When we think of a good leader, what do we imagine? Someone who is seen as strong? Calm? Trustworthy? Someone who listens as well as talks? Someone who thinks before they act? We certainly think of someone who is intelligent. But knowledge and critical thinking aren’t the only types of intelligence. It might surprise you to learn that all of these qualities we see as good leadership qualities are traits of a person with high emotional intelligence. We spoke to Justin Cobb about emotional intelligence and how it relates to being a leader.
According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” People are emotional by nature, and therefore managing people is managing emotions. Those who have no control over their own, or empathy for others, are likely to do a bad job at leading.
According to Daniel Goleman, there are five elements to emotional intelligence:
Self-awareness is an understanding of your own emotions. Being able to know not just what you feel, but why you feel it. Understanding your own weaknesses and strengths, and acting accordingly is a key feature of high self-awareness.
Self-regulation is the ability to control and manage your emotions. Emotions can be a guiding factor, but they should never control us. People with high emotional intelligence never lash out at others or make decisions based on emotional reactions. They remain calm and take their time.
Emotionally intelligent people tend to be self-motivated, rather than motivated by external forces. In your head, have a clear picture of your goals, and then use them to drive yourself forward. Don’t wait for others to tell you why you should be moving ahead.
Empathy is the part of emotional intelligence that allows you to relate to others and understand them. Successful leaders are able to develop and support their team as people. Not just pushing them to perform, but understanding what makes them tick, and bringing the best out of them.
People with high emotional intelligence are social people. They check in with their team daily, and get excited with them and share their good and bad days. Instead of sitting in an office with the door closed, they connect with everyone around them.
Justin Cobb is an international entrepreneur with businesses across the globe. He regularly speaks at high-profile events on success and leadership topics.