The leaders of an organization generally represent its best and brightest members. However, that’s not to say managers and executives need to reinvent the wheel or be the next Einstein; beyond intellect alone, emotional intelligence is a key component of modern business. In fact, studies show that this trait influences 58% of successes across all job types and plays the most significant role in job performance relative to 33 other professional skills.
Despite the outsize role that emotional intelligence plays in professional life, it’s only starting to gain attention now and many leaders are still unfamiliar with the concept. According to the Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence is “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions.” This emotional fluency allows leaders to understand the best ways of interacting with their employees and how to project a strong tone at all times.
Whether you’re an emotional prodigy or you’re a bit out of touch, there are steps that you can take to help improve your emotional intelligence and grow yourself into a better leader. Take a look!
Learn from the Masters
Spend time with leaders who have more finely-tuned emotional intelligence so that you can pick up their techniques. Seeing how they present themselves and how they interact with their teams can help you recognize the behaviors of emotionally-intelligent leaders so that you can emulate them in your own position.
Become an Active Listener
Managing others’ emotions is a key element of emotional intelligence, and one of the best ways to do so is to make them feel heard in conversation. It can be easy to simply wait for your turn to speak, so instead, try to develop active listening skills. These include making eye contact, asking questions, offering feedback, and so on. If you actively listen and make your peers feel heard in conversation, you’ll be one step closer to developing stronger emotional intelligence.
Reading is a great way to develop just about any skill, and reading is no different! In fact, beyond reading business-oriented texts on the subject, studies have shown that reading literature and fiction can help to stimulate empathy and emotional intelligence—so reach for your bookshelf!