Recall a time or experience when you had a leader who triggered your mood. If this was a positive feeling, s/he would have triggered your discretionary effort. Discretionary effort is a term used in connection with employee engagement – highly engaged employees tend to contribute high discretionary effort; they tend to routinely give more than the minimum required by the job; as some say they ‘go the extra mile’.

On the other hand, if they triggered a negative mood, you may have had the thought ‘I will do the least possible to get by in the job’. Although your value system may have battled this and you still did the best possible, this may have been a little more challenging as you would have needed to be your own cheerleader.

Emotional intelligence shown by leaders has an impact on the team and the performance of their direct reports. If you didn’t like the bad mood triggered by a specific leader and you have noticed the negative impact it had on you, this is a behaviour that can be improved with some intention. Emotional Intelligence can be measured. Whatever your score, you can make effort and take action to improve it.

Here are some development tips to get you started:

  1. Reflect on the way you feel and consider how your feelings are influencing your decisions, behaviours and performance.
  2. Seek feedback from your direct reports on your leadership and start exploring what leadership styles or competencies are important to them.
  3. Ask your colleagues and peers for feedback.
  4. Become more familiar with your values and beliefs, as these shape the way you interpret events… how you tend to think, feel and act in response to them. Discover the ‘red flags’ that trigger you and find ways can you keep calm and collected in a heated discussion.

Remember – leaders with emotional intelligence can connect, influence and inspire others. There is a direct link between the way people feel and the way they perform at work. Emotionally intelligent leaders are in control of their feelings and create an atmosphere of fairness and trust. 

Karl Grech is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Helping his clients enhance how they connect, influence, and inspire others. Karl can be reached at [email protected] or visit www.karlgrech.com  to learn more.

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