Improve Your Emotional Intelligence as a Leader

You can have all the intelligence in the world, but if you cannot work well with others, it will be hard to be successful at work. There have been many research studies proving this over and over again, ESPECIALLY in leaders. How have you worked to improve your Emotional Intelligence as a leader?

Emotional Intelligence involves four different factors in your life. Self-awareness, Self-management, Social-awareness, and Relationship management. Let’s dive into Self-awareness and see how we can develop and improve in this area.


Self-awareness is your focus. How focused and in-tune with what is going on with your life are you? Are you in auto-pilot and just going through the motions? Or, are you actively present and recognizing the choices you are making each day?

Ways you can increase your self-awareness:
The act of focusing on your awareness automatically increases your self-awareness.
Pay attention to the moment at hand; try not to think about everything else going on in your life.
Put down distractions (phone, laptop, paperwork).
Limit multi-tasking.

Consequences of being unaware:
Making many mistakes.
Missing opportunities.
Ineffective communication.
Being reactive instead of proactive.

Emotional Intelligence as a leader

Consider this story. I’m in a team meeting with my peers and my leader. The leader, Bob, starts the meeting close to on time and has a rough agenda outlined. He kicks off the team meeting talking why we are meeting and what he would like to accomplish. Great start. After his portion is over he asks Sally, the leader of the project to take over. While Sally explains the project, and begins brainstorming, asking questions, and so on, Bob checks his email. He is heads down in his laptop feverishly typing away. Occassionally he looks up at the group and nods or smiles. Then, he gets a phone call and steps out of the meeting for a minute. We all continue the meeting without him. After he is back he is no longer checking email but yawning and looking around the room. Finally, Sally wraps it up and asks Bob for any further input. Bob has none and thanks the team for a great meeting.

Have you been in a meeting with a leader like that? Isn’t it frustrating?

Bob’s lack of Self-awareness is apparent. Although he was physically at the meeting, he wasn’t actively engaged. Being actively engaged, not distracted, not thinking about other things that need to get done, and so on are imperative to be successful as a leader. He missed out on the opportunity to communicate well with the group and be proactive moving forward. It also chipped away at his trustworthiness to the team.

The next time you are in a meeting as the leader, or participant, check your Self-awareness. No matter how busy you are, do you absolutely have to multitask? Or could it wait? Odds are, it could wait and it’s just a bad habit you got in to.

Close your laptop.

Put your phone down.

Make eye contact.







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