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What’s the difference between a leader and a boss? Have you ever wondered why some people naturally compel the people around them? What is emotional intelligence in leadership, and how does it work?
Emotional intelligence has been proven to be a critical trait for successful leadership. In order to properly inspire a team, you need to be able to understand people at a deeper personal level. It’s not enough to provide instructions and expect people to follow them.
In fact, according to a study from Harvard Business School, Leaders with empathy perform over 40% higher in employee engagement, decision-making, and coaching.
This article will outline 5 important emotional intelligence traits in leaders that truly inspire teams and can help propel professional success.
Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Focus On Positive Signals
Leaders who demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence often focus on a situation’s positive rather than the negative. They know that putting energy and effort behind solutions rather than fixating on problems produces better long-term results and creates a better working environment for their team.
High-performing professionals understand that no business scenario is perfect and that seemingly great ideas can fail before they get off the ground. However, emotionally intelligent leaders can hone in on positive signals and use them to keep their team inspired and dedicated to the objective, even in the face of failure or repeated challenges.
They Understand Limitations in Themselves & Their Team
Emotional intelligence in leaders is often expressed by a strong understanding of strengths and weaknesses. This includes self-awareness and a perspective on what individuals are capable of on their team.
This is a critical leadership trait because it assists with the delegation of duties and ensures that every person on a team performs to their highest level, which ultimately encourages a team to grow together rather than fall apart. In fact, according to a recent LinkedIn study, workers who have managers with high emotional intelligence are four times less likely to quit.
Leaders with Emotional Intelligence Embrace Change
Industries and workplaces are constantly evolving – consider how rapidly the world has changed from traditional office schedules to hybrid and remote work. Successful leaders during these times could adapt how they managed hybrid teams to ensure that objectives were still met.
Leaders with emotional intelligence are usually the first to embrace change as it comes, as well as the best advocates to encourage adoption from others. They understand that while change can be difficult, it’s a natural part of the business cycle and that a failure to evolve could have other serious consequences. They also recognize the challenge of changing for some individuals and are often the best at softly nudging people out of their comfort zones.
Self-Motivation is an Obvious Sign of Emotional Intelligence in Leaders
Do you wait to be told to do something? Or do you recognize a professional opportunity in front of you? Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence are self-starters and highly motivated. They inspire themselves to tackle significant challenges and prefer to act rather than wait for permission.
One of the greatest advantages of this type of leadership characteristic is that it’s contagious. When others see a leader tirelessly pursuing their best efforts against a common challenge, they are inspired to act and retain a heightened sense of attention to their tasks. It’s one thing for a boss to tell someone to do something, and it’s a whole other level of motivation when workers see a leader in the trenches fighting to succeed with them.
They are not Perfectionists, but They Fight Against Mediocrity.
Successful leaders understand when enough is enough, and they are sufficiently emotionally intelligent to perceive when a team has given a project their best effort. Rather than put constant pressure on a team to achieve perfection, high-performing leaders perceive teamwork and projects as an evolution from a long-term perspective.
They don’t allow complacency or mediocrity to grow within their team. Success is judged based on progress from the last evaluation, and if there is momentum against skill-building and knowledge from their team, then it doesn’t need to be perfect.
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