Quite a few professionals struggle at being good leaders and have trouble understanding why. After all they work hard, are successful in their fields and communicate with their direct reports in a comprehensive and clear manner. However, these associates never seem quite satisfied, engaged or most importantly: productive. Something definitely seems amiss.

In most cases, the problem starts with how new leaders make the draw – on the basis of their expertise and satisfactory job performance. These criteria do make perfect sense - but are not enough by themselves. The third requirement - emotional intelligence is often neglected but is as crucial for good management.

Lack of Emotional Intelligence

Have you ever witnessed someone have a meltdown at work? How suddenly facts, logic and reason turn irrelevant just because a decision maker loses their senses? Or more common, at a meeting, the moderator is holding forth on a monologue as opposed to engaging the other participants and discussing different viewpoints and ideas? Such behavior is the sign of deficiency of emotional intelligence and for leaders who lack it, the consequences for their teams can be truly harmful.

Need of Self-awareness

Emotional intelligence is crucial in being able to control one’s behavior and it requires a high degree of self-awareness. When you are able to take a holistic view of your actions or words from an external perspective and see the impact on other people, you are that much more likely to exercise control over your conduct towards others and thus avoid any negative ramifications of your behavior. This is especially important when you feel under pressure or dealing with conflict situations.

The Key - Empathy

Empathy skills can be very integral for good leadership. If you are able to easily empathize with others, you’ll feel more connected with them. This in turn leads to a higher level of trust and engagement, leading to improved performance. Empathy can not just make you a better leader, but can also boost your own performance.

Gaining Emotional Intelligence

For people who feel they just don’t have adequate levels of emotional intelligence, there’s good news. You just need to adopt three steps to become more emotionally intelligent.

  • Pay attention to what people are saying - and what they are not. Try to recognize cues - verbal as well as nonverbal (e.g. facial expressions, tone, body language).

  • Unravel such cues, which involves understanding the meaning of the spoken and silent messages along-with making educated guesses about the underlying emotions and motivations.

  • Responding or reacting in an appropriate manner, that involves demonstrating to others that their message has been well received and encouraging them to be forthcoming.

Good leadership is all about connecting with your associates and supporting their individual professional development that will lead to more engagement and higher productivity.