There is nothing more harmful and destructive than a divisive and contradictory leader. They build contempt and distrust and control their charges by fear and power games. You may get things done in the short term but ultimately, your team will self-destruct. Don’t be driven by fear or a yearning for power. Lead with the intention to inspire and your workplace will benefit. One of the best ways to ensure you avoid this behaviour is to lead with emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a trait so intrinsically linked to positive relationships and productivity. Research continues to reveal just how imperative it is to have a high EQ if you want to be successful in business and indeed life. There are countless benefits to both your productivityand that of your business as a whole. The great thing is, you’re not stuck with what you’ve got. EQ and the skills that go with it is a learned trait and with these top tips, you can be well on your way to avoiding the kind of leadership that divides and destroys.
Educate yourself and your team
This is the basic key to ensuring you don’t become stale as a leader and your team don’t lose momentum. Learning and development is a crucial aspect of growth. Leaders who understand their team enough to engage them in further development are already connecting with their team more than someone who does not. Saxons Group published a great article outlining the Top Ten Benefits of Ongoing Staff Training and Development.
While training your team, you mustn’t forget about yourself. As Leonardo Di Vinci once said, “Learning never exhausts the mind”. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you don’t need to, or perhaps don’t have time. Register for the Konnect Learning Leading with Emotional Intelligence in February 2017, for some fantastic advice and training on building your EQ.
Never underestimate the value of self-awareness
“Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom…The power to choose, to respond, to change.” Dr Steven R Covey
Self-awareness is one of the first steps to understanding yourself, others and how to best engage in a situation. Understanding your own behaviours, gives you a point from which you can gauge a relationship and monitor your responses to best suit a situation. The benefits of self-awareness are plentiful.
The Harvard Business Review has outlined some great practical advice for those wishing to work on their self-awareness.
Understand and use empathy with your team
Empathy comes very easily to some, but the difficulty comes for those where empathy is not second nature. Learning how to understand where others are coming from, to spend a day in their shoes, can be highly confronting for some. However, the ultimate advantages of honing this skill are better relationships, positive experiences and successful engagement with others.
Some basic tips for using empathy as a leader include:
- Looking first to see the other person’s point of view
- Validating the other person’s perspective
- Ask what the other person would do
- Be aware of your attitude
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“What we have to do…is to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate our differences without fracturing our communities” Hillary Clinton
This quote is true in both society and business. There is nothing more divisive and counter-productive to leading with emotional intelligence than an inability to embrace diversity. At Konnect Learning, we value diversity in the workplace as a fundamental pillar for both successful and good business. We have written ample articles on the business and emotional value of diversity in the workplace and run a regular Leadership in Diversity Forum.
When you fully understand and create a diverse and accepting workplace, you are giving your employees the freedom to thrive, thereby giving your business the best chance to thrive. Marjorie Derven wrote a fantastic article on the essential link between diversity and EQ.
Knowing how to effectively manage and resolve conflict
Effective conflict resolution and EQ go hand in hand. It is difficult to have one without the other, so understanding practical ways to manage conflict can assist you in honing your emotional intelligence and vice versa. Emotional Intelligence Workshops have published some helpful practical advice on how to use your EQ skills to manage conflict with greater ease.
Identifying clear and easy to embrace strategies ahead of conflict is a huge advantage. Create a step by step guide for coping with conflict in your workplace by reading these great Workplace Conflict Resolution Tips and Strategies by Mindful Mediation.
In Dr Reldon S Nadler’s informative work, Leading with Emotional Intelligence, he points out that all the skills of EQ, fall under four umbrellas, some of which we have touched on above.
- Social awareness
- Relationship Management
If you can focus your energy on understanding these areas, and managing them in yourself, you will increase your EQ.
Be a leader who inspires trust and loyalty, engagement and diversity. Be the kind of leader you want to see lead our governments. Not only is it just the right thing to do, but your business will thrive as a consequence.