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  • Veronika Tracy Smith, PhD, PCC, NBC-HWC

Emotional Intelligence For Leaders

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The best leaders know their team better than anyone else does. A good leader will familiarize himself with the people that they are leading. He/she will want to know both the strengths and weaknesses of each person, as well as understand when a member of his team is not themselves. Being able to know yourself and your team while managing mutually beneficial relationships in the workplace constitutes high Emotional Intelligence or EQ for short.

Work is just one aspect of our lives. There are other things that we have to deal with, such as family, personal life, health – emotional, spiritual and physical. Although this is not always beneficial, there are times when people combine their work lives and personal lives. This means that if something difficult happens in one part of our life, it could greatly affect the other parts. A good leader will want to be able to detect when this happens. This is why things like emotional intelligence are a very important trait to have especially for a leader.

Emotional intelligence is the ability of a person to know and manage our own emotions and recognize the emotions of other people and manage good relationships. This is not a special ability that only a select group of people are born with. This is a skill that people can develop with time and practice. This is a very important skill to have, especially as a leader.

One of the best assessments for both your team and yourself as a leader is the EQ-I 2.0. There is a workplace assessment (for team members), the Leadership assessment, as well as a 360 (this is where you rate yourself and others rate you anonymously as well). If you want to get honest about your own EQ skills a 360 will give you the most valuable feedback. We tend to not be able to see ourselves as others see us. I find that some people are much harsher on themselves while others think they are further along in certain skills then they really are. If you want to grow as a leader taking an honest assessment and working with an Executive or Leadership Coach, like us here at Consciousness NOW Coaching. We can utilize many assessments that will be helpful on your journey to being the best leader you can be, a conscious leader. You can contact us for a free 30 minute consultation.

This kind of intelligence means skill building in four parts. An effective leader will want to master all four of parts.

Part of skill building toward high emotional intelligence is the perception and acknowledgment of emotions in yourself and others. This is where people skills come in handy. Not everybody is comfortable enough to talk about their emotions. It can be even more intimidating if people have to share these feelings with someone who possesses a lot of authority like the leader. A good leader will want to be sensitive enough to know when there is something amiss in the lives of the members of his team. She will be able to sense if something is upsetting someone on their team. The team member may not recognize their own emotions at first, and the leader may want to inquire. The important factor here is being able to read body language. A good leader will want to practice reading body language and getting feedback as to how on target they are. This allows him to address the problem before it begins to effect the team and or the team members job performance.

Stress Management is an important component of emotional intelligence as well and is part of knowing own emotions and how you react under stress and duress. Most people will resort to a previous level of functioning under prolonged stress. This means we can go backwards in our skill building. Once we have a handle on what triggers our stress and have the personal wisdom to know the effects we can be much more vigilant and avoid behaviors that get us into trouble. Long term stress management is very important for success as a leader and also for your team. I highly recommend having emotional intelligence training for your staff with a component of stress management.

This is a great way to establish a healthy relationship with the members of your team. This begins to take the drama out of the workplace and helps team members take more responsibility of the behavior and the effect they have on others. Debbie and I like to include teaching of the Myers Brigg’s Type Indicator because this can help bridge communication gaps in identifying healthy differences we have based on our personality types and preferences.

When a leader has helped his team learn some of these soft skills and is committed to using them him/herself it can make for a very productive and peaceful work environment. You can read more about the Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace.

The Leadership Challenge

A leader is someone that people look up to and it is important to model the way, according to Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge. This means that if he expects his team to manage their emotions properly, he needs to do this as well. A leader will not be able to use emotional intelligence on other people if he cannot do it on himself first. The place to always start is by knowing and managing your emotions and behaviors first.

These skills are integral to good leadership. This is a skill that people learn and develop overtime and through experience. Emotions can either make or break the chemistry and productivity of people. As humans, feelings are normal and there is no way for people to avoid dealing with them. What is most important is to learn how to manage these feelings so they do not affect their performance adversely.

About the Author

Veronika Tracy-Smith, PhD

Veronika has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation and a Board Certified Personal, Executive and Leadership Coach. She has been a psychotherapists in private practice for over 28 years as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California. She is certified as a Spiritual Intelligence Coach and Trainer through Deep Change. Veronika has done coaching and presentations in business, law enforcement, spiritual communities, Employee Assistance Programs, and with non-profit, county and state agencies since 1994. Read More About Veronika.

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