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How to develop Emotional Intelligence

How to develop Emotional Intelligence

How to develop Emotional Intelligence

Much research has been conducted on what makes a successful leader or manager, with Emotional Intelligence being one of the most common  competencies  associated with effective management and leadership.  Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage our own moods and feelings and those of other people. It involves self-awareness, self-direction, interpersonal sensitivity, and organizational awareness.

A leader or manager has strong Emotional Intelligence if they demonstrate the following skills:

  • ability to identify what emotion they are experiencing at any given time, such as, anger or frustration
  • capability to then manage that emotion in order to appear professional
  • skill in coming across as assertive, not aggressive, calm and in control, and therefore earning respect
  • displaying a positive mental attitude
  • ability to adapt their leadership style according to the situation or stakeholder

Being able to display emotional intelligence is a key leadership skill which is proven to deliver success and it can be taught and learnt during Executive Coaching and Leadership and Management Development Programmes.  Naturally some people are more interpersonally sensitive than others, but studies show that emotional intelligence skills can be developed by modifying behaviours, which may have become ingrained over years. 

In order to become more emotionally intelligent, leaders need to increase their levels of self-awareness; they can do so by asking their peers for their honest and constructive feedback, or by engaging in a 360 Feedback Review.  A Face to Face 360 Feedback Review  is by far the most effective and valuable method for a leader to identify how he/she is perceived by the Chairman/Board/peers/colleagues/customers.  Once leaders have accepted the feedback, they can start to develop and improve the key skills needed to improve emotional intelligence, such as:

  • demonstrating empathy
  • building rapport to create strong working relationships
  • sharing more information with others
  • asking for constructive feedback
  • actively listening to others 
  • not being defensive

Once key development areas have been identified, the leaders can work with an Executive Coach to create a SMART Coaching Action Plan in order to identify their ideal behaviours and how to achieve their goals.  Taking part in a facilitated Leadership Team Day  and utilizing the Team Needs Questionnaire, will also identify any gaps in skills and desired behaviours, such as Active Listening, Open Questioning, Openness, Honesty, Integrity.  Working with an Executive Coach, practising new tools, techniques and behaviours on real life business scenarios, enables a leader to overcome age-old habits by activating the brain to respond differently to situations and overcome any blindspots.  Leaders are then able to rehearse potential reactions to a variety of scenarios and people, in order to create better working relationships and better manage stress.

According to many surveys, a leader who can demonstrate high levels of Emotional Intelligence is likely to have a more effective team, highly engaged workforce, and overall more profitable business.

 

About Jill Maidment

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