Do you know what it means to be truly emotionally intelligent? And do you know what it takes to put emotional intelligence into practice? According to Psychology Today, there are actually three skills involved in emotional intelligence:
- Awareness, not just of your own emotions, but also of those around you, as well.
- The ability to apply that awareness to problem solving and decision-making.
- The capacity to manage emotions, including controlling your own and helping to elevate others’ moods and/or de-escalate negative emotions in a tense situation.
As you no doubt already know, emotional intelligence is essential to both conscious leadership and personal development. It’s also a pretty big concept, but that does not mean that it has to be difficult to implement in your daily life. For a start you can practice these habits of highly emotionally intelligent leaders.
They Listen Actively and Deeply and Ask Questions
Emotionally intelligent leaders don’t talk over their employees, colleagues, friends, and/or family members. They also don’t just wait quietly for their turn to talk. They really listen to the thoughts and concerns of others. And, as they’re listening, they stay engaged and in tune with others’ emotions by asking questions. Simply asking for clarification or elaboration can make the person you’re speaking with feel more heard and more relevant, which will make them more open to you and your recommendations.
They Aren’t Afraid to Talk About Their Feelings
Men and women, alike, grow up being told not to be too emotional. Boys are generally taught not to discuss their feelings at all, but girls don’t have it any easier, either. While it’s generally more acceptable for women to “be emotional” and talk about their feelings, it’s also traditionally considered unprofessional or a sign of weakness.
Well, the paradigms are shifting, and with culture change come conscious leadership and emotional intelligence. Truly emotionally intelligent leaders are courageous and vulnerable enough to talk about how they feel. By opening up about their emotions in a professional and appropriate manner, they gain empathy with their colleagues and employees, and they have better access to more effective solutions to a whole range of problems and challenges.
They Take Time to Reflect on Their Emotions
If you talk to some of the most emotionally intelligent leaders you’ll ever meet, you’ll find that a lot of them have this one thing in common. They all take time each morning (even just a couple of minutes) to assess how they’re feeling and why. They might do it through meditation or journaling, gratitude exercises or reflection time.
If they wake up feeling stressed and tense, they’ll take a moment to analyze what’s causing that stress and how they can approach the problem with a constructive solution. Then they can relinquish some of that tension and anxiety to start the day with a fresh attitude, set intentions and the zeal to take on any challenge.
Emotionally intelligent people don’t try to suppress their emotions. They notice thoughts, triggers and the resulting feelings, and regulate their own response to it. They don’t act out on them, but they work to understand the sources of their feelings and the “why?” of the matter. All of these habits help them do this, and they all contribute to deeper emotional intelligence and better leadership.
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