All leaders should be able to not only know that there’s a difference between IQ and EQ, but they should also be able to understand why that difference matters.
While IQ has long been thought of as the main gauge for intelligence and, therefore, the driving force behind success, EQ is even more important when it comes to being successful, especially as a leader. Whether leading a team at work, or your family at home, EQ drives your ability to interact with everyone around you.
As your EQ increases, so does your ability to empathize and, therefore, connect with everyone.
But EQ isn’t just about making friends and getting along. A leader’s emotional intelligence allows them to better address problems, reacting appropriately and driving positive change in all situations. Strong leaders with high emotional intelligence have the capacity to quickly improve their teams’ morale, foster strong relationships, and exude confidence that puts everyone else at ease, ready and willing to listen.
For leaders who actively work on improving their EQ, they gain a huge advantage when it comes to being successful in the workplace (as well as every other aspect of their lives). Not only does a high EQ give you the ability to stay calm (even when stress levels are high), but it also allows you authentically communicate with those around you, making you simultaneously popular and powerful.
Developing your EQ takes time and focus, which is why some leaders choose to focus their attention elsewhere. But, when you prioritize improving your emotional intelligence, the benefits quickly outweighs any of the difficulties or excuses previously getting in your way.
7 Proven Strategies for Amplifying Your Leadership Effectiveness
- Know Your Strengths. The first order of business is knowing where you stand right now, which means accurately assessing your current EQ. Cultivating this self awareness can be done in a variety of ways, but starting with a personality assessment is one of the best places to begin. Not only does this type of assessment allow you to spend time looking at your current emotions, feelings, and behaviors, but it allows you to start connecting the dots between your emotions, your thoughts, your actions, and your current situation. The better you’re able to understand yourself, the better you’ll be able to improve your weaknesses.
- Recognize and Reduce Stress. Being able to quickly identify when you’re getting stressed plays a major role in your overall EQ. Being able to recognize stress in others is another important part of being an effective leader. The less stress you have, and the less stressful you can make the working environment for your employees, the better everyone’s performance will be. While reducing stress will look different from individual to individual, understanding how you can lower your stress levels can help you develop strategies for other members on your team.
- Spend Time in Reflection. The most effective leaders regularly take time to reflect because it gives them the ability to course correct quickly as needed. As you learn to reflect, spend time evaluating a variety of perspectives on your team, stepping into other people’s shoes so that you can better understand how they’re feeling — and what you can do to help them.
- Change Your Perspective About Conflict. A lot of leaders do everything they can to avoid conflict and disagreements altogether. This, however, doesn’t demonstrate high EQ. Leaders with a lot of emotional intelligence recognize the fact that there is a lot to be learned from conflict. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should try to get people to disagree. Instead, when conflicts, arise, use them as an opportunity to get creative, working with all parties involved to healthily resolve the issue. Being able to stay calm throughout this process is, of course, another way that EQ comes into play.
- Develop Empathy with Active Listening. The ability to empathize is a major part of EQ, and one of the best way to improve it is by practicing active listening. When working with your team or employees, try to repeat key parts of what they say before you add your thought tor ideas. The more you’re able to see situations objectively, the more you’re able to start connecting with your employees. Once you’ve finished actively listening, you can develop more empathy by sharing personal stories, which will help you become “real” with the people you’re working with.
- Ask Questions. It’s crucial for effective leaders to ask questions, rather than just giving out directions. Asking questions is a key part of active listening, but it also reflects other EQ strengths, such as being able to see multiple perspectives while still coming to one unified decision. The more you’re able to ask questions, and then strategically work with the feedback provided, the more mature you’ll appear as a leader.
- Broaden your horizons. While many leaders develop a narrow worldview in order to “focus” on the task at hand, the most effective and successful leaders understand that doing so is a big mistake. By opening yourself up to more perspectives, you flex your EQ muscles, allowing yourself and your company to engage in diversity across the board. Because strong and effective communication is critical for all leaders, the broader your horizons, the more open-minded you’ll be — and the more opportunities you’ll create.
As you work to improve your EQ, remember the importance of being able to ask for feedback from someone you trust. Share with them what you’re working on and have them give you their honest thoughts. This feedback is one of the best ways to quickly improve your EQ — and, therefore, your effectiveness as a leader.
If you are looking for ways to further develop yourself – or others – in these 4 dimensions of EQ, take our free Lumina Splash assessment right on your mobile device.