How to Cultivate Emotional Intelligence as a Strategic Leader
Steps to improve emotional intelligence in your organization
It’s no coincidence that the five pillars of emotional intelligence are also key traits of a good leader. It’s important for leaders to not only exhibit traits of emotional intelligence but also to recognize and celebrate them within their team. So, how can leaders cultivate emotional intelligence?
1. Show appreciation:
It’s easy for executives to overlook the importance of employee appreciation, even though the smallest gestures can make a huge difference. When employees are happy, the whole business benefits. Research has shown that having happy employees increases productivity, sales, employee retention, employer net promoter Scores (eNPS); the list goes on.
Remember to give praise for a job well done and ensure your employees know their hard work does not go unnoticed. This can be as simple as a shoutout in your all-hands team meeting or a handwritten “thank-you” note. When employees receive praise, they feel valued. And when they feel valued, they are more motivated to work hard and deliver exceptional results.
2. Practice what you preach:
Respectable people lead by example. This includes making an effort to exhibit the positive traits that you expect to see from your team and acting in solidarity with them. In order to be effective, a team must be unified from the top down. Actions like giving thanks, admitting to wrongdoings and having an open-door policy will help create a healthier environment.
3. Get to know yourself:
Understanding yourself is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness and reflection involve understanding one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives. It’s a major factor in emotional regulation, as it helps provide insight into one’s emotional reactions and makes it easier to control them. Make an effort to be mindful of how you react in different situations, and get comfortable with the idea of self-reflection. This kind of reflection is not just good for enhancing your leadership skills, but for the soul as well.
4. Get to know your people:
You know it’s important to establish good working relationships with your coworkers, but establishing good personal relationships goes a long way, too. Knowing your employees on a personal level means being able to better understand them and their emotional states and allows you to determine how to best work with them.
Don’t underestimate the importance of one-on-one time between CEOs/managers and team members. Having frequent and consistent 1:1 meetings helps drive performance but also provides opportunities for open communication and relationship-building. Team members are more likely to provide truthful and constructive feedback if they feel like they are being heard.
5. Provide training:
As mentioned, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed and improved with practice. It’s important to invest in emotional intelligence training and development programs if you want your team to be successful. This includes both emotional awareness and emotional regulation, as well as communication skills, decision-making skills and more.
Developing emotional intelligence requires practice, but it can have a huge impact on the success of an organization. By recognizing emotional intelligence within your team and investing in emotional intelligence training, you can create a better working environment that leads to improved performance and higher morale.
Emotional intelligence is not something that can be forced on people or taught overnight. It takes time and commitment from leaders, but it can have a positive and lasting impact on the team as a whole when practiced and supported regularly. It’s a valuable tool that can help business leaders be more effective, improve communication and increase trust.
By investing in emotional intelligence, your business will be able to reap the rewards of a better-connected workforce that feels appreciated, respected and motivated to succeed.