Article: How do we develop emotionally intelligent leaders?

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How do we develop emotionally intelligent leaders?

Often we experience the unparalleled burst of impulse at our workplace while managing responses and emotions of self as well as others around us. Let us delve into some remedial actions that organizations can take to address such challenges in this man-machine world.
How do we develop emotionally intelligent leaders?

Imagine a ‘Chief Executive Officer’ who does not acknowledge his own flaws or blind spots. He tries to do everything on his own; is unable to delegate and keeps defending himself if anything goes wrong. Often he is found not able to control his own emotions. His self conjecture over false notions of an infallible attitude is seen to derail the team’s performance on many occasions. 

What can organizations do to address such challenges in the man- machine world of today?

As we all know that it is the leader who is responsible for setting the tone of the organization. It is the power of a leader’s passion, expression, and emotion that drives a business. While a leader may excel at his own technical roles, but if he is not effective to communicate or collaborate with the rest of the workforce, such technical skills may not be able to prevent turbulence in the system. Apathy of emotional intelligence (EI) can definitely have a far reaching consequence, resulting in lower employee engagement and a higher turnover rate. So, how do you help your leaders attain a certain level of emotional intelligence? Here are a few steps that can be taken up by organizations to foster high EI in their leaders!

Step 1 – Begin with assessing the current level of self-awareness your leaders have about their EI 

How many of your leaders are aware that their walks through the office in the morning set the mood of their team for the rest of the day. If your leaders are self-aware about their actions and expressions, they understand their effect on others and can work to overcome their weaknesses as and when they arise. The ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions and needs are the most neglected. It can make or break a team, so it is important for organizations to use tools and introduce emotional experts from outside who can help assess the current level of EI levels of their leaders.

Step 2- Create programs on self-regulation for an improved EI

The deepening of emotional turbulence that gets beyond one's control is evident with rising interpersonal issues. Hence, leaders need to get into programs like mindfulness, inner-reengineering, meditation, and constant coaching. This will enhance their ability to control ‘disruptive’ impulses and suspending judgment to think before acting. And this is done best once the first level of assessment is conducted where your leaders are aware of the area that needs regulation or development. 

Step 3 – Motivate your leaders towards the change

What we believe, we invest our identity in and what we do not believe, we tend to avoid it. Hence, channelizing the inner belief system is a must to create the motivation for leaders to change. Develop interventions that will help to recognize the impact the leaders’ action may have on others.  Reward those who use high EI in bringing the required changes by exhibiting them the maximum number of times in the workplace. Motivation and positive reinforcement help to catalyze the much-needed change.

Step 4 – Help your leaders lead others through empathy 

Often being personally motivated may not be enough. Leaders need to unlock the potential of others by understanding what motivates others and how these motivations relate to the purpose of the organization. Effective leaders need to add flexibility and adaptability as a core competency for developing EI; and empathy is an essential ingredient that initiates this change. With empathy, leaders are successfully able to undertake the most difficult workplace conversations. Ask your leaders to spend time with different teams, let them be willing to listen and keep on walking the talk.

Step 5 – Notice which situations or people make your leaders uncomfortable

Recognizing and managing group dynamics is every leader’s key job. How well she or he presents their ideas in groups indicates about their social skills. 

How often do your leaders criticize instead of giving feedback? Identify the situations and the people. Help your leaders challenge behavior and not people. An emotionally intelligent leader receives both good and bad news with the same clarity of mind which makes their team confident enough to update them on anything. Train your leaders on social awareness and relationship management that will help them to focus on their ability to understand the emotions of people around and apply that understanding to relationships with others.

To summarize, organizations must keep the conversation about emotional literacy and wellbeing on priority in this dramatically expanding economy that is seeing a shift from the industrial to the digital world. Fear of job losses, role changes, interpersonal conflicts, physical safety concerns, ethical conundrum, economic uncertainty, and many other related challenges are giving rise to the disintegration of emotional wellness. In such transformative echelon, we are bound to live through a fundamental shift in the way we behave and the manner in which our workplace culture is evolving. Hence, a complete and comprehensive assessment of leadership skills highlights the need for every leader to acquire high ‘Emotional Intelligence’. Do follow the tips and help grow your leaders!

Topics: #LeadTheWay, Leadership

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