Emotional Intelligence

Think of a leader, coach or mentor (past or present) that you look up to as a role model. Imagine being in their presence and consider two questions:

What did they do that you liked so much?

How did they make you feel?

Make a list of this person’s attitudes and behaviours, and compare your answer with my list.

The person…You felt…
trusted and respected you;
gave you time and attention;
listened to you;
challenged and believed in you;
treated you as an equal.
safe, cared for and supported;
confident, self-belief, and valued;
special, and enthusiastic.

We can describe emotional intelligence (EI) as interpersonal intelligence.

There is an abundance of research on the impact emotions have on an individual’s performance in the workplace. It shows that people perform their best when they feel involved in purposeful work that develops their ability and when they feel valued, cared for, consulted, respected, informed and understood. This research has also shown that people often perform their worst when they experience unproductive feelings, such as feeling frustrated, concerned, stressed, inadequate and fearful.

Leadership is fundamentally about facilitating people’s performance, getting others to do their best, and to do their work effectively and efficiently in a safe environment. One of the most robust, consistent findings in the area of social sciences is that there is a direct link between the way people feel and the way they perform.

Emotionally intelligent leadership is about leaders intelligently using emotions to facilitate high performance in themselves and others.

Here are six questions for you to consider and rate how you ‘show up’. Do this activity and score yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 is the lowest score – you ‘show up’ significantly less than others; 3 is mid-range – you ‘show up’ about average’; 5 is the highest score – significantly more than others). You…

  • demonstrate awareness of your mood and emotions?
  • make others feel appreciated?
  • are open and honest about mistakes?
  • make ethical decisions?
  • manage your emotions effectively in difficult situations?
  • recognise others’ hard work and achievements?

What is your total score? This can range anywhere between 5 and 30, the higher the score the more likely you are leaving a favourable impression.

Through this activity, you are using an objective measure and rating your behaviour that is within your full control based on the interactions you have with your team. The good news is that very few people will score 30, since very few people will turn up in an entirely perfect way in every situation, all the time. But we could choose to take note of the situations we show up poorly and modify our behaviours. The more positive our impact, the more we are going to engage our team members as emotionally intelligent leaders.

Each question relates to a specific competency that can be enhanced through coaching, training or other development incentives. EI is important in every position, at every level in an organisation.

The more emotionally intelligent you and your people are, the better they cooperate, communicate, engage and produce!

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