The following is a guest post by leadership expert Steve Gutzler
Great leaders inspire us. They ignite the best version of ourselves. Most importantly, they motivate us to accomplish our best work and they make us feel important. A leader who is capable of that inspiration and motivation has a high degree of Emotional Intelligence. Here are the basic competencies:
Leaders with high self-awareness are attuned to their inner signals, recognizing how their feelings and moods affect them and those they interact with daily.
Self-confident leaders take on challenging assignments. They possess a sense of presence, poise and self-assurance.
Leaders with emotional self-control find ways to manage their challenging emotions and impulses. Staying calm and clear-headed is a hallmark of a great leader.
Leaders who are transparent communicate their values and live them. They are open about their feelings, beliefs and choices. They are leaders who can admit fault, apologize… and move forward.
A leader with optimism can quickly shift from a problem and convert it into a challenge to be solved. They see life through the lens of possibility and positivity. They believe the future can and will be brighter.
Leaders who are adept at cultivating abilities show a genuine interest in the success of others. They ask about their goals, strengths, what they enjoy. These leaders provide constructive feedback and lift the vision of those around them to see the next level of what’s possible.
Working with leaders, I find the number one enemy to personal leadership effectiveness is their ability to manage their emotions. This is a challenge because of the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is released in response to fear, anxiety and stress by the adrenal glands as part of the fight or flight mechanism. Once you feel threatened or “emotionally hijacked,” the alarm to release cortisol has sounded and your body becomes mobilized and ready for action. Cortisol levels build up in the blood, which wreaks havoc on the rational mind and physical body, often leading to missteps and over-reactions.
Leaders who fail to emotionally self-manage these moments can sabotage their best efforts and put at risk key relationships with team members and even their clients, affecting their bottom-line results. I’ve worked hard over the past several years to partner one-on-one with leaders and teams to ensure they play at their best and remain smart during stressful encounters and challenging relationships.
To excel in your field and become an emotionally intelligent leader, practice these four tips:
Make a strong first impression
- Smile sincerely
- Have extraordinary eye-contact
- Take genuine interest in others immediately
- Greet others with warmth, charm and ease
Lead the conversation toward their world not yours
- Enter conversations by asking sincere questions
- Treat them like the VIP they are
- Ask follow up questions rather than “one-up” them with your opinions or stories
Affirm their stories and actions
- Affirm their ideas and working solutions
- Affirm their unique personal drive
- Affirm their progress… point it out
- Affirm what’s working, shine a light on it
Work daily to self-manage your emotions
- Learn the power of not responding immediately
- Understand that emotional hijacking can last 18-20 minutes, take time to breathe
- Learn to disengage so you can re-engage more powerfully
- Don’t treat yourself like a machine – take rest and recovery seriously
The highest performing leaders work to improve their Emotional Intelligence skills daily. Which tip will you choose to boost and improve relationships and connections with others this week?
Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest LLC. Visit SteveGutzler.com for more info.