Be a Leader – Increase Your EI

Do you want to be a Leader, a good one? Emotional Intelligence (EI) is essential for success and should be in your development plan.  There are a few who see the word emotion and begin to roll their eyes.  Who wants to add emotions to the professional realm?  Guess what? A leader should. This isn’t gender based. After all, who is more likely to succeed, someone who responds to stress with shouting and impulsive decisions, or one who can calmly and firmly assess the situation and manage the circumstances?
Diagram of emotional intelligence

EI is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you.  It’s not manipulation, it’s understanding and caring. Those with a high skill set of EI know what they’re feeling. They understand what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people, and they apply that understanding to those around them.

How do you develop your EI? Firstly, be emotionally aware. Make an effort to pay attention to your emotions and behaviors, your actions and reactions. Consider how they affect you and those around you. This isn’t easy especially in the middle of a meeting when bad news is delivered. Take a pause and evaluate your reactions in front of others. Govern your responses.

Hold yourself accountable. Being in control of your emotions and moods is a basic responsibility, especially as a leader. When you can regulate your responses, you avoid making knee jerk decisions in the heat of the moment. This becomes easier the more you allow for pauses and in turn you control your state of mind.

Lastly, be confident in yourself and your team. In tough situations if your doubting you and/or your team it shows. Master the inner critic, be decisive while empowering your team in that same manner. Those with strong EI are typically respectful of others. Rather than focusing on your own success, help others develop and shine by respecting their strengths and talents. Remember that to give respect is to get respect.

People with high EI are usually successful in most things they do. Why? Because they have a deep understanding of self and they make others feel good about themselves. Building strong EI will not only impact your leadership skill set, it will add value to your life. Don’t strip emotion away for the sake of an ideal of what is ‘professional’, it’s a balance, after all we’re all human and to be human is to be emotional.

What are you going to do to up your EI over the next week?
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Reverse Leadership – Good or Bad Concept?

Remember the days when your parents, spouse or friend would expertly have you accomplish something that you felt was your very own? Until it dawned on you like Homer Simpson ‘Doh’ that you were the victim of reverse psychology.  Reverse psychology refers to getting another person to do or say something by telling them the opposite of what is desired. It’s a form of manipulation and its success rate isn’t something easily tolerable by the ‘party’ that is manipulated.

Are we always aware of this type of manipulation?  These are the questions that came to mind when I read the article by Scott K. Edinger entitled “Find Reverse Leadership in Your Midst”.  The article was an interesting one to ponder in that the author feels there is an upcoming trend, reverse leadership.  What I had difficulty with was my mind set of the term ‘reverse’.  As I dove further into the article it’s about allowing leadership traits from unofficial leaders to contribute to a company’s missions and or needs.

So how does one cultivate the talents of people where there are characteristics of leadership?  This was one key question of the author’s article.  The article when on to say not all leader skill sets in people would progress them to leadership roles within their careers but that companies should encourage reverse leadership.  Maybe it’s just semantics but I don’t agree that this is specifically ‘reverse leadership’, I believe it is coaching, mentoring and empowering people in their work and career paths.  Why are we changing the terms and the scope of development when it already exists?

What do you think of this idea in summary, Reverse Leadership?  Is it something to embrace or toss to the side?

Share, Comment – let the discussions begin.

Are Leaders Born or Made?

This is always a hot topic in leadership. Is a good leader born or made?

There are certain attributes that some naturally have, such as the gift of negotiation and debate. Those with the quick wit in sticky situations, i.e., Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop. The point is, everything can be learned with the right effort and practice. There is no limit to what one can achieve with the right tools, training and support. However, to know whether one was born a leader, is it even relevant today?

Psychologist have said this is a dangerous question, born or made. The idea is that the focus on a leaders’ natural ability lessens the focus on leadership development and training. In the down economy the development programs are often in the first budget cuts. Current research suggests that experience on the job plays an important catalyst for unlocking leader behavior. There is no substitute for learning through doing, making mistakes and improving with time. Maybe the question is dangerous because the definition of leadership is variable depending on who you ask.

Leaders – are individuals who establish direction for a working group of individuals, who gain commitment from these group members to this direction, and who then motivate these members to achieve the direction’s outcomes.

This definition is broad enough to allow for a wide variety of leader behavior. For example, setting direction can range from establishing strategic direction for the organization to setting daily target goals for a team or individuals. Secondly, a leader need not exercise all three elements to be a leader in the eyes of others. Leaders can be found all over organizations fulfilling one or all of these roles.

I advise that organizations don’t be seduced by someones past success. You see it often that organizations bring in new leadership based on that leaders past success in other companies to bypass in-house development. Certainly there is good reason to bring new leadership from the outside for fresh ideas and to energize an organization, just don’t short change internal leadership development in the process. Whether a person outwardly shows leadership attributes or not, an organization is smart to focus on the leadership development first then selection of the ‘natural’ leader second.

I know where Vince Lombardi sits. Where do you sit on this topic? Comment or Tweet me, looking forward to hearing from you!!

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” –Vince Lombardi