Emotional Intelligence – “Turbo-Charge Your Career”!
It is not uncommon to assume that thinking skills are the primary avenue to leadership development and success. However, it’s been shown that the degree of emotional intelligence you bring to your position can make or break your success. Although many leaders have advanced training in finance and marketing, they often lack training about the ways emotions can impact performance and productivity. For example, the use of high levels of emotional intelligence has been shown to enhance communication and relationships, reduce stress, and defuse conflicts. In addition, studies report benefits to the bottom line—including greater sales and productivity as well as less turnover and better customer service.
Daniel Goleman has written extensively about this issue, discussing how leaders can focus their attention to build emotional intelligence (Read more here). He groups this focused attention into three categories: focusing on yourself, focusing on others, and focusing on the world at large. This type of attention allows you to better understand your own and others’ emotions, to label them, and to use this information to guide your thinking and behavior.
As a leader, you may especially benefit from focusing on these areas of the emotional intelligence framework:
Self-awareness: What is your default setting? When triggered by negativity, what is your most common emotional response? When feeling stressed, are you more prone to shut down, laugh, pause, or deny the feelings or circumstances?
Self-control: What situations, feelings, or behaviors help or hinder your capacity to use logic when you need to analyze or solve problems or make decisions? What is your pattern when it comes to warding off distractions, focusing on the situation, and acting in an objective and productive manner—and to what extent are you able to do this?
Understanding others: To what degree do you focus on others, using good listening skills to identify their interests, needs, and opinions? How empathic are you to those you lead?
Working with the world at large: How alert are you to the changes in your industry and the ways these changes could impact your business or corporation? Would you consider yourself open or closed to considering change?
Leadership involves continuous learning and improvement, and incorporating ideas about attention and emotional intelligence are an important component of leadership skills. At any level, a focus on emotional intelligence can help expand the capacity for job satisfaction and greater productivity (Forbes: Emotional Intelligence can Turbocharge Your Career & Save Your Life).
When a leadership and professional development skills like emotional intelligence has received so much verification and attention, it’s time to make it a priority. The great news is that you don’t have to learn it all at once. A steady practice and commitment to leadership development in this area will pay off before you know it!
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