by Susan Spears, President and CEO, Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce
Effective leadership is not just about making decisions and delegating tasks; it is also about understanding the emotions of oneself and others. Emotional intelligence is the ability to do just that. It involves being self-aware and able to manage one’s own emotions while at the same time perceiving the emotions of others. Some leaders have a natural inclination towards emotional intelligence. If it is not natural to you, don’t worry! It is a skill that can be developed through practice. By working on improving emotional intelligence, leaders can build stronger relationships with their team and create a more positive work environment.
When thinking about “self,” remember “self” is also about your interactions with others. Recognize your own natural preferences and how they shape your worldview. Don’t get off track by believing others with different preferences are wrong. We all have different strengths and struggles, and acknowledging this allows our mind to open to others. Isn’t it glorious that everyone is not a morning person? We need some to happily rev things up early in the day while others keep the energy going late in the afternoon. The balance is where the magic happens within a team.
Learn how to manage your emotions to strengthen your leadership and improve your interactions with others. Recognize what triggers positive or negative emotions and learn how to control them. Spend more time in inquiry, and think first before speaking out. Others will feel heard and respected, and you will feel more positive interactions coming your way.
Being an emotionally intelligent leader is a game-changer today. Our working climate demands it. Understand yourself and empower others. If they have more questions, create an open space to answer them. If they are tired, don’t ask them to charge the hill on that day. If they’re not doing enough, acknowledge what they’re doing well and ask how you can help. Make the shift and watch your leadership soar.