Habits of emotionally intelligent leaders

A high emotional quotient often sets apart star leaders, helping them build strong relationships, motivate their workforce and develop a flexible communication style. By Priya Prakasan

In any organisation at least 80 to 90 per cent of top performers have a high emotional quotient. It’s an important factor in their success. Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to monitor, recognise, understand, and manage our emotions, while also understanding others’. Here are some of the habits of emotionally intelligent leaders that make them better equipped to guide their workforce towards achieving their goals.

1. They use assertive communication techniques
Communication is a core leadership skill and emotionally intelligent leaders utilise this skill well when handling conflict. Rather than resorting to aggressive or passive behaviour, leaders with high EQ are able to maintain a healthily balance of emotions and tactfully assert themselves in difficult situations. They do not let their empathy, kindness and politeness stop them from setting clear boundaries. Some might think their softer approach makes them pushovers, but they’re swift to correct that assumption. It’s this ability to set boundaries and assert themselves when necessary that makes them good leaders.

2. They invest their energy wisely
Emotionally intelligent leaders know that in order to have a productive day, they can’t be all over the place trying to get everything done. They have to expend their energy wisely. They understand the benefits of not holding on to negative emotions so as to be able to move on and resolve conflicts. Holding on to a grudge only increases stress. But while they might have forgiven, they definitely do not forget what caused the conflict, and are unlikely to give the person another chance or be taken advantage of again.

3. They have a forward-thinking mindset
This is a quality that differentiates emotionally intelligent leaders as they aren’t bogged down by what didn’t work out in the past. They are quick to learn from their past mistakes so as to improve their future actions. By limiting what they dwell on from the past they are free to think about the future and all the boundless possibilities out there. This trait helps them prepare for the future to achieve growth and success through innovation.

4. They understand and master their emotions
People with a high emotional quotient are able to master their emotions better because they continuously work to understand them. Their extensive vocabulary of feelings helps them be precise when communicating their actions and what they are looking for. They are able to correctly identify their emotions as they occur and are thus able to glean greater insight into any situation, their actions, the causes, etc. This control over their emotions also helps them diffuse potentially volatile stations, as well as think before speaking so as to not make uncalled-for enemies.

5. They are optimists
Negative beliefs and self-talk undermine a leader’s confidence and undermine his/her actions. Emotionally intelligent leaders understand that the moment you ruminate and stew in these negative thoughts you’re giving them power over your actions. Therefore they’d rather spend their time and energy focussing on solutions not problems. They keep an eye out for the positives in a situation so as to capitalise on it. Leaders with high EQ also don’t view failure as a personal reflection of themselves; they don’t let others determine their self-worth or compare themselves with others.

6. They are self-aware
Emotionally intelligent leaders understand that self-awareness is the foundation of great leadership; it facilities empathy and self-management, which is why they spend time understanding how their own feelings and emotions influence their decisions and performance. It is crucial for a good leader to have strong emotional self-awareness so as to enhance their social awareness and relationship management skills.

Photograph: Waewkidja – 

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