Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
First of all, do you ever consider Emotional Intelligence when looking at leadership?
When you think of a Leader, what do you think of?
Depending on your values, you might think of someone who can control their emotions and think clearly under pressure. Or it might be someone that is easy to talk to and can make informed decisions.
In this article, we’ll investigate what it takes to be an elite Emotional Intelligent athlete. We’ll look at why emotional intelligence is so important for leaders – and how you, as a leader, can improve yours.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence has been describe by professions as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express emotions. To handle interpersonal relationships in good judgement and empathy.
Being an effective leader, you need to hold key skills like Emotional Intelligence. Yes we can still participate in sport without it, though to be more successful, leaders need to grasp their emotions. What would an athlete want to listen to more; a shouting stressful leader or a cool calm under pressure leader.
Due to the work done by a number of Psychologists, they have helped breakdown Emotional Intelligence into five key elements;
- Social skills,
So the more effective you are at managing these five elements, the better you will become as a leader. So, lets look more in-depth on what these elements really mean, and how you can grow as a leader.
Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
If you are in the “Now” and have conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings. Knowing that your own emotions can have a direct effect on others around you. Then you are Self-Aware!
As a leader, you need to have a clear focus of your strengths and areas for improvements, and showing humility.
So, how can we improve self-awareness?
Reflection; Being able to spend at least 10 minutes a day reflecting will help heighten your self-awareness skills. Consider using a reflection log to keep a record of your actions.
Control Your Controllable’s; Knowing what you are in control of is a vital skill for any leader. Arguing over something you are not in control of is a very stressful and time consuming exercise. Consider how much you can really control.
Check; Recognition of your emotions is a key aspect of excellent Emotional Intelligence. Remembering that you choose to how you react and act, though not an easy task.
Those that are able to regulate themselves effectively can control how they are around others. They make controlled emotionless decisions, or compromise their values.
So, how can you improve your self-regulation?
Know Your Non-negotiables; Also known as your values, do you know what your values system looks like? Spend some time working on your values system and seeing which things, for you, are non-negotiable. We use an NLP technique to assess the values system with our athletes.
Accountability; Understanding what you are responsible for is important to the self-regulating leader. Take responsibility of your own mistakes. Don’t blame others! You will gain respect and stronger rapport with others around you quickly.
Relaxation; Taking time out of your day to listen to mediation and relaxation scripts is an excellent way to relax. There are several relaxation videos/mp3’s you can get off line that can develop your ‘happy place’.
If you want it to happen, you’ll make it happen!
Leaders set S.M.A.R.T targets and work hard to achieve them. Have high standards and want others to achieve theirs too.
So, how can you improve your motivation?
S.M.A.R.T Targets; A somewhat, forgot about technique! Designing SMART targets has proven to be one of the strongest forms of motivation tools used in sport (and life). Sit down and spend time developing your own personal targets for your sport.
- Specific – Make the target specific to the sport, position and player,
- Measurable – Can the target be measured,
- Achievable – Is the target in the capability of the player,
- Realistic/Related – Make the target a realistic and related target,
- Towards – Is the target towards the future for both the player and club,
Above all, the use of target setting can help athletes maintain focus through the difficult times.
Know Your Role; What are you there for? Understand what your role consist of, why you are there and what you bring to the team. Knowing what you are there for helps encourage you to work hard and stay motivated. Using the online program will help you assess and work on your leadership methods.
Good in the Bad, Bad in the Good; Being an optimistic leader helps not just yourself achieving your own targets, though everyone around you achieving theirs. Knowing what positives you can take from a negative situation, and vice versa, is a excellent technique to master.
When leading a team into a new adventure or down a new pathway, empathy is a critical attribute to hold. Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s situation. Leaders help develop others on their team, not just themselves, they challenge and help structure the environment they are in.
Showing an empathetic side of you is probably one of the most powerful things a true leader can do.
So, how can you improve your empathy?
Other Peoples Worlds; Knowing that other people see the world in different ways is an important part of developing empathy. After all, you both need to co-exist! So, as a leader you need to know understand that on two views, you both can be right! We use an NLP technique call Perceptual Positions to help develop this.
Body Language; Being able to read others body language will help you understand them easer and show more empathy to their situation. Knowing if someone is happy, sad, distracted, in the zone etc will help you and them loads. Pay attention to body language – Perhaps when you listen to someone, you cross your arms, or lean back in your chair. How do you look? What messages are you giving off? The online program helps athletes develop these skills (communication section).
Read Between the Lines; Understanding that what someone is saying, isn’t what someone is saying is a vital part of leadership. You can figure out if someone feels appreciated by you or others just by reading between the lines. Consequently, this is a life lesson also!
Finally, leaders that have had success within teams tend to have excellent social skills in and around their sporting life. They can take on both good and bad bits of information, providing supportive messages to the team on their new mission. Leaders who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts. They’re never satisfied with leaving a project half done, though they don’t sit back and make everyone else work, they set an example.
So, how can you build social skills?
Resolve Conflict Quickly; Leaders MUST know how to get things back on track and resolves for the goodness of the team, even if its them at stake. Developing conflict management skills is an important part of attaining Emotional Intelligence.
Communication Skills; Developing your Communication skills is a critical part of becoming a elite leader and holding excellent Emotional Intelligence, though its not easy! We recommend completing the Communication Section of the online program, the Initial Quiz will help you devise how well you currently are with it all.
Praise; Being able to provide others with praise at the right time is an art, though well worth the effort. As a leader, you develop loyalty from your team if this is master, nevertheless you have to put the work in.
So, the key points
Above all, to be an effective leader, you must understand yourself, emotions, body language before attempting to understand others. Regardless of your world/values, the better a leader understands and works with others, the more success everyone can gain.
Developing Emotional Intelligence is an art and takes time, hence the 5 elements: Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social skills. Therefore, take your time to work on these, and use the recommendations above!
Working on these will help you excel in both sport and life, so now you know, its over to you!