As leaders, most of us have a natural desire and tendency to push for excellence in many areas of our lives.  We have skills where we naturally excel, and, if we are smart, we focus on our strengths and really work on developing them so that we can improve our performance.  Playing to our strengths, and developing our natural abilities, can really help us to stand out and can create greater opportunities for us to lead.

Excellence is Easy to Obtain When It’s Easy to Measure Performance

Pushing for excellence, however, is often easier in areas where performance can be easily measured. We often find it tempting to focus on the output, or financial performance. This is because it’s relatively easy to see if we are reaching tangible and easily measured targets, such as sales goals.

Why Your EQ is Important and Why You Must Pursue Excellence

As a leader, however, the bottom line on the balance sheet is not all that matters. Even though it’s more difficult to measure our performance in this area, leaders also need to strive for excellence in relationships and partnerships and to focus on improving the personal and social skills that make up their emotional intelligence (EQ).

Some leaders mistakenly believe that their EQ is unimportant, and they tend to focus instead on performance areas that are easily measured. These same leaders oftentimes think that based on their job title, they are naturally the person that is in charge, and so everyone should just fall in line and obey, without question.

This sort of authoritarian approach really doesn’t work very well in today’s world.  You won’t build the relationships that you need to create a team that collaborates, cooperates and gives you their best effort.  Your team’s performance might meet the minimal requirements, but it won’t be exceptional. Together you won’t produce anything that stands out because of its excellence.

Improve Your Leadership by Improving Skills that Make Up Your Emotional Intelligence

While our basic level of general intelligence, or our ability to learn, analyse and reason, is largely determined at birth, we can improve the personal and social skills that make up our emotional intelligence.  Our EQ is made up of many skills that work together to determine how easy it is for us to manage our emotions, relate to others, and form bonds and relationships with one another.

Our EQ skills include personal ones such as our attitude and level of motivation, as well as our ability to be self-aware and responsible. Your EQ also includes “softer” people skills such as your ability to care for others and empathise, as well as your ability to communicate and influence others.

Strategies That Help You Lead With Emotional Intelligence

Often leaders have a high EQ, but still have difficulty using their emotional intelligence to its best effect. You may be very good at communicating with others, and may be highly competent in areas that should make it easy to build relationships and form partnerships with others, but still have difficulty putting your skills into practice. If this is an area that you’ve struggled with, don’t panic!

Whether or not you are a self-described “people person,” or if you’ve taken a more control-centered approach in the past, the following tips can help you to improve your EQ and use it to increase your effectiveness as a leader.

Are You Aware and In Control?

Many times, as leaders, our attention becomes so outwardly focused on others that we forget to stop and focus on ourselves.

Are you aware of your attitude and your emotions? Do you have an understanding of your personal triggers and sensitive areas? Do you practice good self-care and are you in control? Are you taking action and leading, or do you allow yourself to get caught up, reacting to your feelings about people, situations or events?

So many leaders are good at building relationships, but then they sabotage themselves and their team, and destroy any chance of a collaborative partnership by failing to be self-aware and to maintain their self-control.  As leaders, we set the tone, pace and example, for our team.  Being able to understand others begins with understanding ourselves.

Your team will model the example you provide them. If you want a positive, open, inclusive and energised team, you should lead by example. Be accountable for your actions, and attitudes! Practice and model the attitudes and behaviour that you want to see in your team.

Genuinely Care for Others and Meet Their Needs

Most of us can spot authenticity a mile away. No one likes a fake.  If you want to create bonds of trust and camaraderie, so that your team will give you their best, you need to invest the time it takes to get to know the members of your team.

Your team members are not cattle or children; they are people, with unique personalities, traits and abilities. Look for ways to celebrate each team member for who they are as individuals. Look for ways to provide the members of your team with meaningful work that spotlights their special attributes.

As you get to know your people, find out what it is that makes them “tick,” and learn their needs, and then meet them.  Don’t solely focus on what your people can do for you, but rather look at the bigger picture of how you can meet one another’s needs and the great things that you can create by cooperating with one another.

Express Your Respect and Appreciation

As you and your team work together to create something exceptional and great, don’t forget to show your respect and appreciation. Offer sincere compliments and praise for their hard work and efforts and look for ways to reward your team and offer recognition to those whose excellence truly stands out.

Need More Help With Your EQ?

Do you need some help polishing your people skills, or, would you just like to learn more about how to put your emotional intelligence to its best use? Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you develop your leadership skills so that you can change yourself, your team and the world!

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