While leaders need to possess the right set of technical skills for their department and industry, emotional intelligence is equally important. Emotional intelligence means that you understand the importance of owning your emotions and having strong awareness of the emotions of your team members around specific situations.

Leaders with a strong sense of emotional intelligence have a deep understanding of how their words and actions impact others. It also means that you respond appropriately to the emotions of others as well as know how to deal with stress as an event transpires rather than keep it pent up and lash out in inappropriate ways later.

The Four Most Important Attributes of Emotional Intelligence

In 1995, Dr. Norman Rosenthal defined emotional intelligence as having the innate or learned ability to control, evaluate, and perceive emotions in yourself and others and to make appropriate use of this information. Dr. Rosenthal also outlined the four most important components of someone with strong emotional intelligence, which include the following:

  • Empathy: When you have sympathy for someone, you feel sorry for him or her but helpless to do anything to improve the situation. Empathy, on the other hand, means that you can put yourself in another person’s position and attempt to see the situation from his or her point of view.
  • Self-awareness: Being a self-aware person goes beyond knowing how you feel to understanding why you feel that way.
  • Self-management: This emotional intelligence skill means that you know how to handle emotions such as anger, frustration, and stress without projecting them onto other people. It also includes such attributes as adaptability, a positive outlook, and orientation towards achievement.
  • Relationship management: Relationship management skills are especially important as a business leader because they allow you to influence others to produce the expected response. Others view a person with strong relationship management skills as an influential leader and a person who can manage conflict through to resolution.


How to Introduce the Concept of Emotional Intelligence to Your Team

Although many people have heard of emotional intelligence, don’t assume this is true of every member of your team. It’s a good idea to call a meeting to introduce the concept to those who require basic knowledge as well as get a feel for what others know about it already. Be sure to explain why a strong sense of emotional intelligence among every team member is essential for internal and external conflict management, better individual and team performance, and an improved sense of peace and well-being for everyone.

Once you’re sure that your team understands emotional intelligence, continue to recommend books and articles they can read on the topic as well as classes they can complete. You can even put on your own seminar about core values of emotional intelligence while continually encouraging your team members to evaluate their own level of it.

Keep in mind that you set the tone for your entire team with your own level of emotional intelligence. Work to identify your weak spots and then vow to respond to stress in a calm manner and treat everyone you meet with respect. You may even wish to take it one step further by frequently volunteering in the community and inviting your team to do the same. This shows that you are in tune with social responsibility, one of the highest levels of an emotionally intelligent person.

Empathic Workplace has a unique set of learning modules that fuse workplace learning with empathic improvisation.
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