Emotional intelligence (EI) has become one of the fastest-growing topics of interest as a result of changing workplaces, the COVID-19 pandemic, and much more.
However, despite being familiar with the concept of EI, most people assume that having high EI only requires them to understand themselves.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Having high EI also means developing empathy, and taking time to reflect on how others see the world and the ways their views affect how they think, feel, and react.
As a leader, you can use your EI to understand how your employees and team members think and feel, and make adjustments in the workplace to create environments in which they can succeed and thrive.
Use these tips to use EI to make smarter business decisions:
Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses
The key to making the best decisions is to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. This is easier said than done, since humans have a tendency to rationalize our own decisions.
To assess your decisions from another perspective, imagine that you’re one of your peers, and objectively observe your behaviour. Consider your words and actions from their perspective:
- What did your body language say?
- What tone of voice did you use?
- Did something trigger a specific reaction from you?
Imagining yourself through someone else’s eyes can be a useful self-assessment tool as you learn to become more aware of your emotions and their effects on you and the people around you.
Ready to build your skills? Sign up for our upcoming EQi 2.0 / EQ360 fall certification!
Find out how your behaviour affects your team
Now it’s time to solicit feedback directly from the people who work with and for you.
Ask for feedback and actively listen to what your team has to say. Make a point not to get defensive, and work to accept the comments — good and bad — as ways of helping you understand your leadership style and qualities.
For example, you might make one team member feel talked-over in meetings, or that you accidentally undermined someone’s idea.
These things might be hard to hear, but they give you perspective on how your behaviour affects the people who work with you.
Practicing optimism means adopting a perspective that’s hopeful even when the present seems dire. Optimism can help you to see multiple outcomes to any given situation without focusing on just the negatives.
Being optimistic isn’t just hoping for the best. It’s a skill and form of emotional work that contributes to your EI.
Research has found that we make suboptimal decisions when we have low optimism, which means your optimism directly contributes to your decision-making abilities as a leader.
Start developing your EQ today
Assessing yourself and soliciting feedback from your team builds EI, which increases your ability to make smart business decisions.
Building these skills, along with your resiliency and your optimism, can significantly improve your outlook on life and help you to become more confident and capable in your decision-making.
To start developing your EI, sign up for our next EQ-i2.0 / EQ360 Certification coming up on August 23 – 24! You can also sign up to get these emails sent right to you each month by signing up for our newsletter.