“There was a time when Intelligence Quotient was the main factor in predicting the success of an individual. Over time we have discovered there are more factors to consider, one of which being Emotional Quotient: the skill in managing one’s emotions. Effective leaders have developed the ability to sense, understand, and apply emotions; to achieve a greater level of productivity and seamless collaboration. The following principles are the first step in an exciting journey of self-improvement.” -Oliver Parker
There was a time when Intelligence Quotient was the main factor in predicting the success of an individual. Over time we have discovered there are more factors to consider, one of which being Emotional Quotient: the skill in managing one’s emotions. Effective leaders have developed the ability to sense, understand, and apply emotions; to achieve a greater level of productivity and seamless collaboration. The following principles are the first step in an exciting journey of self-improvement.
Self-Awareness – The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.
I have had the honor to work with some talented people on different projects. One thing they all had in common was the way they handled day-to-day situations. They all had this calmness and confidence about themselves. They had mastered their emotions and moods in order not to negatively affect others around them. Not only were they aware of their emotions, but also had the ability to sense and recognize others emotional states as well. The last thing a teammate needs during a stressful event is their leader losing control and going on a frantic tirade. Once a leader gives in to fear it spreads throughout the group like a plague. Chaos quickly follows, and trust in leadership is lost. This is nearly impossible to recover from once this bridge has been crossed. Teammates detach and form a group within a group to compensate for the lack of leadership. Teammates lose respect for the leadership and all credibility disappears concerning leadership. This creates more tension, which may provoke an undisciplined leader to exhibit even more disruptive behavior. A self-aware leader would pick up on the negative emotions of his team, and attempt to make things right. The only option left for the leader to turn this situation around is self-regulation.
Self-Regulation – The ability to control or re-direct disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgment and think before acting.
It gets hard sometimes to resist the temptation to act without considering the consequences in seemingly desperate situations. I can’t tell you how many times I have avoided some horrible decisions by just taking the time to step back and pause. Time and opportunities, you think you have lost by waiting, will be recovered and multiplied later through huge steps forward, made possible by well thought out plans. In today’s professional arenas, it is not uncommon to have multiple fires to put out on a constant basis. This is the time to redirect any anxieties towards a viable solution. To accomplish multiple goals a clear mind must be present not only in leadership, but also in others that may be involved. This requires constant vigilance to ensure decisions are not being made based solely on the emotional state of the decision makers. It’s easy to react by blaming others, but that doesn’t get us any closer to mending the situation. Motivation is the key to staying focused on mastering your ability to control your emotions, to reach your goal. This process does not happen overnight. It takes practice and determination to change bad habits. The only way to practice is to be placed in situations that provoke emotional reactions; and then being able to do the right thing under pressure. Accountability may provide some helpful feedback to evaluate responses. Find someone who will give you an honest assessment of how you handle a situation. A key component in continuing to improve is proper motivation. Once that motivation is found it will be apparent to your teammates and they will be inspired to move forward together as a team.
Motivation – A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money and status and a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
Wealth and status are mistakenly considered enough motivation to pursue goals. However, if there is no passion to persistently drive us to our goals, then that increases the chances of us to fall short of what we initially set out to do. Proper motivation does not come solely from the fact that, we must do something. When I was younger my mother would give me chores that needed to be completed by a certain time frame. I had no passion whatsoever to complete these tasks. The tasks were completed at the pace of a turtle, and I did just enough to meet the standards of my mother. On the other hand, when it came to celebrating my mother’s birthday, I put 110% into the project. The difference in my behavior was dependent on my motivation. One task was done out of fear, the other out of a desire to see someone I cared about happy. As a leader, there is no greater motivation for me than to see my team accomplishing great things. If I find myself just going through the motions and just doing enough to get the task done, then it may be time for me to rethink what really matters. Why did I choose this career path in the first place? What did I love about it to begin with? One method to help motivate a leader to properly interact with his/her team is practicing empathy.
Empathy – The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people.
It’s a rare thing for an employee to actual feel the sincerity of management when it comes to their emotional needs. When employees are asked to stay late, or work on days off, an empathetic leader has the wisdom to acknowledge that it is an inconvenience. Not only will an attentive leader acknowledge the inconvenience, but find a way to reward an employee in some way to show their appreciation. If this phenomenon does occur, signs of respect and loyalty are given in abundance on the behalf of the employee. Once this bond is established, leader’s coaching, correction, and feedback are welcomed with open arms. The team’s development sky rockets and goals are conquered on a constant basis. Empathy displayed by management towards the team, foster’s an atmosphere of inclusion. When the team feels included, they take ownership of each project and are willing to go the extra mile without being asked. This opens the door for the leader to also develop social skills needed to manage relationships and build networks.
Social Skills – A proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.
No one is wise enough to make all the decisions. We must recognize that others possess insight on topics. Therefore, we must make a constant effort to reach out and seek relationships for the purpose of establishing a network. A leader should be comfortable with making decisions together with their team and collaborators. A group of people coming together and making decisions may be a stressful situation that causes someone to let their temper to get out of control. No matter what problems a leader is facing, they must never allow emotions to rule their critical thinking process. Someone who has the complete trust of their staff, listens to their team, is easy to talk to, and always makes careful, informed decisions has mastered the art of social skills. These are people who attract others to them like a magnet. Others are willing to work with them on a constant basis, and get a good feeling about the project they are working on.
The primary responsibility of a leader is to detect areas of opportunity for improvement. It requires strength and courage to look for that in ourselves first. There is no such thing as a perfect leader. Coworkers are not looking for perfect leaders; the team is in search of perfect motives. Leaders, who fail to understand this, must give an account to their peers as to why their career is filled with constant failures. There are many things that are hurtful that a leader must contend with, as they continue to master emotional quotient. Be encouraged, all that hard work will someday pay off. One of the rewards of leadership is seeing your team develop and overcome adversity that would normally stop them in their tracks.
I’m pleased to share my article featured in Issue 14 of the e. MILE People Development Magazine. Please follow the link below to view article on their website. Thank you for your support! :