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Why Great Leaders Need to Develop Emotional Intelligence

By: Rick Bowers


Motivational saying that shows what it takes to have great leadership

Leading a team isn’t an easy job on a good day. Our current circumstances, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, mean that good leadership is more important than ever, but also more difficult than ever.

What can leaders do to blaze the trail for their teams? Right now, the best way to improve your leadership skills is to develop your emotional intelligence. Here are 5 benefits you’ll enjoy once you increase your awareness and work on this often mislabeled ‘soft skill’.

Stay Down to Earth

The first element of emotional intelligence we measure at TTI Success Insights is self awareness. Self awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, and understand how they affect others.

People have a hard time saying no to the boss! Depending on your communication style, you might not be as approachable as you think. If you develop your emotional intelligence, you’ll have an easier time picking up on feedback from your team, even if it’s indirect. You’ll also get an increased awareness of where you need to improve and develop.

Read and Captivate the Room

Leaders need to have a lot of different skills; your ability to read a room and lead a conversation is key. Social awareness, and social regulation, which is your ability to influence others by managing relationships and building networks, need to be a priority.

Increasing your emotional intelligence will help with both. That way, you can pick up on nonverbal cues and body language later, and catch a retreating team member before their hesitance becomes a problem.

Your empathy will also expand, which will help your messaging and delivery. Your team is under a lot of stress and pressure right now as well, regardless of your industry. Confidence in you as their leader will help lift that pressure.

Increase Employee Engagement

When you increase awareness, you will get a better understanding of what your team needs from the company and from you. You don’t have to be perfect at fulfilling those needs, but you do need to let your employees know that you’re working with them and for them.

Increasing that engagement looks different for different behavioral styles. Some employees need continuous education in their roles, while others will prioritize their work/life balance. Once leadership figures out what drives and motivates their team, they can act.

Customer retention rates are 18% higher when you have well-informed and highly engaged employees, according to Smarp. Give morale and profits a boost!

Make Hard Decisions

Making tough calls has always been part of a leader’s job. Our current crisis has required more of those calls than normal, and that will take a toll over time. Increasing emotional intelligence will help you make these decisions carefully and confidently.

If your social awareness is high, you will be able to deliver bad news in the kindest and clearest way. You’ll also get a boost to your empathy, which will help your communication as well.

There will always be difficult decisions in the path of a leader. Developing this skill now will help you navigate the future with confidence.

Lead by Example

Everyone you work with will notice a change in your behaviour when you work on your emotional intelligence. These changes will help them increase their own awareness, which will create waves of changes throughout your organization, and might even help develop your talent pipeline.

Emotional intelligence is your key to engagement, development, communication, and more.

Your organization needs to take a ‘People First’ mentality if they want to thrive, not just survive. In 2020 and beyond, investing in your own emotional development as a leader will be crucial.

Published: May 26, 2020

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Rick Bowers

Rick Bowers is the President of TTI Success Insights, an industry-leading assessment provider based in Scottsdale, AZ that is dedicated to revealing human potential through assessment solutions and research. TTI SI has administered over 30 million assessments worldwide and holds a direct presence in 58 countries around the world. Connect with TTI SI on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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