How More Empathy and Emotional Intelligence Can Make You a Great Leader

In today’s workplace, combative demeanors and polarized opinions are more amplified than ever. The numbers on anxiety, stress, burnout, and overall unhappiness are increasing and the instability of our ever-changing world is taxing us all. From union and non-union organized strikes to the latest numbers factored into the ‘Great Resignation’, companies are increasingly facing challenges to retain and placate workers. Organizations with no leadership roadmap for dealing with these problems are under attack. But two important qualities present in the best leadership styles can go a long way in fortifying your human capital.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Those in leadership roles in the workplace are often finding themselves caught in a slew of precarious situations. Not only are they navigating the shifting demands that balance health and safety protocols, but they’re constantly challenged in dealing with the mental and emotional state of their employees as well. The factor of emotional intelligence, defined as the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions, has become more important than ever. Is emotional intelligence an important quality for a leader to possess? The answer is a resounding yes, backed by careful research of the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership potential. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report ranks emotional intelligence among the top-10 leadership strategies.

Strong leaders know how to muster emotions to effectively impact the performance of colleagues in much the same way a coach who gives a good locker room speech at halftime can completely turn a game around. Conversely, a leader with a notable sense of defeat or mental exhaustion will certainly slough their sentiment onto their colleagues. Some leaders naturally possess more emotional intelligence from within. Others need to nurture this skill, of which the evidence is clear that it can be developed through practice.

Empathy in the Office

For exceptional executive leaders, empathy is a situational requirement. Imagine a staff member coming to you with a deeply personal concern. If your first instinct is to comfort and connect with them because their situation sparked an emotional response, that’s empathy. Ideally, empathetic leaders experience a desire to find the root of their concern and analyze it. You want to understand, comprehend, and ultimately fix the problem. An emotional response occurs, accompanied by a cerebral, analytical desire for resolution. Psychologists refer to this reaction as emotional intelligence, and some experts even suggest that it’s every bit as valuable as having a high IQ.

With your plate as a leader is often already overflowing, achieving these qualities may seem like an attempt to hit a moving target. But make no mistake, the practice of perfecting empathy and emotional intelligence should never be mistaken for indulging childish workplace antics. With practice, guidance, and direction, executive leaders can maintain a healthy level of emotional intelligence without getting tossed around in the waves of common workplace dramatics. A qualified and experienced leadership coach that can equip you with the tools necessary to distinguish between the two with ease. As you learn to equip yourself with intangible qualities such as emotional intelligence and empathy, be reminded that your own mental and emotional health comes first. Make yourself a priority. Build a stable system of support and practice healthy methods of decompression.

Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching (ILEC) is the world’s #1 executive coaching platform dedicated to growing tomorrow’s leaders through organizational transformation. Our master certified ILEC coaches utilize a proven blueprint and philosophy designed to highlight the long-term benefits of investing in human capital. If you’re ready to take the all-important first step, let’s discuss your mission, vision, and purpose.

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