The Impact of EQ on Leadership

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Madiba, the humblest of men and the epitome of a true leader – on the one hand caring and understanding of others; on the other he was no push-over. He was wise beyond his years and had extreme emotional intelligence.

IQ might mean you are clever but without a high EQ (emotional intelligence) you most likely will never be an effective leader.

So, what makes an effective leader?

  • Someone who is always calm, even under pressure.       
  • Someone who has their team’s complete trust.                                                                       
  • Someone who listens to your input.                                                                                                               
  • Someone who makes you feel comfortable about approaching them with any issues                         
  • Someone who makes astute and confident decisions.

Let’s define EQ even further

It’s the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and the feelings of those around you. For a leader, a high EQ is essential to achieving success.

Someone with a high EQ will possess the following 5 traits:

Self-awareness
Understanding the effect your emotions and actions can have on those in your presence. In leadership, that means you need a clear awareness of your strengths and weaknesses – and to behave with some humility. In other words, leave the ego at home!

Tips for finding self-awareness:

  1. Run a journal – a few minutes out of your day to jot down how you’re feeling will help highlight your emotions in a situation.
  2. Breathe! If something has riled you, step out of the situation to gather yourself before responding in haste.

Self-control
When you are in control, you rarely have outbursts of anger or bad temper. Neither do you rush into hasty decisions, without first weighing up all the factor.

Tips to being self-controlled:

  1. Know your own values and operate your life based on them, and especially do this when you’re under pressure.
  2. Remain calm. If under severe pressure take a deep breath and count to 10. It really does work. If you are faced with an unbearable situation, move away until you are composed.

Self-motivation
Set your own sights high with very clear goals. Be continually driving to meet those goals.

Tips to being self-motivated:

  1. Keep focussed on what you love about the job that you’re doing.
  2. Always see a glass half full rather than half empty.
  3. Reward yourself when you achieve successes.

Empathy
Having the ability to see a situation through somebody else’s eyes. As a leader, it is an imperative skill as it builds trust and respect from your team.

Tip to finding empathy:
When in a discussion with an employee, study their body language and ensure it matches what they are saying. If you don’t you can easily be deceived into picking up the wrong signals.

Social skills
This is about effective communication. These leaders are able to stir up emotions amongst their team. They will use these emotions for the good of the team to create an exciting and positive energy.   

Tips to being socially skilled:

  1. Try to catch someone doing something right and then praise them for it.
  2. Ensure that it is specific and relevant to their work.

Ultimately, to be an effective leader, you need to acquire EQ. It’s not so difficult to do either. We all have it in us to react with maturity and sensitivity. All it requires is the ability to understand the situation and then manage your own emotions so that you can manage your team’s. And good leadership gets great results!

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