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Five ways you can build your emotional intelligence as a leader

Before we dive into five ways you can build emotional intelligence as a leader, let’s first establish what emotional intelligence is.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It requires curiosity, presence, and control.

Emotions are like data they are always sending us messages throughout the day. Emotions are what makes us human, and we should not spend our days running from them, bottling them up or ignoring the signals they are sending us.

If we choose to accept and become curious about how we are feeling at any given moment, we will learn to live a fuller and more present life.

So how does this impact your leadership skills?

Emotional intelligence is linked to how self-aware you are, which is one of the most important and life-changing skills to master. If you can monitor what you are thinking and feeling you will be able to manage your energy better and become conscious of your choices, in return, it will impact how you behave.

Becoming self-aware has a significant impact on how you show up, lead, and inspire your team. At any given moment we have a choice as to how we respond in any situation. Being aware of your thoughts and emotions allows you to pause and reflect before you act.

Ask yourself.

“How would you rate your current levels of self-awareness?” 

Having high levels of emotional intelligence is also linked to how present you are around others.

As a leader, one of the most significant gifts you can give your team, child, friends, partner and family is your full attention.

Ask yourself now.

“How present are you when you are with others?”

Reflect on your last conversation, were you genuinely engaged?

Were you listening with a curious and open mind, or were you focused on the next task at hand, what you’re having for lunch, or just busy judging everything the other person was saying?

Be honest. It’s ok that you weren’t, it is a skill, and one that takes time and dedication to develop. The good news is both self-awareness and presence with others can be developed, and if we want to be a true leader, then these skills are ones to work on daily.

I believe everyone is a leader, and we are all leading either ourselves, family, friends, colleagues and team.

With this in mind, below are some strategies you can implement now to develop your emotional intelligence.

1. The power of the pause

That’s right slow down and breath. If you are always rushing around from one task, meeting, and activity to the next, how do you expect to stay calm under pressure?

Allow yourself to take regular breaks. Set a reminder on your phone to take a few deep conscious breaths every hour. Connecting to our breath slows the mind and reduces our stress levels. The more present you feel throughout the day, the more aware you will be of yourself and others.

2. Keep a journal

Self-reflection is vital to bring about any change and build a new habit. If you want to become more self-aware and understand yourself better, take pen to paper as often as you can and be alone with your thoughts and feelings. Allowing ourselves space to be, and reflect on the day just gone, what went well and how we could improve is a powerful exercise for building our self-awareness.

3. Practice empathy

Not judging others is harder than it sounds. In a society that is so quick to blame and shame, we have become quicker to judge and criticise other people. Taking a step back and not jumping to conclusions is a sign of a great leader. You will never know what is going on in someone’s mind, and it is not your job to know. Instead, ask questions and seek to understand why someone is behaving in a certain way. Your intention should always be to help them come to their conclusions and take responsibility for their behaviours.

Approaching difficult conversations with empathy builds trust and allows the other person to open up and be vulnerable. Remember, leaders lead, so try sharing your feelings, story and experiences to encourage others to do the same.

4. Build resilience Life is a journey.

There are up and downs and everything in between. Most of the time life can be mundane as you work through your daily to-dos, other times it can cause you stress and through you into survival, and other times it can be full of love joy and excitement.

The reality is life is not always full of sunshine’s and rainbows sometimes it is pouring with rain and raging with storms or overcast and grey, you get the idea.

Life is like the weather. We go through seasons, and like Melbourne, you can experience 4 in one day haha!

Building resilience allows you to enjoy the good times, except the daily ups and downs, and most importantly keep you going in the times of challenge.

5. Work on yourself daily

To become an inspiring and motivating leader, we need to continue to learn and grow every day. You can’t expect your team to be dedicated and show up with energy if you can’t manage your state. Make it your mission to learn something new every day and then here is the most important part, share it!

That’s right to share your knowledge with others. There is nothing more rewarding and ultimately crucial for our happiness than that feeling that we are contributing to others. Getting to the end of our day with the feeling like we have helped or made an impact in someone else’s life is such an incredible experience and a sign of a true leader.

Ask yourself,

“What have I learnt today that I could share with someone?”

There is an abundance and free information out there ready for you to consume. Committing to your personal development every day will have a ripple effect on not only yourself but those around you.

As we move into this next decade, let’s approach it with self-awareness, presence and empathy. Let us commit to our personal growth to share what we learn along the way. Great leaders inspire those around them daily and pull people up with them. 

Ask yourself?

What skills do you need to work on to help you perform at your best every day?

My advice.

Start with self-awareness and everything else will build from there. For more information on how CH Solutions helps teams develop their emotional intelligence through corporate training programs and online psychometric tools.

Please visit our mindset solutions page here. 

Georgie Hubbard

Director of Innovation and Growth

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