Emotional Intelligence For Leaders

No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but in my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore
28 Jul 2018 11:00
Emotional Intelligence For Leaders

No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but in my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it” – Jack Welch

In addition to delivering leadership work­shops I also do individual coaching.

I coach a range of leaders from a range of industries from non-profits to big businesses ,from the sports world to the the world of en­tertainment, I coach any leader who is very good at what they do but have a passion to be­come even better.

When I work with these leaders I consider myself very fortunate as I believe I learn just as much as I teach and one key lesson I have gained while spending time with so many successful people is that each and every one of them have what is called Emotional Intel­ligence.Definition

Emotional Intelligence is described as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.


In simple terms Emotional intelligence is the ability to react the way that you want to react to any given situation.

We have all been in situations when we said the right thing at the right time, we reacted in a way that made us proud, and when we look back we have also done the opposite.

There have been times when we said the wrong thing at the wrong time and when we look back with the benefit of hindsight we wished we could have reacted differently.

In businesses these moments can damage relationships and derail careers.

Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

To be successful you need emotional intelli­gence so how do you obtain it?

The first thing you need to understand is that we are all incredibly unique and differ­ent individuals sharing the same world.

It’s our individuality that provides us a unique view of the world and our place with­in it is a view that not everyone shares.

What looks one way to one person looks very different to someone else.

To gain emotional intelligence you need to remember that how you view the world is dif­ferent to how other people view the world.

Let me share a story of a very experienced leader who I coached last week.

This successful leader has to prepare a num­ber of reports on the current situation of the business and the strategic vision of the busi­ness.

These reports are complex, they require a lot of research, a lot of hard work and take time to complete.

Once completed the leader sends the reports through to the board of directors.

When the leader sat down with me for her coaching session she expressed her disap­pointment that no one had sent her an email thanking her for her hard work, she felt this was a sign that she wasn’t valued and that the board didn’t take the reports and therefore the strategic future of the organisation seri­ously.

When reading this I’m sure you will be able to think of a similar situation of when peo­ple who you work alongside didn’t react to you in a way that you wanted.

This happens everyday in workplaces all around the world.


Yet there is something you need to remem­ber when this happens.

When someone reacts to something we have done our natural instinct is to assume the in­tent of that reaction based on what the intent would be if it was us that reacted.

We assume, wrongly that everyone thinks the same way we do.

This happens to us all despite how experi­enced we may be.

The successful leader did just that when the board didn’t send a quick email thanking her for sending through the reports.

She assumed the intent was based on what the intent would be if she did that, she is the kind of person who would always send a quick email saying thank you and if she didn’t then that would be a clear sign that she didn’t respect that individual and their work as well as being unprofessional on her part.

Now her assumption may well have been true maybe the board didn’t care but it’s un­likely what happened is what happens in most workplaces everyday.

People just react differently to the same situation and not sending a quick thank you wasn’t in the boards mind and wasn’t a sign of disrespect if the board didn’t mean any­thing.

To be successful as a leader, be honest

To be successful in anything in life you have to be aware of how you react to situations and you need to be aware that others will react dif­ferently to you and that’s not a bad thing, dif­ferent is not bad it’s just different.

Don’t assume other people’s intent is based on what it would be if it was you.

They are not you so if in doubt just ask.

I was asked recently by a company to recom­mend what was the best way for people to un­derstand each other.

Was their a psychological assessment that the employees could take and receive a report at the end and while there are many different personality reports you can use there’s no doubt in my mind that the most effective tool to understand people is to talk to them.

The best leaders throughout history have learnt that by investing time in people, talk­ing to them and more importantly listening to what they have to say helps you understand people, see their differences and appreciate the diversity that makes them so unique.

These leaders learnt that by understanding themselves and getting others to gain Emo­tional Intelligence and once that is obtained success presents itself.

“We tend to think of leadership as some­thing you do externally.

The good leaders are the ones who are com­fortable in their own skins.

They understand what they are about — they understand their purpose in life and their strengths.

They have a level of comfort with them­selves that leads to a level of comfort with others” – Dan Pink.


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