it together”, or “let’s do it as we agreed”. There is no right or wrong – but you as a leader need to appreciate these differences in your people.

Know thyself

The best place to start with EQ is to become more self-aware first. Learn about your natural behavioral style, your strengths and weakness, how you prefer to communicate, and how you appear to others. Don’t expect people to conform to your way of seeing the world. High EQ leaders know themselves, AND they know how to adapt their behaviors to meet other people on their turf.

Author: Stephen Lynch

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