How Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Become a Better Leader

As part of Frank Lee’s ongoing leadership seminars here at OpenSesame, he hosted a session on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to identify, assess, and influence one’s own feelings and those of others.” Emotional intelligence, or EQ, applies to everyone – it can help you strengthen relationships, understand others, and succeed at work, especially in leadership positions.

What is emotional intelligence?

First, EQ involves understanding your own and others’ emotions. By doing this, you can better communicate your feelings and understand others’ true meanings. Use your understanding of emotions to guide your behavior and thinking. After successfully identifying emotions, you should harness and use those emotions to better yourself and others. Not only can you be more honest with yourself, but you can prevent too much self-negativity.

How can emotional intelligence make you a better leader?

As you advance in management and leadership at work, you interact and manage more and more people. As a leader, EQ can help you solve a multitude of problems.

  • If you struggle with tough decision-making for fear of being disliked by others, EQ can help you properly communicate your goal and understand others

  • You will become more sensitive to your impact on you co-workers — you may even realize your previous actions had completely different consequences than you intended

  • During conflicts, you can better communicate your own feelings and accept employee’s, ending the dispute rather than letting it build up over time

  • EQ can help you rely more on others as you learn more about them

How can you improve your emotional intelligence?

  • Perform a daily ritual or practice: Performing a ritual at the same time every day such as taking a walk, meditating or reading, can help replenish and calm you to reduce stress and negative emotions

  • Invest in yourself: Take care of yourself before helping others. If you’re too stressed or upset, your negative emotions will only have an adverse impact on others.

  • Build a strong support network: Having a trusted network of friends and family will provide you with emotional support in times of need, and in turn you will learn to understand others better when they struggle

  • Choose your words carefully: Whether dealing with conflicting opinions or a difficult argument, avoid passing judgements or accusations. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand where they are coming from