In its purest form, you’ll notice a pattern in people with emotional intelligence: They show up to challenging circumstances with uncanny character and integrity.
This is especially true for exceptional leaders of people. While it may be hard to manage conflict and navigate other emotional matters at work, great leaders know that skirting the issue is a recipe for disaster; it will lead to more drama and more conflict.
This is why it’s so crucial to develop your emotional intelligence. You inherit a slew of positive leadership traits to build up your self-awareness, apply empathy to your relationships, and maintain a positive outlook on things.
Here are 7 absolute attributes you’ll find in leaders with emotional intelligence.
People in management roles who are not comfortable in leading others allow fear to seep in and sabotage their self-worth. To deal with shame or lack of confidence, they put on a mask that hides who they truly are, which shows up in counter-productive ways, like false charisma, bossing people around, micromanagement, or forcefully commanding attention. A leader with emotional intelligence, on the other hand, shows up with her most authentic and best self, while honoring the authenticity and best in others.
When I say “self-confidence,” I mean knowing your own emotions, strengths, and weaknesses; what your values are, and what drives you as a person. Leaders with emotional intelligence are realistic in their self-assessment and always remain open for constructive criticism. They understand what situations bring out the worst in them, and will plan in advance accordingly to adapt to a particularly challenging scenario.
Let’s accept the fact that conflict is unavoidable when human beings are involved. Rather than being passive-aggressive and conflict-avoidant, leaders with emotional intelligence courageously run toward the eye of the storm. They are keenly aware that cutting through conflict with active listening skills to understand the other person is a much faster solution to resolving an issue than the negative consequences of running away from conflict.
Authentic leaders don’t say things to sugarcoat, try to please others, or look good in front of their peers. They don’t betray themselves or others by using words or making decisions that are not aligned with who they are at the core of their beings. These leaders speak clearly, honestly, and with integrity, especially when the rubber meets the road.
A leader with emotional intelligence is able to redirect disruptive emotions and impulses and not jump into any hasty conclusions. When a team botches a delivery, a leader with EQ resists the urge to go off and point fingers. She will step back, look at all the possible reasons why things didn’t work out as planned, explains the consequences to her team, and explore solutions with them.
During the hard times, leaders with a high degree of EQ don’t hide behind closed doors or conveniently delegate important communication needs to others. They are out on the frontlines sharing plans for the future, addressing questions and concerns, and calming fears and apprehensions. Employees look to such leaders for information, clear expectations, and the status of what’s going on when the chips are down. This is why visible and approachable leaders will “walk their four corners,” check in with their people, and personally answer questions to ensure the trust is ongoing and people feel safe.
Passion is often misconstrued as high energy or being vocal about something (with higher decibel levels to boot). In this manner, it means having the intrinsic motivation to achieve for the sake of achievement and the unquenchable desire to experience new challenges. Passion in a leader with EQ shows up with unwavering optimism in the face of adversity and will take whatever he or she can from the experience in order to grow and improve.
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