An Emotionally Intelligent Leader

November 8th, 2014, by Francia Guzman, Managing Director, FBG Consulting

 

I have to accept that there are some really bad leaders out there.  I’m calling a bad leader someone who mistreats their team, doesn’t provide guidance, is not willing to listen, people who are unappreciative, give no recognition but instead take credit for other people’s work.  In extreme cases I’ve heard the words “mean and evil” being used to describe some leaders.

I also have to say I have yet to meet the leader (even the really bad ones) who wake up every morning thinking about who they’re going to make miserable that day.  Everyone even when you ask of people whose role is to act as a “corporate policeman” wish people would understand the scope of what they do, why they do it and that at the end their legacy would be to be remembered well.

So there is a strong disagreement between how people want to be perceived and how they are really perceived.  To me the key to all this is emotional intelligence.

The situation for leaders today carries a heavy burden.  There’s a lot happening in the business world, which is becoming extremely complex.  For example the work environment is characterized by change and disruption. The business results demand that we do more with less; clients want value added through competitive pricing; everyone is very dependent on market intelligence and how they are branded; it has become an “employee driven” market whereby people in organizations what to work in a specific way (e.g. flexible schedule) and they are impacting the companies with their demographics.

As leaders one must obtain results, lead teams, set direction, have a vision and create a good environment but the HOW this is done is what leads to the different leadership styles. It speaks to the leader being (or not) agile, resilient, decisive, intuitive, consultative, trustworthy, involved or caring. The HOW will be the leader’s footprint in the organization.

So how does being emotionally intelligent help? Well, a leader with high EQ will have the ability to sense, understand and apply the power of emotions to the work they do. The leader will have self-awareness of their moods, thoughts, drivers, strengths and shortcomings.  They will have self-management regulating themselves, their emotions, being in control of their impulses and thinking before they act.  They will have social awareness showing empathy, understanding others, building networks and managing relationships and finally social-management by understanding, influencing, inspiring others and creating a comfortable environment. A team will be good if they trust each other, identify with each other and come together for results.  The leader is to guide them in this purpose. ”

Here are some actions you can take to build your EQ as a leader:

  • Identify strengths and shortcomings
  • Slow down if faced with a reactive situation
  • Keep a journal of situations that get in the way of your success
  • Admit mistakes
  • Don’t assume and judge
  • Don’t stereotype
  • Pay attention to your reading of the environment and individuals
  • Support other’s point of view, be flexible and willing to change
  • Listen
  • Recognize others
  • Resolve conflict
  • Keep others in mind
  • Find a good coach or sounding board to discuss issues