How emotional intelligence builds leaders who thrive


Did you know that October is Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month (thanks to my fabulous colleague Helga Svensen for alerting me to this!).

During this month we’re asked to take time to become more aware of our Emotional Intelligence and learn precisely what it is and how it works. We’re challenged to find different approaches to perceiving, understanding, and managing the emotions of ourselves and others and putting them to work for us.

I work with many organisations who promote their staff to management and leadership positions because they are great technical operators. But guess what? The role of leadership is primarily about mobilising your people and supporting them to be their best in order to deliver great results. Its much less about your own technical capability.

When you’ve been valued and rewarded for your technical skills and much of your identity is tied up in what you know about your area of expertise, it can be very challenging to then be in a role that requires you to let a lot of that go and embrace a new skill area of leadership and people management.

As master coach Marshall Goldsmith says,

“What got you here, won’t get you there”.

Many leaders just can’t quite make that transition. It holds them back and is not in service to their people. They aren’t able to fully embrace the role of leader, let go of the old and make way for the new. You need to be the role – what does the role of leader actually require of you, rather than what is in your comfort zone?

Emotional Intelligence (also known as EQ) is a key group of competencies that leaders need to add to their toolkit in order to be effective in their role. EQ will help leaders who have come from a technical background find success in their leadership role.

EQ is our capacity to:

  • understand our own emotions and those of others,
  • using these emotions to enhance our thinking,
  • being able to effectively express ourselves,
  • understand and relate to others,
  • regulate our emotions and manage ourselves, and
  • cope with daily demands and motivate ourselves.

How would you rate yourself out of ten in each of these capabilities? And equally as importantly, how would others (eg your boss, your staff, your peers, your loved ones) rate you? Would there be a gap between the two? Do you even know?

Successful emotionally intelligent leadership is even more important in the rapidly changing and uncertain world that we’re living in. Imagine how much more effective you could be as a leader armed with the ability to manage your own emotions whilst also being able to manage the emotional needs of others?

Investing in EQ development can benefit all staff in an organisation. Workers with high levels of emotional self-awareness and self-regulation are better able to look after their own well-being. Research has shown that employees with lower personal levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to report worse well-being at work, along with lower commitment levels, job satisfaction, performance and more job-related stress.

I’d love to work with you to support you to grow your emotional intelligence – let me know if you’re interested in working with me as your coach where we’ll use the latest coaching tool developed especially for leaders called the Emotional Capital Report.

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Cynthia Mahoney

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